A manufacturer never achieves success completely on its own. Every company, to some extent, needs help from equipment suppliers, machine builders and integrators.

Cyalume Technologies Holdings Inc. (CTHI) has effectively optimized all three sources throughout its 51-year history. However, the company's primary partner since day one has been the Arthur G. Russell Co. Inc. (AGR), which is based in Bristol, CT, and designs, builds and installs automation assembly systems.

From 1963 through 1984, the U.S. government funded research by scientists interested in the chemical generation of light, including recreating the bioluminescent qualities of fireflies. CTHI's forerunner, the American Cyanamid Co., was awarded 15 contracts during that time to develop practical lighting systems that would not generate heat or require electricity to operate.

In 1971, company scientists Michael M. Rauhut†and Laszlo J. Bollyky discovered chemiluminescence—the chemistry that powers light sticks today—and trademarked the product Cyalume. American Cyanamid also began a working relationship with AGR that year.

Today, CTHI is a leading manufacturer and supplier of ChemLight light sticks to the U.S. Department of Defense, first responders and humanitarian relief agencies worldwide. The Defense Department needs the sticks to provide Illumination for tactical operations, as well as emergency situations and recreational activities. First responders and relief agencies rely on the sticks for essential light during emergencies and everyday activities.

None of these market needs went away during the global COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions of the past 18 months. Nor did they prevent CTHI from maintaining its required production level of 70,000 light sticks each 8-hour shift.

Joe Longo, director of engineering and production operations at Cyalume, attributes this achievement to the reliability and flexibility of its AGR equipment. The machine CTHI relies on is the original unit that AGR designed and built 50 years ago—with one difference: the addition of sensors. This enables Cyalume to put newer and better safety protocols in place for workers as the machine runs at an optimum level each shift.

The manufacturer also established a dedicated maintenance team in-house to ensure that the machine always runs smoothly. Should a part need to be changed, it is quickly available through AGR. Equally important, the machine is easy to work on because all key parts are accessible.

“We don’t let people down,” proclaims Longo. “The machine kicks butt. It’s bomb proof.”

Another common use of ChemLight light sticks is on cruise ships and ocean freighters. Crews there need easily accessible light if the power goes out. Egress points, common areas and hallways must be well lit so staff can properly service guests and perform critical tasks. Versatile 6-inch sticks are popular in these situations, as well as wall-mounted emergency light stations.

AGR often designs and builds automated equipment and systems for its clients in stages, beginning with laboratory prototype assembly lines and progressing though scale-up to high-volume production as the end-user’s market demands increase. Founded in 1945, the machine builder has a network of highly specialized resources in fields critical to the development process.

Customers include manufacturers in the medical device, diagnostics and several other industries. For more information on custom machines, call 860-583-4109 or visit www.arthurgrussell.com.