Additive Optics Fabrication: Fast, Flexible and Cost-Effective Prototyping of Custom Optics
The design and manufacture of custom optical components can be a budget and time-consuming issue. When considering traditional manufacturing methodologies, such as molding and turning, one may face significant upfront investments and a long time to market due to the long lead times for tool development. These days, various rapid molding technologies have seen the light and, despite the fact they may already significantly reduce the lead time from months to weeks, the need of physical tooling is still present. Considering additive optics fabrication methodologies instead, lead times may shorten even further, while a welcome cost reduction and enhanced flexibility are added, as well full or partial elimination of the manufacturing tooling. The expert team of Lumenworkx has been operating at the wavefront end of additive manufacturing technologies, optics and lighting for nearly two decades. From this maturity level of expertise, we are delighted to guide our users in need of custom optics to the best possible solution.
Additive Optics Fabrication – A Gentle Introduction
The evolution of digital optics manufacturing approaches have led to advancements that are shaping the future of high-tech devices in illumination and imaging applications.
Over the last decade, several novel additive optics approaches saw the light. New processes, materials and standards are being developed to overcome the typical inconveniences of traditional manufacturing methods. Recent advancements have resulted not only in successful implementation of additively fabricated optical plastics, but also in breakthroughs in 3D-printed glass optics.
Wheras the individual technologies may differ in approaches, capabilities and application scope, they have one thing in common: address the inconveniences of traditional optics manufacture, and provide a fast, flexible and cost-effective way forward while, at the same time, opening doors to new design spaces and market applications.
Features & Benefits
Generally, there are some interesting benefits arising from the use of additive optics approaches:
• Custom Optics in Days: Fast availability of custom optical parts;
• Low upfront investments: no tooling required, no Minimum Order Quantities apply;
• Flexible Approach: Easy Design Variations (same job) or Design Iterations (next job);
• Multi-Purpose Functionality: Design/Tooling Validation and Functional Demonstration;
• Start-Up and Pre-Series: Utilization for Rapid Prototyping and pre-series manufacture.
Optics Design Services
Lumenworkx can facilitate your next optics development from scratch. Typically, our users would provide us with a CAD file for processing immediately, resulting from their in-house design approaches. However, if you miss out the necessary skills or just the engineering time, outsourcing your optics development may become of consideration.
At Lumenworkx, we have teamed up with various optics designers from around the globe, each of them having a background in specific industries and carrying at least 10+ years of optics design expertise with advanced optics design software.
The industries we serve are multiple, however the focus is on industries where illumination optics and (entry-average) level imaging quality are required, matching the specifications of our processes. We do not serve Ophthalmic industries.
Our typical solutions are found in a variety of industries and markets:
- General Lighting (Architectural, Office, Retail, Display/Signage, Residential, Outdoor)
- Automotive & Mobility
- Aviation & Aerospace
- Defense & Security
- Naval & Maritime
Ever Evolving Optics Manufacturing Landscape
Sourcing of pre-series volumes in durable and market class optical materials can be considered to demand, while making sure our concept is suited for traditional mass fabrication processes to meet volume requests. Should you require engineering support to help bring your ideas to life, please drop us a note and we would be happy to help!
From micro- to macroscale optics and from plastics to glass, today’s optics industry is changing. Additive methodologies are overcoming the disadvantages of subtractive fabrication techniques, opening up doors to greater freedom in design, materials, and applications for a wide range of industries. At Lumenworkx, we keep up with the lastest advancements and transfer our experience into solutions for everyday challenges.
Lumenworkx is keen to support you on your next project endeavor. By sharing our deep expert experience and backgrounds in consulting custom optics, lighting components and additive manufacturing solutions, we are keen to to help you move from your initial concept validation to a market-ready product, and beyond.
Please feel free to contact us directly to discuss the possibilities for your project!
If you are interested to take a deep dive into this topic, we can recommend you our EuroPhotonics article ‘Tracing the Evolution of
Additive Optics Fabrication‘ that provides a birds-eye view on todays digital optics manufacturing landscape, and breaks down the various available technologies.