May 25, 2018

Three ways to improve your optical product design process

Three ways to improve your optical product design process

1. Simplify communication between optical and mechanical engineers.

Companies often have siloed engineering teams. Optical engineers design optics in their own design software. Mechanical engineers design the components that house the optics in a separate CAD platform. This siloed design approach can slow things down and contribute to miscommunication.

Global Surgical was able to bridge this gap using Zemax Virtual Prototyping, which gives the engineers software that speaks the same language. “The communication piece with the mechanical engineer became much easier,” said Robert Mentzer, optical engineer and project lead at Global Surgical. “It let me stay on an optics bench and in OpticStudio, and it let Tim stay in SOLIDWORKS with LensMechanix and on his CNC machine.”

2. Maintain design fidelity during file handoffs between optical design software and CAD platforms.

Mechanical engineers typically can’t access all of the optical design data in the CAD environment, so they have to make assumptions about the optical system. This type of guesswork can lead to misinformed mechanical design decisions.

Global Surgical avoided this issue using OpticStudio and LensMechanix. “Now, optics are speaking my language in my design environment. The package of data I can have in a single design file is far superior to the 20 plus drawings I had to rely on before LensMechanix,” said mechanical engineer Tim Stiefferman. “By bringing all the data into SOLIDWORKS and seeing how rays interact with both the optical and mechanical components, I can determine what I can and cannot do.”

3. Catch and correct errors early when changes are easier and less costly.

Most engineering teams don’t have the tools they need to easily validate a complete optomechanical design before creating a physical prototype. That’s because they can’t integrate both the optical and mechanical aspects of the design into a single simulation.

Global Surgical shortened project time and reduced project costs by using the most robust virtual prototyping software on the market. “LensMechanix gave me clarity on how my designs impacted the optical performance,” said Stiefferman. “We had the exact optical design in SOLIDWORKS. I could quickly expose the dimensions I needed, such as the optical axis or clear aperture, and know exactly where the mechanical components needed to be.”

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