Take a shine to robotic machine

The world of specialised lens equipment is said to have taken a leap forward thanks to the introduction of a family of new robotic polishing machines.

These 7-axis robotic polishers enable automatic and speedy polishing with computer control.

Designed to ensure the most immaculate finish, these machines can be used for a variety of surfaces including glass and crystals, metals, plastics, semiconductor materials and ceramics.

The softball robotic polishing head reportedly provides distributed pressure for the polishing of spherical, aspheric and free form surfaces.

The machine has been programmed to calculate the three-dimensional motion of the polishing head, in order to correct errors in the form of the lens or mirror surface, and achieve a very high-quality finish.

Initially developed for polishing large optics at the Optical SciencesLaboratory at University College London, the ‘intelligent robotic polisher'(IRP) concept has been commercialised by Zeeko Ltd, a company specifically formed to produce this equipment.

‘At first glance, due to the protective enclosure, these robotic polishers look like extraordinary coffee machines made for giants!’ said Dr David Walker, Director of the Optical Science Laboratory of University College London (UCL) and founder Technical Director of Zeeko Ltd.

‘However what we actually have is a series of revolutionary lens and mirror polishing machines with capabilities that have never before been achieved.’

Initially developed for scientific research, the commercial exploitation of this technology has been achieved through funding provided by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council.