Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England - Glass Technology Services Ltd. (GTS), an independent research and development consultancy and testing facility, is developing a novel laser cutting process to optimize the production of customized three-dimensional (3D) glass components.
Designed to meet increased industry demand for low-cost, flexible manufacturing of complex glass shapes, 3D Clear Cut will enable several pieces to be laser-cut from a single block of glass.
Robert Ireson, innovation team leader at GTS, says, "It is difficult to produce small, complex, 3D shapes to a high degree of precision using conventional glass processing technology. It is hoped that the novel laser process will have minimal energy input, with the option of controlling certain optical properties. Customized 3D shapes can be manufactured with this non-contact process in a short time frame, with high precision and minimum waste, meeting extensive demand across the industry for flexible, energy-efficient production of glass components, particularly for use in the photonics applications, including lasers and sensors."
The new process will complement a separate major development project underway at GTS to produce innovative, compact, low-cost, and eye-safe laser-illuminated imaging sensors for use in optical communications, medical diagnostics, remote sensing, rangefinding, and targeting.
Photonics and material science experts at GTS, are working with Thales UK's Optronics business in Glasgow, Scotland, on the Light-MiLES project, which has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency and the new name for the Technology Strategy Board, to forward advances in technology and innovation. Other partners in the specialist consortium include Gooch & Housego (Ilminster, Somerset, England) and the University of Leeds.
The GTS portfolio of current, non-confidential projects is available online.