Often, it’s the little things that make a big impact. Just as the character of an old home increases the intrinsic value in the hearts and minds of a buyer, it’s the details within that stand out.
For almost forty years and millions of viewers, This Old House, the home renovation television show, has inspired countless remodeling projects. The lighting utilized throughout the home is a significant factor: aesthetics count. Increasingly, aluminum extrusions are playing a key role.
Minalex Corporation, family-owned and founded more than 50 years ago, has been at the forefront of manufacturing high-tolerance, small-profile custom aluminum extrusions—and allowed LED lighting to come to life underneath a beautifully restored fireplace mantel that was featured in an episode of This Old House. The mantel itself was the focal point—and warranted a dramatic lighting installation to enhance it and bring visual charm to a room that became the center of family gatherings and memories.
Aluminum was an ideal material solution for the installation, which required the lighting track to be hidden within the mantel’s structure and cast light to create an aesthetic effect. An important characteristic of aluminum is its ability to hold extremely tight tolerances, which other materials, like plastics, are unable to offer. The five-foot extruded metal track that houses the LED lighting strip was created by Minalex, based upon a design that they were supplied by one of their lighting clients. The final extrusion was slightly modified by Minalex to retain its shape and tolerances while performing the task of providing dramatic illumination.
Michael Casey, Head of Extrusion Applications and Design at Minalex explained, “We’re able to manufacture LED lighting tracks with walls as thin as .020-inches. Most extruders are not equipped to accommodate an extrusion thickness compatible with walls that are so small.” As a custom miniature aluminum extruder, Minalex routinely handles projects that are not only small in size but also small in quantity. “We’re excited by a challenge,” Casey added. “The attitude here is ‘bring it on!’
The prime choice for materials used in extrusions for LED lighting tracks is Aluminum: it’s rugged, durable and will hold up for the duration of light source usage. Aluminum is a permanent and sustainable solution, especially when a light source needs to be concealed using as few materials and space as possible to create the desired illumination.
LEDs for displays and under-counter decorative lighting are now diminutive in size, a dramatic improvement when compared to a big channel with bulbs from years past. With technological advancements, multiple channels with LED strips are now intensely bright and have extended lifecycles. For more than 10 years, Minalex has been an innovative leader in the LED lighting industry, where they seamlessly manage every phase of the design, extrusion, fabrication, and finish of custom aluminum extrusions for LEDs as a lighting source.
While familiar to most for its use in residential LED lighting applications, such as the This Old House remodeling project, Aluminum extrusions are being called upon to help distribute light efficiently under some of the most precise and demanding environments and conditions for Navy submarines, military, commercial and private aircraft and spacecraft, and can even be found illuminating the bunks of Armed Forces personnel. In supermarkets, retail environments and other consumer settings, they can be found extensively used throughout display cabinets, under counters and in refrigeration cases to enhance and elevate the shopping experience.
“We were extremely pleased and proud to be part of history and have our customers product featured in This Old House” Casey concluded. “Decades of experience with custom aluminum manufacturing capabilities demonstrated that we have an eye for aesthetics, as well as for precision and functionality.”