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Apollo Optical Systems

Precision Polymer Optics From Concept to High-Volume Manufacturing.

World Leader In

Lens Design, Engineering, and Precision Polymer Optics

At Apollo, we specialize in injection molding of polymer optics in prototype to production volumes and single point diamond turning (SPDT). Our internal capabilities include optical/mechanical design and engineering, single point diamond turned optics, polymer injection molding, optical system assembly and extensive metrology and testing. Our team has vast experience in the lens design and manufacturing of diffractive and refractive optics.

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Find out more about optical engineering and manufacturing at Apollo Optical Systems.

1. How Do Optical Systems Benefit from Using Molded Plastic Optics?

Plastic optics offer many advantages over other materials, including glass. Polymer materials are often more cost-effective and can be produced quickly at high volumes with injection molding. They can also be used for more sophisticated surfaces and applications, such as aspheric lenses and components.

2. What Is Injection Molding, and How Is It Used in the Production of Molded Plastic Optics?

Injection molding is a manufacturing process that involves making one mold that’s filled with molten plastic under pressure and allowed to cool. Prototypes can be made quickly to get proof of concept. Then components can be mass-produced quickly at a low per-unit cost, making injection molding ideal for a wide range of optical systems. It’s also versatile and accommodates a range of polymer materials and design complexities.

3. What Materials Are Commonly Used in Injection Molding for Optical Systems?

Injection molding can accommodate various polymer materials, but the most common materials used are polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), and cyclic olefin polymers/copolymers (COP/COC). Every material used for injection molding has advantages, disadvantages, and specifications that should be considered.

4. What Are Some Advantages of Choosing Injection Molding for the Production of Optical Systems?

Injection molding has numerous advantages, including low per-unit costs, high repeatability, and high precision. It’s ideal for mass production as it can quickly manufacture a high volume of components from a single prototype with minimal waste and post-processing. Injection molding supports complex and sophisticated component designs as well.

5. How Can I Find Injection Molding Companies Near Me That Specialize in Optical Systems?

You can find injection molding companies in your area by searching online directories like the Photonics Buyers’ Guide, the American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association, or the American Center for Optics Manufacturing. You’ll also find companies nearby by searching “injection molding companies near me.”

Working with an injection molding company near you may not be necessary. Capabilities are more important than proximity, especially with a complex process like injection molding. Apollo Optical Systems is located in Rochester, NY, but we work with custom optics projects from companies worldwide.

6. What Should I Consider When Choosing an Injection Molding Company for My Optical System Needs?

The injection molding company you choose for your optical system manufacturing plays a vital role in its success. You need a company that can support the entire process, from concept to manufacturing to post-processing.

Here are some things to look for:

  • An experienced design team
  • High-volume production capabilities
  • Guidance with project specifications and applications
  • A complete range of injection molding services, including part design, prototyping, and metrology
  • Material selection
  • Quality assurance
  • Time- and cost investments

At Apollo Optical Systems, our injection molding technology ensures consistent, high-quality parts that meet or exceed industry standards. We’re with you every step of the way to ensure you have a product that delivers on your expectations.

7. How Does the Quality of Injection Molding Affect the Performance of My Optical System?

In some optical applications, performance can be affected by small flaws like internal bubbles, surface irregularities, suspended particles, or flow lines in thin sections because they can affect how light passes through the material.

While some imperfections are unavoidable, they can be significantly reduced by choosing the right material for the process and project specifications and using a high-quality injection-molding process. This starts with design, but the molding technology itself can significantly impact the consistency and precision of the final product.

8. What Are Some Common Applications for Molded Plastic Optics in the Field of Optics and Photonics?

Molded plastic optics have many applications across many industries that require an optical component, including imaging, scanning, illumination, and medical use. Barcode scanners, LIDAR, and medical imaging and laboratory equipment are among the most common applications.

Injection-molded optical components are also found in the automotive industries for illumination, displays, cameras, and sensors. In the aerospace industry, injection-molded optical components are necessary for avionics, such as fiber-optic cables for in-flight communications, navigation systems, and weapons systems for land, sea, or air.