The Future is Bright in US Manufacturing
Principal LED exists to simplify the lives of our customers – that is and has always been our simple mission. Our new 100% US-manufactured Patriot LED is the crescendo of that mission.
When we released our first patented retrofit solution in 2013, we discovered something special. Sign makers fabricate custom signs in all shapes and sizes, and if we could assemble products in the USA, we could offer a limitless range of SKUs in a just-in-time manner. That concept helped catapult Principal LED to become the market leader in LED systems for signage. As we perfected our assembly over time, more and more customers have come to depend on Principal LED not just for modules and power supplies, but a range of value added assemblies that are fabricated at our 60,000 square foot facility in Texas. I thought about it one day and it occurred to me – why not apply this just-in-time concept to LED modules as well? At first, my partner and brother Blake was pretty skeptical. However, I began working on what equipment and automation would be required to on-shore some of our manufacturing back to the USA. As timing would have it, the tariff situation began escalating with China (which suddenly made Blake less skeptical). Although we knew a USA-made module would be more expensive, we believed that if we increased quality and reduced lead times we could create something US sign makers would value and appreciate.
Today we have created almost 50 new jobs and have completed the first integrated LED sign module production facility in the USA. We have one of the best high speed Panasonic SMT lines in North America, as well as 4 robotic wire cutters and strippers, 10 robotic soldering machines, and 14 injection molding units. In addition, we have automatic printers, baggers, test ovens and two LM79 test stations for measuring all optoelectrical characteristics of the modules. We also have the ability to perform long-term temperature and humidity tests to confirm the reliability of our systems.
Blake and I love this country and we are proud to be able to create a company that now employs over 120 Americans. We believe that US manufacturing is not dead, yet systemic supply chain challenges do exist. To overcome these difficulties, companies and their leaders must step up and be willing to put their capital behind their convictions. Our new Patriot 24V module is the first family of LED modules that are 100% manufactured in the USA. We are also producing a portion of our Qwik Mod and Street Fighter modules in Texas. We want to thank our customers who value having a US-based supply partner and we look forward to continuing to serve you for years to come. Despite these trying times, I am more excited today about the future of Principal LED and our industry than ever before.
– J. Bryan Vincent, Ph.D.