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Establishment of an integrated process chain for the cost-efficient manufacturing complex glass optics (CENTIMO)
Start date: Oct 1, 2013, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Demand for complex yet low-cost glass optics is growing within the sectors of lighting technology, automotive engineering and in the areas of renewable energy. However European SMEs are continuously being confronted with the dual challenge arising from the trend towards increasingly complex geometries coupled with intense pressure on market prices.Still the state-of-the-art to manufacture complex shaped glass optics is not efficient enough to meet the requirements of mass production sufficiently. The process requires large amounts of energy and manual work resulting in a very time-consuming and expensive process. Therefore the European SMEs pull for new technology developments enabling them to build up a new and improved process chain which allows for an efficient and economically viable glass optic replication.The key to success in developing an efficient integrated production chain for complex optics is to mould optics directly from a gob of molten glass. By moulding directly from a gob of molten glass reheating of glass is obsolete saving large amounts of energy. Due to the precise cutting of glass gobs no subsequent mechanical processing is necessary and the amount of glass waste will be reduced to almost zero. In order to provide the SMEs with this efficient and economically viable production chain extensive developments are necessary.The project CENTiMO will start with a detailed analysis of the gobforming and the moulding process. Based on this the RTD Partners Fraunhofer IPT and Glass Service will develop a suitable melting and gobforming process which is able to form gobs which can directly be moulded into glass optics. In parallel, the glass moulding process will be developed. In order to achieve the required quality and mould lifetime new mould materials will be evaluated. Finally an evaluation and qualification of the developed processes will give decisive feedback for the improvement of the whole process chain.
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