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Automated Precision Assembly for Complex Optical Systems (APACOS)
Start date: Aug 1, 2012, End date: Jul 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The APACOS project aims at developing solutions for the automated assembly of laser systems. The solutions include new laser sources designed for automated assembly, as well as an industrial micro assembly system that will be mechanically enhanced by an ultra-precise micromanipulator for additional degrees of freedom. Fully automated alignment and bonding strategies for optical components will be implemented in APACOS in order to prove the production concept. Therefore, two European SMEs from the laser manufacturing industry, Modulight and Altechna R&D, will develop novel laser sources with high market potential. Altechna aims at a high-power yellow laser based on OPSL technology with perspectives in the markets of health care and life sciences. Modulight pursues the development of a single-emitter based product platform for visible green and yellow lasers used for projection and display applications. The developments will be supported by the Optoelectronics Research Centre at Tampere University of Technology, a leading European research institution in the field of laser sources. SmarAct, an SME from Germany, is provider of precision technology such as multi-axes micromanipulators with nanometer precision. In APACOS a flexure-based micromanipulator will be integrated into an industrial micro assembly system by Rohwedder Micro Assembly, a company with long year experience in developing industrial micro assembly systems and also a partner in the project. The integration will mainly be carried out by the Fraunhofer-Institute for Production Technology IPT, a leading edge research institute in the field of automated laser assembly. For the development of automated alignment and bonding processes, the consortium sets up a process prototyping station with standard equipment and easy-to-use operator interfaces. A novel control concept for the production solution aiming at a high degree of reusability of process implementations will be worked out. The participation of FISBA OPTIK, a leading optics manufacturer from Switzerland with semi-automated assembly lines for optical sub-assemblies, completes the consortium. FISBA contributes valuable experience regarding automation-friendly component design and automated component handling. Together, the APACOS consortium strives for a more standardized and automated assembly of lasers and optical systems considering aspects of product design, production system requirements, and process development. That will lead to a set of design guidelines for laser sources and a flexible assembly cell for laser optics. The project results are expected to have a major impact on the European laser industry by strengthening innovative laser manufacturers through more competitive production conditions."
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