Building a Better Light

Just this week Altair’s LED lighting subsidiary, TOGGLED, released an impressive list of patents that were issued in 2013. Twenty-one patents were awarded to the company during the year – that’s one every 18 days. For people unfamiliar with the patent process, it might be surprising to learn that many patents take years to issue from the time the idea is submitted as an initial application. The impressive issue rate during 2013 was really a result of many years of innovation and development in the LED lighting space.

The real enablers for the patent portfolio, though, were put in place not just in 2007 when the lighting subsidiary was spun off, or in the late 1990s when Altair was investing in city transit bus research that led to our initial LED lighting patent awards, but in 1985 when Altair was established with some firm cultural beliefs in mind. There is a lot written about corporate cultures, but it is special to find a culture of innovation and teamwork that has thrived for nearly three decades.

Why would a company primarily known for its computer-aided engineering (CAE) software invest in producing a promising new lighting technology? The answer lies in Altair’s fundamental commitment to innovation, to expanding the frontiers of knowledge, and to creating new opportunities for employees and customers to succeed. Succeeding with an innovation model requires the long-term patience to continue solving problems and simply striving for “better” at every turn.

At TOGGLED, we have the opportunity to revolutionize the lighting industry and simultaneously bring manufacturing production back to Michigan. A number of articles have been written about our success to date, for example in Automation Alley’s X-OLOGY publication last Spring. We are not only committed to customer success, but also to enabling other manufacturers to license our technology. I look forward in subsequent blog posts to outlining exciting new developments in the technology as well as TOGGLED customer success stories.

Dave Simon
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Dave Simon

About Dave Simon

A career that has allowed me to work with analytical methods, advanced design, tooling, product development, research and manufacturing is best described by the term engineering, a word that has lost none of its thrill for me. I am a lifelong Michigander and privileged (with thanks to my bride of 25 years) to spend a lot of my free time sailing and windsurfing on the Great Lakes. Our three children are young adults and as we watch them make life decisions it is interesting to see how often economic and environmental sustainability are aligned. Really good design tends to quietly accomplish things for consumers without making things miserable for other people. Perhaps as engineers we will have truly succeeded at “green” when it is expected and not noticed by the world at large, in much the same way that the global marketplace simply expects things to be safe, affordable and perform well.