Design Hits New Performance Heights

An international aerial imaging company needed a new lens assembly concept that required design and fabrication expertise.

Challenge

An international aerial imaging company approached us with a new lens assembly concept that required design and fabrication expertise. Their requirements included: a long focal length, fast aperture, high resolution, wide field of view, athermal performance, and ruggedness, all within a limited sized package – and they wanted the prototype fast. This product would also need to be produced with extremely tight tolerances in production quantities.

While many other optical manufacturers would have been hard pressed in taking on this project on due to the technical difficulties, JML Optical rose to the challenge of producing a quick turnaround, high preforming optical system.

Solution

JML designed the lens assembly based upon the customer’s vision of what the system would need to do. Having successfully pushed the theoretical limits of system optical design, the next hurdle was to fabricate the optical components and assemble them in a very precise manner for the finished product. In addition, because of the high volume and tight production deadlines, creating a precise and reliable manufacturing process was paramount to the success of this project.

Several rapid prototype lenses were manufactured for aerial field testing. While initial resolution results were good, the prototype process showed parts of the design and manufacturing process that could be improved to increase performance and yield. We made these improvements and in an example of success-based capital expenditures, we invested in significant metrology upgrades to perform the testing desired by the customer.

The JML engineering team continued to work closely with the customer to fully integrate our finished lens assembly into their aircraft’s image capture system. In doing so, JML was able to recommend further improvements to the imaging path. Going beyond the original charter, we designed and manufactured components that complimented our assembly, improving the final images produced by the system.

Results

Our customer reports that the lens assemblies and other components designed and manufactured by JML are producing high quality imagery in the field. The customer has expressed praise on multiple occasions for our technical expertise in optical design and assembly. We have forged a strong technical and programmatic working relationship that benefits both parties.

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