Autonomous fabrication of optics (Conference Presentation)
The lack of trained machine operators is a significant challenge in modern optical fabrication facilities. The request for machine automation is growing through the entire range of production. This starts in the range of micro optical components for the use in life science applications, such as endoscopes and microscopes, as well as in larger applications such as sports optics (binoculars, scopes etc.) and even larger optics. While large optics is a challenge by itself, the drive for automation currently can be seen more on the smaller end of the optical fabrication range. This paper introduces a solution for fully automated production of optical components, especially for diamond pellet lapping and for polishing. The concept includes the innovative HydroSpeed Polishing Technology. Also aspects of process supervision and process control are considered. As a loading solution, the concept is based on a 6 axis robot, feeding pallets according to the DIN standard, as well as customised pallet solutions. The presentation includes videos and photographs of the fully automated solution, but it is important to note, that the concept can be scaled down for more simplified solutions, using less complex loading technology and still produces optics autonomous.