ACOP – Aachen Center for Optics Production

Networking production machines digitally and physically can bring about considerable increases in production output in many areas of industry including the optical sector: Once machine data have been logged and evaluated, each individual step in the production process can be mapped in a way that is transparent thereby paving the way for optimization. The aim of the Fraunhofer IPT within the EverPro project – Efficient Networking of Optical Production Systems – is to create a digitalized production infrastructure encompassing each step in the production of optics and ensuring a holistic, digital production scenario for optics.

Concepts and strategies for digitalization are already under development in many companies both in the optics sector itself and among its customers. However, when it comes to implementing these within entire production process chains, particularly in those involving products with tight tolerances, the guiding principle is frequently one of trial-and-error until a solution is found in an iterative process. In the majority of such cases it is not possible to connect each step involved in the production process fully across multiple process chains.  

Networked process chains for optics production

Wherever fault-free production of high-precision components is required, it is particularly important to ensure that individual processes interact smoothly with one another throughout the entire process chain: Efficiency is achieved when not only individual processes but also up and down stream interactions and mechanisms happening across a range of processes are fine-tuned to one another. Consequently, there is enormous potential, especially within the optics industry, for the digitalization of processes and process chains.

Digitalization and data consistency for all steps in the production process

The Fraunhofer IPT, a pioneer in the field of optical manufacturing technologies, is committed to developing a means of ensuring that all individual steps and entire processes are networked efficiently within the framework of the EverPro research project, ready for the next step in the evolution of optics production.

Starting from optics design, continuing through tool and mold making and replication to metrological qualification and final assembly, the Fraunhofer IPT draws on a wealth of background expertise and knowledge of the individual processes within the project.