Optics Manufacturing 101: How to Get a Quote

Posted by Kenny Rains on 2/15/21 10:00 AM

In order to turn your optical design from concept to the finished lens, it is crucial to understand what items need to be provided when submitting a request for quote (RFQ). 


In this blog, we will address the following topics:

  • Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • Prints with Tolerancing
  • Quantities
  • Time Frame
  • Documentation
  • Quality Requirements
  • Terms and Conditions

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) (00:44-01:00)

More often than not, getting a signed NDA is the first step of the process. Some companies require an NDA in order to share their technical data. If you do not have an NDA, LaCroix can send you one to sign. 

Prints with Tolerancing (01:01-2:51)

Typically, a print properly describes the desired lens. In order for our engineers to accurately quote your optical system, it is necessary to provide your detailed optical print or drawing. LaCroix does not require a specific template, but we do ask you to include at minimum the details we mention below. With the optical prints, it is important to fully describe the lens, which includes the geometric and optical tolerances. 

Geometric Tolerances (01:43-02:11)

Geometric tolerances are the physical characteristics of the optical lens. The various geometric tolerances we look for in a print include center thickness, diameter, wedge, sag (chord), radius, bevels, and surface quality.

Optical Tolerances (02:12-02:18)

The various optical tolerances we look for in a print include optical power, optical irregularity, surface roughness, and optical deviation.

Click on the "Optical Manufacturing Tolerance Chart" button below to download our tolerance chart that details the various tolerances we look for in a print. 

Optical Manufacturing  Tolerance Chart

How Many? (02:52-03:37)

When requesting a quote, it is essential to let us know the quantities you require.

For volume, it always helps to know what your estimated annual usage will be, so our team can look into tooling requirements. LaCroix will work with you and accept blanket orders to offer lower prices and flexibility.

Time Frame (03:38-04:29)

It is crucial to let us know your lead time requirements. Please let us know if you need your quote expedited, or if it is an item that can be processed at our normal response time (3-4 days).

It is useful to communicate when you expect the first delivery, so we can plan accordingly. It is very beneficial to know what your proposed schedule is for volume orders, as that will help our team decide the actual production process of the part and if an item will need additional tooling or not.

It is also beneficial to include a target price on volume. Our team can review your target price and let you know if our bid would be close to the target on the front end.

Delivery Lead Times

The industry standard lead time is typically 8-9 weeks. Expedited deliveries are typically 4-6 weeks, but you need to communicate if you are needing an expedited option when sending your RFQ. Volume orders typically start with a longer lead time (10+ weeks) for the first shipment, but we are able to deliver the subsequent shipments as arranged.

Cut vs Molded Blanks

When it comes to the raw optical blanks, there two options: cut or molded discs. A cut disc is easier to produce, has shorter lead times, and is ideal for smaller quantities. Molded discs or pressings are harder to produce, have longer lead times, and are ideal for volume quantities or large parts.

Documentation (04:30-05:29)

Documentation requirements need to be communicated prior to the quotation process. 

LaCroix offers standard documentation with each shipment of optics.

  • Standard Documentation:
    • Coating Chart
    • Material Certification
    • Certificate of Conformance (C of C)
    • Coating Adhesion and Abrasion Testing

Additional documentation options are available if the customer makes the request prior to placing the orders. There will be an additional charge for any non-standard documentation.

  • Additional Options 
    • First Article Inspection (FAI)
    • Environmental Testing
    • Serialization/100% Inspection
    • Inspection Data Report
      • Geometric and Optical
    • Interferograms
    • Aspheric Data
      • Profilometer or 3D Data
    • Laser Damage Certification

Inspection Data Reference Guide

Terms and Conditions (05:30-06:00)

It is necessary to include any quality document in the RFQ, so our team can review the quality requirements ahead of an order. It is common to see a customer quality document referenced on a print, but that quality requirement not included in the RFQ packet until the order is placed, causing additional time and sometimes an additional cost when reviewing the order.

In conclusion, communication is key! Please provide all of the topics addressed in this blog, and our team will be able to provide a quote for your optics in a timely manner. Please click the button below to request a quote today!

Get a Quote




Topics: Optics Manufacturing 101

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LaCroix Precision Optics

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