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etching, surface finishing

Source | RAYN Technology

RAYN Technology (Grand Rapids, Mich.) is a surface decoration process that uses a proprietary laser, software and design technique to create textured designs on painted metal and plastic parts. 

The company is an offshoot of Spectrum Industries, a privately held, third-generation company that focuses on the application of functional and decorative finishes to metal and plastic components for numerous OEM markets. 

RAYN Technology was developed as a way to partner with manufacturers looking to apply decorative designs to three-dimensional painted or printed surfaces. The company customizes the equipment to the manufacturer's process and provides support through a licensing and leasing model. 

surface finishing

Source | RAYN Technology

“We started to diversify, and our customer base was plastic, interior trim people or furniture people — people that had products that really needed to look good,” says Rob Wilder, vice president of global business development for RAYN Technology. “We wanted to keep our current customers, yet come up with a new technology that could put a graphic pattern on plastic or plastic painted parts — recently we’ve used it for stainless steel.”

The technology is unique in that it utilizes a three-dimensional laser. Wilder explains that lasers typically works in two dimensions.

“You’ve got maybe a 2mm z-plane that you can play with,” he says. “If it gets out of focus, the energy level is exponentially lost. [With] a three-dimensional part, the focused energy of a laser goes away and you can’t etch through the paint or into the paint consistently.”

RAYN Technology has developed a combination of software, equipment and fixturing, and have designed a turnkey system that it provides to shops through a licensing agreement.  

“There’s a monthly payment, it’s almost like a car lease,” says Wilder. “There’s a minimum, plus how many hours you use it. In addition, we can remotely access the system and provide technical support.”

RAYN has been part of the Spectrum offerings since 2017 and has worked with Cadillac, Lincoln, Ford and Buick and is beginning work with Nissan, Toyota and Honda. However, it’s taken a few years to go from an in-house process to a technology that can be delivered and supported on location. 

“At first we only did it in West Michigan,” says Wilder. “That was the only place. And as we started to listen to the voice of the customer, they were asking, ‘We make a lot of stuff in China … now that you can demonstrate it in West Michigan, can you put a machine in China?’”

RAYN listened and developed its licensing and leasing model and offers support. Today the company is working with shops as close as Indiana.

“That’s only about a six hour drive away,” says Wilder.  “But even that shipping cost makes it more economical to place a machine in their facility.”