Product novelty 26. September 2022

Smart Optics Production – Intelligent Glass Molding

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Accurate to 1 micrometre: Simulation of precision glass molding for production of optical components
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Smart Optics Production – Intelligent Glass Molding
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Production of high-precision molding tools
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New DLC coating facility at Fraunhofer IPT
In contrast to conventional processing by grinding and polishing, precision glass molding as a replicative manufacturing process is particularly suitable for the production of optical components with complex geometries. So far, the main advantage has been the scalability of production by using multiple molds or by molding wafers.
By networking the individual process steps, the Fraunhofer IPT research team is taking the precision glass molding of optical components to a new level of efficiency and performance.

In order to reduce the effort in product development, the engineers in Aachen have developed a simulation tool for the design of molding processes that enables the production of glass components with an accuracy below 1 μm.
For the production of the molds, high-precision optical and mechanical components made of brittle hard materials must be ground with the highest precision. At the Fraunhofer IPT, we build on many years of process experience combined with innovative research ideas for rotationally symmetric and free-form geometries, for proven and for novel materials.

The coating of molds for precision glass molding extends the service life and thus increases the economic efficiency of the molding processes. The Fraunhofer IPT has now expanded its machinery to include a system for Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) coating. Thus, the Fraunhofer IPT is now the only facility in Europe that can offer research work on coating solutions for all types of molding tools.

Microstructured glass optics allow beam shaping in laser systems, correction of color defects or integration of an anti-reflection function to avoid the need for anti-reflective coatings. Manufacturing by precision glass molding optimizes production processes because the optics can be manufactured in a single forming step.