(13th January 2021, Ankeny, IA, USA) Leading micro molding company Accumold will be exhibiting at the upcoming Virtual Photonics Spectra Conference 19-22 January 2021. Virtual attendees at the event will have the opportunity to see examples of the work that Accumold does pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the area of micro molding, where tolerances are measured in fractions of microns, and the size of parts in some instances is no larger than a grain of sand.

Aaron Johnson, VP of Marketing and Customer Strategy at Accumold comments, “Micro molding is pushing at the boundaries of what is possible in the area of micro-optic component manufacture. The ability to be able to produce extremely flat, extremely small, and extremely lightweight plastic optics today opens up a huge amount of potential for innovation. We are pleased to support the Photonics Spectra virtual event, and look forward to engaging with anyone interested in discussing how we can partner in micro-optic component manufacture.”

Photonics Media, organisers of the Photonics Spectra conference, have curated the event in the midst of the continued disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as they recognize the need for peer-to-peer knowledge distribution, and for platforms that bring together the entire photonics community. Since 1967, Photonics Spectra magazine has gone beyond covering the most important advances in lasers, optics, imaging, and spectroscopy, and has actively sought to encourage progress and growth by promoting engagement between the industry’s diverse innovators and stakeholders. With that continuing commitment in mind, the company introduces its inaugural online conference, which will feature over 70 webinar presentations discussing the latest trends, technologies, and applications under four tracks – Lasers, Optics, Spectroscopy, and Biomedical Imaging.

Johnson continues, “For companies wishing to stay competitive in 2021, it is more critical than ever to stay up to date with the latest advances and emerging applications for photonic technologies. Getting together with colleagues and customers online in January will mean that we at Accumold start the year as we mean to go on, hopefully building in attendance at physical events across the world as the vaccination initiatives begin to pay dividends.”

The recent history of micro optics has seen the increased adoption of plastic over glass, which facilitates the manufacture of complex miniature components. Also, through the use of plastic, previously fragile micro-optics are now robust, and can withstand even the harsh environmental requirements of the consumer electronic industry including infrared (IR) reflow and thermal shock. Polymer-based injection molded optics are now found in a broad range of products, promoted by the design freedom that working in plastic allows. Micro injection molding is much more versatile and flexible than conventional glass optics manufacturing technologies, and is the only viable manufacturing technology to use when low-cost, high-volume production runs are required. A single tool is capable of mass-producing plastic micro-optic parts (including necessary surface finish), and if process controls are rigorous enough, 100% accurate replication is possible run after run. This is not the case when manufacturing in glass.

Johnson concludes, “Micro-optic components are characterized not just by how small they are, but also by their flatness, with the surface relief feature depth of diffractive optical elements (DOEs) being in the range of a few hundred nanometers to a few micrometers. Even refractive micro-lens arrays typically have relief depths of less than 100 microns. Such flatness characteristics have opened up the use of production technologies such as micro injection molding which offer significant cost advantages as component volume increases. Use of injection molding for micro-optic manufacture, however, requires the optimization of design, mastering, tooling, and production steps, meaning a close interaction between supplier and product developer is vital. Accumold is a truly vertically integrated micro molding company, and we advocate a true partnership relationship in product development to achieve optimal results.”

You are able to register free of charge for the Photonics Spectra Conference 2021 HERE, which allows attendees to build a schedule, view live and on-demand presentations, and connect with Accumold.