Precision glass and precision optics are unsung heroes of the world we live in. Precision optics keep our phone storage full and our biology research pushing forward. It keeps us safe with IR imaging in national defense, as well as our home security cameras.
How do they make precision glass and precision optics? One method is through precision glass molding.
Keep reading to learn more about how precision glass molding increases the number of products benefiting from precision optics.
What Is Precision Glass Molding?
Precision glass molding is a compression-molding process used for high-volume operation. It requires high temperatures and a lot of environmental control.
This kind of molding technology is most often used in molding aspherical lenses, arrays, V-grooves, lenses, and aspheric-cylindrical lenses. In short, precision glass molding is one fabrication technique to create precision glass for optical equipment and assemblies.
Precision glass is used in thousands of product assemblies used every day, such as:
- IR Objectives
- Illumination Systems
- High-Resolution Objectives for Projection
- Telecentric Objectives and Assemblies
- High-Performance Scan Lens Assemblies
- Laser Focusing Lens Assemblies for YAG Lasers
- Machine Vision Lens Assemblies
- Laser Beam Expanders
- Multi-Element Custom Lenses
- Night Vision Systems
- Sub-Assemblies for Lithography Inspection
- Optical Rangefinders
- Prism Assemblies
- F-theta Scan Lens Assemblies
One way to get the precision needed for these assemblies is by Precision Glass Molding. It’s an excellent method of making lenses of high quality in batches. One of the most difficult things to manage in this process, though, is problems due to material expansion and contraction.
The biggest up-side to precision glass molding is the high level of surface quality achieved. The technology has a lot of issues to overcome but offers amazing quality if refinement of the process continues.
PGM Compared to Grinding and Polishing
Comparing PGM or Precision Glass Molding to traditional methods of fabricating precision optical instruments, PGM saves time and work. Where PGM shines brightest is in the fabrication of the optical lenses.
Of course, metrology must be performed to ensure standards.
Machining processes like polishing, lapping, and grinding are costly and complex. They do, though, consistently provide precision optics for any and every type of application.
PGM isn’t applicable in all circumstances, such as in beamsplitter manufacture. There will always be a need for grinding and polishing work for precision instrumentation.
In the end, it isn’t a question of which one is “better,” but rather one of “which is better in this application?” For small quantity and high quality, nothing yet beats the attention of grinding and polishing.
To get an idea of the manufacturing capabilities of master optical precision fabricators are, you can read more here.
Precision Glass Products
Precision glass products make our world go round. From national defense, to high-quality photography and videography, precision optics are there. Even simple lab work relies on the precision optics of beamsplitters and objective lenses.
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