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25 September 2014 Mold production for polymer optics
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The fields of application for polymer optics are huge and thus the need for polymer optics is steadily growing. Most polymer optics are produced in high numbers by injection molding. Therefore molds and dies that fulfill special requirements are needed. Polishing is usually the last process in the common process chain for production of molds for polymer optics. Usually this process step is done manually by experienced polishers. Due to the small number of skilled professionals and health problems because of the monotonous work the idea was to support or probably supersede manual polishing. Polishing using an industrial robot as movement system enables totally new possibilities in automated polishing. This work focuses on the surface generation with a newly designed polishing setup and on the code generation for the robot movement. The process starts on ground surfaces and with different tools and polishing agents surfaces that fulfill the requirements for injection molding of optics can be achieved. To achieve this the attention has to be focused not only on the process itself but also on tool path generation. A proprietary software developed in the Centre for Optical Technologies in Aalen University allows the tool path generation on almost any surface. This allows the usage of the newly developed polishing processes on different surfaces and enables an easy adaption. Details of process and software development will be presented as well as results from different polishing tests on different surfaces.
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Rainer Boerret, Jonas Raab, and Marco Speich "Mold production for polymer optics", Proc. SPIE 9192, Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Engineering XV, 91921L (25 September 2014);

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