Chicago Miniature Lamp, Inc., (CML) Canton, Mass., took another step in its quest to build a major, vertically integrated lighting company, with the purchase of the assets and the license for financially troubled Solium, Inc.'s electronic fluorescent lamp ballast technology.

Buying Solium should enable CML to produce improved and new products involving ballasts, and lamps produced by its Sylvania Lighting International (SLI) subsidiary in Geneva, Switzerland, said Frank Ward, CML chairman and chief executive officer. The acquisition fits into Ward's strategy to expand the company's automated, vertically integrated manufacturing capacity and ballast lines, he said.

"We're not a ballast company. We are not a lamp company. We are a lighting system company, and that is the whole logic of the acquisition of Solium's automation and intellectual property.Integrated with our own disciplines, (CML) will bring forward a full fixture-ballast lighting system," Ward said.

CML bought Solium's inventory, assets, 18 patents and designs from Pacific Scientific Co., Newport Beach, Calif., for an undisclosed sum. In April, Pacific put the money-losing Solium unit up for sale because the company could not afford the cost to gain market share.

How soon Solium technology will reach the market in CML products remains unclear.