Tech Firm Expands in Wood County

As published in the 11/1/10 issue of
Manufacturing & Construction News
(a Toledo Business Journal publication)

by Abby Hoicowitz

Spectra Group Limited, Inc. has been experiencing significant growth in the 5.5 years it has been located at its Lemoyne Road facility in Millbury. The company expects to increase its staff in the next few years and also rent a neighboring space to expand its existing 6,500 square feet. For now, the additional space will be used for storage; Spectra is currently working on a few projects (in the state of evaluation) that could potentially utilize the expansion for manufacturing.

The growth is in part due to Spectra’s project – begun in 2008 – to commercialize advanced photopolymers, which are polymers that cure or become solid when exposed to light. The Wood County company is working to commercialize these polymers for end-use applications in stereolithography and laser and digital light processing and as a replacement for wax in investment castings.
Tom Blaha, Wood County Economic Development Commission (WCEDC) executive director, stated, “We are happy to have any business anywhere in Wood County, but we’re especially happy to have a business like this in Lake Township given what Lake Township has gone through recently. We’re also very pleased to see the technology that’s come out of Bowling Green State University (BGSU) commercialized into a business that’s employing people in Wood County.”
Alex Mejiritski, president of Spectra, discussed his company’s ability to grow despite tough economic conditions. He noted, “We have good enough proprietary knowledge of what needs to go into our formulas. That’s number one. We try to diversify so we don’t put all our eggs into one basket… Once you understand what a set of liquids will do when it’s polymerized to be a solid, you can address different markets… We think we have a better chance.”
Spectra serves clients (finishers and manufacturers) internationally and throughout the US. Some of its products include 3-D modeling, optical lenses, and aerosol automotive sprays. For example, the firm has done work for the US government, the US Air Force, and the US Navy. For the Navy, Spectra created an anti-corrosive aerosol spray that cures quickly to repair the inside of a ballast tank.
Additionally, the company makes some consumer business oriented products, such as the SunStick, an item that can be used by gardeners to quantify how much sunlight a flower or segment of flowers receives. Spectra supplies stickers that are placed on top of plastic flowers and placed in gardens for testing. The sticker changes color to reflect the amount of sunlight received. Spectra utilizes the SunStick technology in separate products for plants sitting on window sills inside homes as well as for personal skin use (to determine sun exposure).

“Spectra is a small, high-tech business, and we specialize in all areas photochemistry related,” explained Mejiritski. “One of these [areas] is the photopolymerization, which is the art of converting specialized liquid precursors from a liquid to a solid on demand. This is a particular way of making plastics. We formulate mixtures from very specialized liquid precursors and then shine the light on them and they become solid. Depending on what liquid you select, you can either [determine] how fast that happens or how hard the object is, whether it’s colored or not, whether it’s slippery, and whether it’s shaped in a certain way. We are pretty skilled in the art of putting those mixtures together that make objects.”
One company has come to Spectra to pursue investment casting for jewelry casting; Spectra has the product to enable the process. According to the firm, it helped the jeweler to develop a practical light-curing pattern material that would burn out cleanly and have good physical characteristics. Those characteristics include durability, memory, ability to reproduce intricate details, and a smooth surface finish.
Doug Neckers, chairman of the board at Spectra, explained that Spectra would also be manufacturing some of the materials used by DenDroCo, LLC, a company that has received funding from Rocket Ventures to develop a pheromone derivative for pine beetles.

Founded in 1990, Spectra Group Limited, Inc. provides solutions in the photosciences. Its technology staff provides coverage of various fields, including photochemistry, polymer chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, photoinitiator synthesis, resin formulation for radiation cure and applied development, spectroscopy, troubleshooting, failure mechanism determination, litigation assistance, and performance testing.

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