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  micro lens infonewshistory of lenticular

Micro Lens Technology, was incorporated in North Carolina on January 14, 1997 by Ken Conley.  The company’s goal and charter was to design and engrave optical patterns into cylinders that could be used to produce lenticular plastic sheets.  These sheets would be reverse printed on an ordinary printing press without any change to the printing press.

The Micro Lens story actually had its beginnings in the mid seventies when Conley, a research engineer at the Rexham Corporation, was assigned the project of developing and mass producing photo emulsion coated lenticular sheets for the amateur 3D photographs of that time.  It was at this time that Conley perfected the art of engraving exacting patterns into large cylinders.  This made use of an understanding of optics, metallurgy, tooling and equipment.

The first Lenticular plastic for the amateur market was produced by casting and emulsion coated by 3M in Italy.  Later lenticular sheets were emulsion coated by Kodak.  By then, the Lenticular plastic was produced by extrusion, a more economical and volume orientated process.

Through the early and mid 1990’s, Conley perfected Lenticular designs that could be reverse printed on an ordinary printing press without any changes to the printing press.  The first large order was in January/February of 1997 for a printing company in Melbourne, Australia.

About this time, Conley was engraving patterns into cylinders for Kodak’s 3D photographic imaging market

With the official formation of the company, cylinders were engraved for an ever increasing number of companies.  Soon these engraved cylinders were shipped to companies throughout the world. 

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Research and Development efforts brought about better optics in lens designs and improved engraving techniques.  In early 1998, lens patterns and sheet were developed which a printed image from an ink jet printer could be laminated to the Lenticular sheet to give 3D and motion images.  One image of a kind could be produced if desired versus the thousands of a kind a printing press required.  By 1999, wide format ink jet printers had risen to 300 dpi resolution. 

Not being able to sell these engraved cylinders for producing Lenticular sheet for wide format images due to the fact that customers at that time would only purchase one to a few Lenticular sheets at a time and not the skids of product which fed a printing press, Micro Lens Technology entered a new secondary business.  This was the stocking of wide format Lenticular sheets.  These sheets started with one basic pattern and soon became many more all offered in a number of standard sizes and with or without adhesive.  These Lenticular sheets were specifically designed for the wide format market.  They were all of coarser patterns and too thick to go through a printing press.

Micro Lens Technology has never sold software, but through an alliance with Kutuzov Corporation a basic program was given away with the first purchase of Lenticular sheet.  Advice and consultation on interlacing images for printing has also been offered with the sale of sheet at no charge.

Through the years, major expenditures were made in purchasing engraving equipment, facilities and land.  Qualified people were added for each of the areas served.

The company has been noted for its development activities which have brought the companies products to a notably high quality level.  Research projects underway offer a glimpse into the future of images of all types that display depth and other special effects.  Micro Lens Technology has also offered R & D for outside companies.

Micro Lens Technology in the first years did not apply for patents on its processes.  Patents covering some of the developments at Micro Lens Technology are starting to be published.  The intent of these patents is not to exclude anyone from any aspect of the industry.  For the most part, patents issued to Micro Lens Technology are available royalty free to any Micro Lens customer.

The growth rate of Micro Lens Technology has been phenomenal for any new company.  Our sales have maintained a high percentage growth over the previous years and even doubled for the first 3 or 4 years.  In the first 9 years of existence, we moved 4 times, each to larger facilities.  Micro Lens Technology does not have a sales force.

The philosophy at Micro Lens Technology is on time service of top quality products at fair prices which allow Micro Lens customers to earn a just return on converting the Micro Lens products to service their markets.

Prepared for the internet, December 2006.
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