LUXeXcel, The Netherlands, won the prestigious Prism Award in February 2015 for the company’s patented 3D printing technology for optics, Printoptical technology. The Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation is an international competition that honors innovations in the photonics market and sponsored by SPIE and Photonics Media. LUXeXceL was the winner in the category of Additive Manufacturing. In the same month, LUXeXceL launched a new online 3D printing service for prototyping, iterating and manufacturing of optics.
We caught up with Peter Paul Cornelissen, Head of Marketing Online Business Developer to learn about LUXeXcel’s on-demand service and Printoptical process in an exclusive AMazing® conversation.
AMazing®: Peter Paul, thank you for your participation. Earlier this year, LUXeXcel won the prestigious Prism Award in the category of Additive Manufacturing for the company’s Printoptical Technology process. Would you please explain the process? What sets Printoptical technology apart from conventional 3D printing processes?
Peter Paul: We are very pleased that we won this prestigious award. It is recognition that 3D printing will contribute to change throughout different industries. Our proprietary 3D printing technology, Printoptical Technology, is unique for printing fully transparent products that require no post processing like polishing. We use a UV curable material that is jetted in droplets and cured. The process is highly controlled and the reason we can 3D print products without visible layering. And since post processing is not needed, we are able to hold very tight shape tolerances.
AMazing®: How important is smoothness and transparency for superior optical functionality? How does Printoptical technology enhance smoothness and transparencyfor additively manufactured optic products?
Peter Paul: Smoothness and transparency are essential in order to print a product with an optical function. For example, an optic is used to guide light in a specific direction. In order to transmit the light perfectly, the 3D printed product must not contain any visible layers.
Conventional 3D printing techniques are not able to merge printed layers into one solid shape that allows light to freely pass through. If the printed product exhibits visible layers, light beams will scatter in unintended directions, resulting in an inefficient transmission of light through the optical product. Consequently, to manufacture high quality optics, surfaces must be completely smooth.
LUXeXcel’s proprietary Printoptical Technology enhances the smoothness and transparency by making use of small droplets. These droplets flow and merge before being cured with UV-light. Due to this unique process, 3D printed products do not require post-processing like polishing in order to have an optical function.
AMazing®: Does Printoptical technology represent a paradigm shift for prototyping and small lot production of customized optic products?
Peter Paul: Printoptical technology certainly represents a paradigm shift for prototyping and small lot production of customized transparent products. Before the introduction of 3D printing, large inventories of standard lenses were wasted due to rapid changes in the industry. By utilizing our Printoptical Technology users can optimize products for specific applications.
We help by saving users valuable project lead time, as our production time is five days. Our process can also help save money by preventing material waste, as users only order what is needed without keeping large amounts of stock on-hand. Our dedicated printer and process are designed to produce customized single products from small to midsize series. Customization of every single design, even within a series, is possible. This presents endless opportunities for companies, R&D departments, designers and product engineers to create one of kind products.
AMazing®: LUXeXcel recently launched a global online 3D printing service. Tell us about the service. Once a file is uploaded, how long does it take to receive parts? Which industries stand to benefit most from LUXeXcel’s Printoptical technology and online 3D printing service?
Peter Paul: Our online 3D printing service enables users to create customized transparent products on demand. This decreases the time to market significantly for customized and optimized products. After a user uploads a design to one of our secure servers, the user will receive an instant quote. After the order is placed and payment is received, the product will be printed within five working days and shipped.
Our transparent 3D printing service, designed to support markets like the optics market, photonics market, automotive market and various non-optics markets, makes it easy to do business with us, 24/7/365.
AMazing®: Would you please talk to us about LUXeXcel’s current portfolio of materials? What materials are currently available? Are there any new materials in development? How does the company propose to meet the growing need for more and better material options?
Peter Paul: When using our online ordering platform, users can order our LUXOpticlear material. LUXOpticlear has a high transmission value and is perfect for products that demand the highest standard in transparency.
With regard to meeting the growing needs for more and better materials, we are always seeking to develop, grow and improve our material offering, and often work with third-party sources to gain in-depth market insight and requirements. So, we encourage users to sign up for our newsletter for updates about new materials.
AMazing®: As we understand,LUXeXcel made history by creating printed functional 3D printed glasses (both frame and 3D printed lenses) for the King of The Netherlands.How close are we to seeing additively manufactured eyewear including lenses at the retail level?
Peter Paul: Printing glasses that were a fit for our King represented an excellent proof of concept. By printing glasses for our King, we hope to inspire early adaptors and innovators throughout different markets to explore with us. And in the process, we hope to work with future innovators to create innovative designs, like customized eyewear or innovative fashion designs.
AMazing®: The additive manufacturing (AM) industry is evolving so quickly with more machines, materials and improved processes. How will 3D printing in photonics be refined over the next few years? What new optical functions and products do you envision in the next 5 years?
Peter Paul: In my opinion, in the next few years 3D printing will be used more frequently for series production. At the moment, it is mostly used for prototyping and proof of concept projects. 3D printing will radically change the way products are designed, optimized and developed. 3D printing has the potential to disrupt many industries due to more optimized and customized products. The main goal of LUXeXcel is to disrupt markets. The photonics market, which values smooth and transparent products, is one our primary interests. It is stated that the 21st century will be depend upon photonics as the 20th century depended on electricity.
This concludes our interview. Thank you very much Peter Paul for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about LUXeXcel’s products and services for the optics and photonics industry.
About Peter Paul Cornelissen:
Peter Paul Cornelissen is the Head of Marketing and Online Business Development at LUXeXceL Group BV. He is responsible for the marketing and the development of the online platform, 3rd party integration and tool development.
All targeted to grow the LUXeXceL awareness and market share and to develop a seamless online user experience supported with a highly automated, lean, process flow.
Peter Paul has a Bachelor’s degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He has extensive business experience within various Design-, Marketing- and online-businesses such as Philips and Shapeways.
LUXeXceL Group BV is headquartered in Goes, The Netherlands, and founded in 2009. The company recently built an additive manufacturing competence center in Kruiningen (NL) dedicated to 3d printed functional optics. LUXeXceL offers a 3D printing service for products that demand the highest standard in transparency and smoothness. LUXeXceL is the only company in the world able to 3D-print transparent products, without visible layering and post-processing. LUXeXceL developed an additive manufacturing process called Printoptical© Technology to 3D print products which demand smooth, accurate and transparent products. LUXeXceL is a rising star in the additive manufacturing industry, with a scalable technology for transparent 3D printing. The 3rd industrial revolution has arrived and is supported by the LUXeXceL printing technology.
(Top photo) Designed by Edmund Optics produced by LUXeXcel. (Photo courtesy of LUXeXcel)
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