In the biomedical field, integrating micro-optical devices requires very tight assembly tolerances and reliable processes that are scalable to industrial production. Designing and testing these systems for micro-assembling in manufacturing can only be done with highly specialized and precise equipment.
The Centre collégial de transfert technologique en optique-photonique (Optech) was able to acquire the specialized equipment for micro-assembly of optical components in 2013 through a College and Community Innovation grant. This allowed the college to outfit a laboratory specialized in optical micro-systems where industrial manufacturing conditions could be reproduced to encourage automation of micro-manufacturing, micro-assembly, and quality control methods.
Over the past few years, the Optech centre has carried out several optical micro-assembly projects in sectors requiring high-precision optical elements, such as telecommunications and biomedical and industrial engineering. One of its industry partners has been Dental Wings, which produces dental system technologies to help measure and plan dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
“Outfitting Optech with a lab for the microassembly of optical components has allowed Dental Wings to accomplish several projects,” says Jean-Marc Perot, Director of Dental Wings. “Our work of designing and implementing assembly processes for high-level optical microsystems called for cutting-edge expertise and equipment. Without local access to these skills and tools, we would certainly have had to subcontract a larger part of our R&D outside of Canada.”