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Polymer Optics

Design for Manufacturability

Design for manufacturability (DFM) is a critical first step in the development of any optical component. By involving G&H early in the design process, you can ensure that your component is designed for optimal manufacturability, while minimizing costs and lead times.

What is DFM?

DFM is a process that involves considering the manufacturing process when designing a product. This helps to ensure that the product can be manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively. For optical components, DFM is especially important because of the tight tolerances and complex geometries that are often required.

Mold-Friendly Design Guidelines

  • Provide draft angles for all outside edges, mounting flanges, and holes to allow for part ejection from the mold without distortion or damage.
  • Avoid undercuts, indentations or protrusions in a part that will prevent withdrawal from a one-piece mold. This will reduce tooling cost and cycle time.
  • Identify appropriate gate area where a gate vestige will have the least effect on the part mounting or performance, preferably, at the heaviest cross-section of the part.
  • Use generous radii at all corners.
  • The overall part design should be as symmetrical as possible to optimize the melt flow in the mold.
  • The ideal shape for molding is a nearly uniform wall thickness. Extreme variations in part thickness can cause uneven flow characteristics.
  • Because flat surfaces have a tendency to sink as they cool in the mold, one should add a surface of power on both sides of the optic whenever possible.

How does G&H approach DFM?

G&H has a team of experienced engineers who specialize in DFM for optical components. We use sophisticated software packages, such as Solid Works, Solid Works Mold Filling Analysis, Zemax, TF Calc, Diffsys, and MasterCam, to model and optimize your design for manufacturing. We also work closely with you to understand your specific requirements and to develop a solution that meets your needs.

Benefits of involving G&H early in the design process

Involving G&H early in the design process has a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced costs: By identifying and addressing manufacturability issues early in the design process, we can help you to reduce the overall cost of your product.
  • Shorter lead times: A well-designed product is easier to manufacture, which can lead to shorter lead times.
  • Improved quality: A product that is designed for manufacturability is more likely to meet the desired quality standards.

G&H has helped a wide range of customers with DFM for optical components. Here are a few examples:

  1. Medical device manufacturer: We helped a medical device manufacturer to design a new lens for an ophthalmic microscope. The lens required tight tolerances and a complex geometry. By working closely with the customer, we were able to develop a design that was manufacturable and cost-effective.
  2. Consumer electronics manufacturer: We helped a consumer electronics manufacturer to design a new lens for a smartphone camera. The lens required a high degree of precision and accuracy. By using our DFM expertise, we were able to develop a design that met the customer's requirements and could be manufactured at scale.
  3. Automotive manufacturer: We helped an automotive manufacturer to design a new headlight lens. The lens required a specific light distribution pattern and had to be able to withstand harsh environmental conditions. By working closely with the customer, we were able to develop a design that met all of their requirements.

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