Traditional Manufacturing: What is it?
The traditional way of manufacturing optics is known as injection moulding. This is a process that uses a special machine which three parts: the injection unit, the mould and the clamp. Molten plastic is injected into an aspheric mould. This processes can cause a lot defects within the optic, for example, blistering, cracks, flow lines, etc. These can damage the precision and clarity of the optical component. However, this type of manufacturing is less expensive to use in volume production, and the mould itself can be used again and again to create the same design.
Digital Manufacturing: What is it?
Digital manufacturing is a lot simpler than traditional manufacturing, it is merely 3D printing the optics. There are multiple technologies for this process, but the general idea stays the same. Material is deposited rather than removed (less waste!) and there are a lot less steps, and hence; a lot quicker. The design possibilities are more complex and the capabilities are vast. However, with this technology there is a lack of precision and less clarity compared to other methods.
So what is the best option?
Of course the best option depends on your needs, both design wise and the amount of optics you need, but did you notice how Addoptics fits within neither of these manufacturing methods?
Our patented process is a “hybrid” of both traditional and digital manufacturing; and we think its pretty cool. We use a 3D printer to print moulds of the optics, which are then used in castings to create the optic. Shape accuracy and tolerances remain as sharp as they should be, and our technology helps you create custom optical components fast, precise and with high resolution; from prototyping to series production.
Want to learn more about our process and how it benefits you? Contact us, we’d love to help!