3D printed freeform optics.
UNESCO and SPIE have declared that the year 2015 will be dubbed the International Year of Light to raise awareness of some of the biggest challenges facing the lighting industry; energy waste and light pollution.
Leading names in the Photonics and Lighting Industry - Richard van de Vrie, President and founder of LUXeXceL, Kuldeep Vali, Managing Director of Light Union Ltd and Pasi Vahimaa, Professor at the University of Eastern Finland - got together to discuss the importance of raising the profile of the lighting industry particularly in the advent of the 3D printing revolution happening in the optics sector:
“By going directly from CAD file to finished components on a 24/7 base, the traditional manufacturing methods will be replaced in the digital era. Various different types of 3D printers make functional parts in metal, plastic and even electronics on-demand. In the past years the 3D printing industry improved fast in precision, speed and quality output.
"While at the beginning 3D printing was more meant for prototyping we now facing an increased number of printing platforms designed for manufacturing. Instead of warehouses full of components we are going to use computers to store and easily adapt inventories of components. Additive manufacturing offers the industry virtually unlimited opportunities in the plastic, metal, electronics and optics and photonics markets. 3D printing will provide the state-of-the-art future generation products throughout different industries.”
Additive manufacturing opens up the doors for a range of possibilities in designing, creating and manufacturing custom products and parts in the lighting industry. Dutch optics specialist LUXeXcel is taking the lead by printing affordable secondary LED lenses in days rather than months giving lighting manufacturers the opportunity to tailor lenses to individual products and ultimately customise light output. The result will be a reduction in the amount of waste from optics components and resources and more importantly, reduced energy consumption.
The hope for the International Year of Light 2015 is that lighting designers and manufacturers will begin to think differently about the way they work and begin to adopt tailored optics and additive manufacturing into their practice. For the rest of us it's about being mindful of the energy we use every day and making sure we remember to flick the light switch off when we leave the room.