Optical design
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Lightguides

POL’s wide expertise in advanced opto-mechanical design and manufacturing enables intricate lightguide products to be developed, which provide functional and aesthetic illumination in a wide range of applications.

Complex lightguide shapes can be developed to follow the contours of the product styling or deliver light from remote light sources to the illumination target surfaces. The lightguides are designed to optimise the light transport efficiency, maintaining high brightness and low power consumption, particularly important on portable battery powered products.

In addition, POL can integrate other features and functions to the lightguide component to ease assembly and support other components in the product. This helps to reduce the number of components in the product, improves product reliability and reduces cost in complex product assemblies.

The final mechanical lightguide design is quite often patterned with laser etched light control structures, machined into the production mould tool surfaces. These light control structures further enhance the aesthetic appearance and function of the illumination to give the final evenness, balance and efficiency in the light transmission.


Scanner window with integrated projected illumination function

Innovative injection moulded lightguide, designed to replace a fibre optic assembly, for an electronic product

Automotive interior illumination lightguide


Control panel LED indicator lightguides

POL’s Design for Manufacture (DFM) approach ensures that the final products can be reliably manufactured in volume and assemblies are simplified to lower costs.By integrating optical and mechanical functions into the lightguide designs, with no loss of illumination performance, the number of components and fastenings in the final product assembly can be reduced to improve reliability and save cost. Use of live-hinges, non-return clip features and Poka Yoke design philosophies ensure robust designs, capable for mass manufacture.
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POL’s automotive subsidiary Polymer Optics Automotive Limited (POAL) applies this vast experience of lightguide design and innovation to various interior and exterior vehicle lighting applications for aesthetic and functional illumination. POAL’s well developed supply-chains produce high volume electro-optical subassemblies directly to Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers supported by full TS and ISO procedural control and support.
See our POAL page

Also, POL’s tooling expertise provides simplified tool constructions, with minimised secondary actions in the tools, giving lower tooling cost, extended tool life and easy future maintenance.
See our Tooling page

POL can also help to re-engineer existing products to improve their performance and solve customer’s previous illumination issues. POL can quickly review the product failings, re-design the product to optimise its performance and then modify the customer’s existing tooling to supply working product with the minimum of cost and lost time to market.

Case study

A customer had invested in a lightguide product to illuminate a rotary switch bezel and had already made production tooling. However, the product didn’t work, giving very poor illumination!

POL was contracted to help and analysed the problem using advanced raytracing analyses. Quickly, the problem with the customer’s design was found and POL proposed simple changes to the design to make it work correctly.

POL configured the changes so that they could be implemented into the customer’s existing production tooling, saving the customer a large cost to rebuild the tooling and saving time to market.

Optical ServicesServices

Design and Development

The latest computer optical design and ray trace programs with optomechanical innovation are used to take full advantage of plastics materials. Complex optical surfaces combined with integral low cost assembly features.

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Prototyping

SLA (Stereolithography), SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), Clear SLA, SLA to Vacuum Casting, Direct Machining and Tooling options.

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Tooling

Proven optical quality toolmakers are chosen and assisted by mould flow analysis to optimize the tool. Our specialist toolmakers are skilled in optical surface generation and polishing.

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Global Manufacturing

Our moulders are trained in the art of optical moulding. Mould flow process analysis and thorough F.M.E.A. is controlled by the Project Manager to ensure quality and quantity.

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Technical Development

Our integrated approach to design enables optical components to become part of the total solution, including how they interface with the other non-optical components.

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Optical Coatings and Films

Plastics optical components can be coated in poly-siloxane and acrylate based resin blends to impart more robust properties.

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Project Management

Every project has a dedicated Manager to ensure as tasks are actioned, the client is kept informed on progress at each stage. Timing plans are used to monitor progress against agreed milestones and they ensure full control through-out the design, tooling, sampling and production stages.

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  • Design and Development
  • Prototyping
  • Tooling
  • Global Manufacturing
  • Technical Development
  • Optical Coatings and Films
  • Project Management