Automation for mass production of high performance optics

Lead Participant: Loxham Precision Limited

Abstract

This project will devise and verify new automated manufacturing technologies that will enable effective mass production of high-end (high performance) optics. The project will realise new UK-designed and built automated manufacturing technologies appropriate for defence and commerial sector optics. Today, leading companies producing high-end optics employ very precise machines which are manually loaded/unloaded and have separate post-production inspection requiring manual operation. This project will develop and verify new automation methods that are functional for delicate optical workpieces and integrate a new in-situ measurement technique that can improve production rate and yield. The project will advance research outputs of a previous research council funded project (which created a highly novel compact machine concept) and apply to that concept new automation techniques for loading/unloading and in-situ measurement appropriate for both infrared and visible optics. This type of automation has previously not been applied. Today, demand for reduced size optics is common, and production batch sizes are increasing. These two factors raise the importance of automation. Significantly, the load/unload times are becoming a greater % of overall cycle times in optics production. The project partners include the UK's leading optical systems manufacturer and a spin-out company from the UK's leading Precision Engineering research institute.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Loxham Precision Limited, Cranfield £554,664 £ 312,894
 

Participant

Qioptiq Limited, DENBIGHSHIRE £39,489 £ 19,744
Aerotech, Limited, READING £38,690 £ 19,345
Hexagon Metrology Limited, TELFORD £14,035 £ 7,017

Publications

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