Kent liquid crystal developer moves to bigger space

Ben Wolford

Strickland, U.S. congressmen attend grand opening

Watch Gov. Strickland and other politicians at the grand opening of AlphaMicron.

View Photos from the event.

Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and John Boccieri, Kent State President Lester Lefton and Kent Mayor John Fender were all at the same place this afternoon: AlphaMicron.

The who’s who of Northeast Ohio politicians came to cut a ribbon and tour the new facility for the Kent State-affiliated liquid crystal developer and manufacturer, Alpha Micron.

The company opened a 30,000-square-foot facility at the Centennial Research Park on state Route 59 near state Route 261.

“The key that we have in our community – Northeast Ohio, Western PA – we have the manufacturing,” Ryan said.

Attracting high-tech developers creating commercial products, he said, will eventually lead to blue-collar jobs. “Other people are going to get employed. Not just the scientists, not just the Ph.D.s – people who actually make things.”

AlphaMicron’s bigger building, a retooled Kent State bus garage, is the first step in putting its manufacturing legs to work. It already sells ski goggles and motorcycle helmets commercially in Germany and Italy.

Essentially, AlphaMicron applies the technology of liquid crystals – the stuff used in digital watch displays and other LCD devices – to curved plastic. Some of its products include eyewear that darkens to absorb light, mirrors that cut out glare and windows that do the same.

– Ben Wolford