Printoptical Technology delivers economical 3D-printed arrays of optical elements

July 28, 2014
LUXeXcel Printoptical Technology uses modified wide-format industrial inkjet printers to economically and digitally fabricate optical structures from CAD files via 3D printing methods without the need for expensive molding and tooling equipment.

LUXeXcel (Goes, The Netherlands) Printoptical Technology uses modified wide-format industrial inkjet printers to economically and digitally fabricate optical structures (transparent prisms, lenses, and full-color graphics and textures) from CAD files via 3D printing methods without the need for expensive molding and tooling equipment. A piezoelectrically controllable print head jets an ultraviolet (UV)-curable photopolymer resin that is cured by UV lamps at the precise moment required to create optically smooth surfaces—no postprocessing required.

Printoptical-compatible polymers include polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and custom acrylate formulations; optical components in arrays with dimensions up to 60 cm × 100 cm are possible. "CAD-to-optic" Printoptical technology was used, for example, to fabricate 6 × 6 convex lens arrays on 500-μm-thick flexible polymer substrates for an LED lighting project. The technology can also fabricate prism structures with a 20-mm-long base and 1–2 mm height (30° and 60° top angles) with sharp-edged radii less than 200 μm, depending on the polymer used. LUXeXcel is working to have a new printer available in 4Q14 with increased speed, improved optical smoothness, and increased component-building height. Contact Peter Paul Cornellisen at[email protected].

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