Glass Molding

Proprietary PGM Technology For Volume Production

Rochester Precision Optics utilizes Precision Glass Molding (PGM) technology for rapid production of aspheric lenses. The PGM process was adapted to mass produce aspheric lenses in support of larger lens systems. Optical designers were then able to incorporate aspheric elements into high volume optical designs, reducing lead times and lowering costs.

RPO is the only optical fabrication company currently using Precision Glass Molding technology to rapidly produce aspheric lenses. The proprietary approach provides significant cost and lead time advantages for high volume production. Today at RPO, we are producing custom molded aspheres for market-leading, high-volume applications in sizes from 1mm to 60mm.


Aspheric Glass Molding and Overview

The highly repeatable PGM process is accomplished by heating and press-forming optical grade glass blanks (preforms) using ultra precision tooling. RPO’s vertical integration allows for in-house manufacturing of all tooling, molds, preform fabrication, centering, and AR coating. The molding process produces an optic that has a free form edge, and when necessary, a secondary operation of centering defines the finished diameter. These molded lenses can have spherical, aspheric, bi-aspheric and plano surfaces.


Aspheric Advantages

• Reduction in weight and number of optical elements with more compact design

• Improved performance i.e. MTF

Molded Aspheres can improve tolerances such as tilt and alignment, providing more tolerance budget

• Ease of Assembly – molded-in features provide very accurate mounting features

With the exception of a few glass types, many varieties of glass can be used to manufacture glass molded optics at RPO. Download our Product Catalog to review our preferred glass types and learn more about our glass molding process.


Molded Glass Collimating Optics

Rochester Precision Optics produces standard aspheric lenses in a wide range of focal lengths and numerical apertures, which provide diffraction-limited performance. Standard catalog lenses are offered with three broadband AR coatings, covering wavelengths from 400nm to 1600nm. Custom broadband coatings and V-coatings can also be provided for your specific application.

Custom Molded Glass Aspheric Lenses

Rochester Precision Optics offers custom molded glass aspheric lenses from less than 1mm to 60mm diameters. Our process is not limited to typical moldable glasses, the process can utilize a wide range of optical grade glass types allowing the designer more flexibility. There are over forty glass types currently qualified and it is quite easy to qualify new glasses.

A “Precision Glass Molding Technical Brief” has been developed to help in this design phase. This technical brief provides information to help an optical designer optimize lens performance and manufacturability when using the glass molding process at RPO. These recommendations help reduce the design time normally spent in customizing a lens for optical manufacturing. It is a guide and is not intended to be a definitive statement of capabilities or cost.

Contact the RPO Engineering Staff for help during the design phase of a project.

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