Optical assemblies play a critical role in the function of optical systems. As a result, they must be designed and engineered carefully to ensure they operate and perform as intended at an acceptable cost.
As optical assemblies can consist of a variety of optical components (e.g., lenses, mirrors, prisms, and filters) and mechanical mounting elements that must be aligned with great precision, some OEM instrument companies can find it difficult to design and engineer optical assemblies. Fortunately, an experienced and knowledgeable optical and optomechanical solutions provider can help navigate these stages to ensure the creation of a quality optical assembly suited for the intended application. Below, we highlight the key qualities to look for in an ideal partner.
1. Extensive Experience and Expertise
The solutions provider you partner with should have prior experience working on optical assembly projects for an industry and/or application similar to your own. This experience gives them the knowledge and skills needed to help you design and manufacture an optical assembly that meets your specifications and complies with industry/application-specific standards. Additionally, it can give them insight into the challenges and pitfalls faced in designing and manufacturing an optical assembly for your application or industry and the appropriate solutions to overcome and avoid them, which can translate to a better assembly design, shorter development cycle, and lower overall project costs.
Some of the capabilities your partner may offer include:
- Designing and developing complete optical system specs
- Improving, producing, and evaluating a preliminary design concept or existing system
- Optimizing the design for volume manufacturing approach
- Designing optical components and mounting elements
- Building and testing components and complete assemblies
2. Emphasis on Quality
The performance of an optical assembly hinges on the quality of the optical components and mechanical elements. For this reason, it is essential to partner with a solutions provider that is committed to meeting and maintaining high quality standards throughout the production process, from product design to final product testing. They should invest in robust quality control techniques and technologies to ensure product and process quality. Additionally, they should keep comprehensive documentation on QC processes to ensure they can provide proof upon request.
3. Knowledge of Performance-Cost Factors
When developing and manufacturing your optical assembly, it is important to find a balance between performance and cost. Your optical solution provider should be able to assist you with a performance-cost analysis to determine which designs and design elements are best suited for your performance requirements and project budget.
Some of the factors that influence the cost of the optical assembly include:
- Number of components in the design
- Optical performance and properties
- Mechanical properties
- Mounting and packaging requirements
- Size and weight limitations
- Fabrication and secondary service requirements
JML Optical: Your Partner and Expert for Optical Assembly Needs
While you may find it difficult to design and build an optical assembly, the right optical solutions provider can help you create one that meets your exact needs. At JML Optical, we have the knowledge, skills, and tools to develop and deliver custom optical and optomechanical solutions for a wide range of applications. By leveraging extensive experience and cutting-edge equipment, we carefully design, manufacture, and test assemblies to your specifications and standards.
For more in-depth information on the considerations to keep in mind when planning the manufacture of an optical assembly, download a full copy of our eBook, “Top Design Engineering Considerations for Optical Assemblies.”