Your project needs excellent optics that will perform consistently well for a minimal cost. At Eckhardt Optics, we use a systematic approach to crafting custom optics to make your project successful. We have codified it as our 10 Step Lens Design Process. Here’s what you can expect when working with us.
10 Step Lens Design Process
- Specifications: We can’t design a lens until we are sure we know what our customer wants. For this reason we use the specification sheet found on the Custom Lens Specification page.
- Starting point: For almost every conceivable application, there is already a lens design that is almost right. We often refer to the Appendix in Arthur Cox’s “A System of Optical Design” or the patent literature for lenses that approximate the desired performance.
- Optimization: For this step we use a lens design program such as Zemax, CodeV or OSLO to modify the starting point so that it meets the customer’s specifications. For all but the simplest designs this step represents the majority of the effort.
- Tolerance Analysis: Manufacturing the lens exactly to design is prohibitively expensive, so we run a tolerance analysis to determine how much latitude we can give the manufacturer. If minute variations from the exact design cause serious performance degradation, we go back to optimization.
- Manufacturability: In this step we make sure that the glass types chosen during optimization are readily available and inexpensive, lens thicknesses are even numbers for easy checking, and the lens diameters make the mechanical design easy. We also do something called a test plate fit to minimize the tooling cost for the lens.
- Quote & order optics.
- Design mechanical components: Designing and manufacturing the lens barrel, spacers, retaining rings and any other mechanical components takes less time than manufacturing the lens elements, so we generally leave that until after the glass is ordered. Careful attention is paid to keeping the parts easy to fabricate for the minimum cost.
- Quote & order mechanics.
- Assemble: Whenever possible, we have the supplier who makes the lenses do the assembly. In cases where this is not possible, we have the tools and know-how to assemble lenses in-house.
- Test: Every lens must pass our rigid quality inspection before it reaches the customer’s hands. We stand behind our lenses.