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Glass molding technology to produce lenses having complex shapes by the unique droplet method

Optical systems for new applications achieved by flexibility of shape

Small glass lens molding technology based on the droplet method

Producing complicated and high-accuracy small-diameter glass lenses based on unique technology

Konica Minolta’s unique technology, which can directly shape lenses from molten glass droplets, can produce small, space-saving, and high-accuracy glass lenses of complicated shapes.
For example, camera modules for vehicles and robot eyes must be compact, environmentally rugged, and deliver high output accuracy. To maintain superb lens performance in severe usage environments, glass lenses, which are characterized by outstanding durability including thermal stability, are required instead of plastic lenses, which are easy to work. Konica Minolta succeeded in fabricating small glass lenses of complicated shapes through technology innovation.
Konica Minolta’s unique small glass lenses enable high-performance optical units to be used in environments where glass lenses could not be used previously, thus helping to add value to society through optical systems.

Technology Overview

Unlike the general glass lens molding method (reheat molding method) in which glass material preforms are used, Konica Minolta’s unique technology for molding small glass lenses based on the droplet method directly molds molten glass into lenses. The key feature is that the “direct” molding is completed in only several dozen seconds, which is very rapid. The technology offers economic advantages for manufacturing lenses with the minimum number of molds and achieves high productivity, including manufacturing with short delivery time.
High lens accuracy is achieved by sophisticated technology for adjusting the mold position. Konica Minolta has the know-how needed to adjust the position of the upper and lower molds. For example, the company has a track record in mass-producing Blu-ray pickup lenses, which require a centering accuracy of submicron order.
This technology paves the way for new applications of small glass lenses by harnessing various technical advantages.

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