Ultra-Precision Plastic Optics
Polymers like polycarbonate (PC) and acrylic (PMMA) can be precision-machined to optical quality with single crystalline diamond cutting tool bits. Furthermore the precision machining of heat resistant ADS material is possible in near optical quality. Accuracies obtained are typically in the sub-micrometer range, and may reach values as low as 60 nanometers, e.g. for small lenses. Roughness values are below 10 nanometers typically (for PMMA). This makes diamond machined surfaces suitable for all visible and near infrared optics applications.
From micro lenses to aircraft windows
The size range of Kugler ultra-precision machined plastic parts starts at diameters of only a few millimeters, as e.g. needed for miniature camera lenses / webcam lenses, and ends at a maximum length of nearly one meter. A typical example for the machining of larger parts is the refurbishing of acrylic aircraft cabin windows, actually one of the first applications of Kugler air-bearing milling machines for plastic parts.
The size of diamond machined features on plastic surfaces can be even smaller: With the latest 5-axis milling tool made by Kugler, the MICROGANTRY® nano5X, bores and channels with widths well below 100 micrometer can be machined - to optical quality.
Prototypes, small series, mass production
Direct cutting of plastic components usually is limited to prototype manufacturing, or to small series of only a few parts. For larger quantities of plastic components, replication processes such as injection molding are preferably used. Due to its flexible machine outfit, Kugler boosts economically efficient batch sizes up to several thousand parts! This is the domain of Kugler direct ultra-precision machining of plastic components. For even larger quantities of plastic optical components, Kugler also offers the manufacturing of metal mold inserts, made from brass, German silver, or nickel.