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Optics How-to: The Makings of a Successful Imaging Lens
Source: Vision Systems
Imaging and machine vision technology is under more pressure than ever to meet the increasingly demanding needs of a diverse set of markets, and truly understanding imaging is becoming quite the valuable skill. The first part of this article series reviewed how to create a specification to meet your application need and finding the proper balance between cost, development time, system size, and weight. In part two, we reviewed how those earlier decisions translate into a design and the possible trade-offs between performance-based specifications that could be required. Finding balance between the perfect nominal design and a design that can be manufactured is critical. Finally, in this article we will cover lens testing methodology and creating alignment between validating your desired performance and your supplier’s production and testing processes.


Once you have your final lens design, it is critical to set proper expectations with your supplier about everything that will happen next before you cut the orders for prototypes or production units. In the earlier parts of this series, we saw that there are many details required to create your full lens specification. The specification document for your project could be 50 or 100 entries long. What is your expectation about testing every line in that matrix? Do you actually desire or require testing on only a few critical parameters? Do you want detailed, highly granular testing reports, or is pass/fail data sufficient? Is the testing methodology, philosophy, and equipment utilized important to end goals?

Taking the time to answer these questions now can prevent issues and delays from occurring later. Make sure you and your supplier have a detailed, written understanding of how you will both validate that the supplier delivered what you both agreed to at the end of the design process...

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Image: Interferometry is used to quantify the surface accuracy of individual glass components.