To manufacture conformal optical windows to protect aircraft electro-optical sensors, OptiPro, the only US-based manufacturer designing and building 5-axis computer controlled equipment for fabricating precision optics and advanced ceramics, developed the eSX 5-axis grinding machine, UltraForm Finishing (UFF) sub-aperture polishing process, and UltraSmooth Finishing (USF) mid-to-large aperture polishing process. UFF is capable of polishing the surface of conformal windows to precision levels with high removal rates while USF tools proved to be effective in rapidly polishing conformal windows with minimal grain decoration; the UFF and USF processes have been integrated into our newly developed freeform optics manufacturing software, PROSurf. Defense customers and prime contractors will be able to integrate our equipment onto their factory floors to manufacture spheres, aspheres and freeform optics.
Future infrared and electro-optical sensor domes and windows with aerodynamic and conformal shapes require corrective optics to counter the optical distortion produced by said shapes. To increase the optical precision and reduce the cost and time for manufacturing OptiPro developed Radial In-Feed Grinding that reduced cycle time by 60%, PROSurf freeform CAM software that uses 3D figure data to optimize a dwell map, reducing form error, and Bridger Photonics new optical probe used on UltraSurf showed potential to achieve interferometric-level accuracies. Defense customers and prime contractors will be able to integrate OptiPro’s eSX grinding, UltraForm Finishing (UFF), and UltraSurf non-contact metrology, along with our other platforms onto their manufacturing floors to fabricate precision optics and advanced ceramics.
OptiSonic ultrasonic grinding technology, driven by advanced IntelliSonic software showed a 50% reduction in grinding force leading to improved material removal. UltraForm Finishing (UFF) is a patented deterministic sub-aperture polishing process. UltraSurf is the only commercially available technology that can measure surface irregularity, transmitted wavefront, thickness, wedge, tilt, and decenter for ogive shaped domes. All of these technologies enable the production of complex shaped ogive components to optical tolerances from a hard ceramic material such as polycrystalline alumina (PCA). Defense customers and prime contractors will be able to integrate the solutions we have developed onto their manufacturing floors. OptiPro is the only US-based manufacturer designing and building 5-axis computer controlled grinding, polishing, and measuring machines for the fabrication of precision optics and advanced ceramics.
UltraSurf is a 5-axis non-contact metrology system capable of measuring the surface irregularity of aspheric and freeform optics, conformal windows and ogive shaped domes to sub-micron accuracies in addition to measuring transmitted wavefront, optical thickness, tilt, wedge and decenter. This enables Defense customers and prime contractors to measure the optical figure and transmitted wavefront error of visibly opaque, infrared-transparent aerodynamic domes, conformal windows, and optical corrector elements, providing feedback for optical figure correction on their manufacturing floors. OptiPro is the only US-based manufacturer designing and building 5-axis computer controlled grinding, polishing, and measuring machines for precision optics and advanced ceramics and our collaboration with Prime Contractors has set a solid foundation that we can build upon to further improve the performance and precision of UltraSurf.
The sensors on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as the MQ-25 Stingray require conformal windows for protection from the elements. With 35+ years of experience developing and manufacturing precision optical fabrication machines and metrology systems, OptiPro has developed OptiSonic ultrasonic machining that adds ultrasonic vibration while grinding. Coupled with UltraForm Finishing (UFF), a sub-aperture polishing process involving a moving belt of polishing material wrapped around a precision compressive wheel and UltraSmooth Finishing (USF), which smooths mid-spatial frequency content and corrects the figure error of a surface by polishing with a mid to large size aperture tool, companies can cost-effectively manufacture 24”x24” conformal windows and other large precision optical components to sub-micron accuracy. Prime Contractors have already integrated OptiSonic, UFF, and USF onto their manufacturing floors.