By Dan Davis, Editor-in-Chief
When change hits an industry that hasn’t undergone dramatic change for almost 100 years, the technology leap can be
fast and tumultuous.
TAMCO Group’s manufacturing arm in Port St.
Lucie, Fla., knows that all too well. It’s been trying
to stay on top of the LED lighting revolution for the
past several years.
Most adults only know light bulbs by the traditional incandescent filament design that they grew up
with. However, with the advent of the first LED with
white light from luminescence conversion in the
late 1990s, the lighting market was going to change
dramatically. In the 2000s, as the LED technology
matured, product design had to take into account a
whole new lighting technology, and companies had
to keep pace with the continuous improvement in
lighting performance. As a result, this put a whole
new stress on manufacturers that were now dealing
with product designs that have life spans of months
instead of years.
To keep up with production needs, TAMCO realized it needed to leave behind its hard-tooling ways.
It needed the latest cutting-edge technology for itself, and it found it in a fiber laser (see Figure 1).
Learning About Lighting
TAMCO comprises six brands: Tamlight Lighting,
which manufactures residential, commercial, and
industrial lighting products; Centaur Electrical In-
stallation, which supplies electrical installation
products, such as steel boxes; Motor Control Gear,
which makes components for motor control as-
semblies; RPP Devices, which makes receptacles,
switches, and wall plates; Fusion Lamps, a maker
of lamps shifting to LED technology; and First For
Performance, which supplies items necessary for
electrical equipment installation, such as wire nuts,
PVC tape, and caulk. Tamlight, Centaur, and Motion
Control Gear account for most of TAMCO’s manufac-
turing activity. The fabricating operation processes
primarily 24- and 26-gauge galvanized steel for most
parts (see Figure 2). It occasionally works with
thicker gauges and with some aluminum, but it pri-
marily works with a limited range of materials.
It’s not like a job shop, even if TAMCO has to fabricate a variety of products. Tom Wouters, TAMCO’s
engineering manager, likes the fact that the various
products are somewhat related.
“I came from a job shop, and it’s nothing like
it,” he said. “In my job shop, we had more variety.
Here, everything is related somehow to the electri-
cal store. In the job shop, I was involved in medical,
gun ranges, plumbing, and air conditioning. That
was just all over the place. I felt scatterbrained in
that industry because you could never really focus
on one thing.”
That one thing is lighting. However, the market
was no longer stable. For example, the fluorescent
tube was unchanging. Its shape stayed the same for
decades. It made sense for a manufacturer to hard-
tool to fabricate those products. That’s why punch-
ing machines are a common sight in lighting facto-
ries across the U.S.
LED lighting, however, has been marked by rapid
technological changes over the past 20 years. According to Wouters, it’s only been in the past 10
TAMCO Group’s new fiber laser cutting machine delivers a much more focused beam than CO2 laser technology, which means that even at 2 k W, the beam has a
greater power density at the focal point than a 4-k W
beam on a CO2 laser. Photos courtesy of TAMCO Group.
in a new light
The evolution of LED lighting led
TAMCO to ditch its hard-tooling ways