Perfect mirror finish – just milled
Optical systems that are already installed as safety-relevant components in motor vehicles or that will support autonomous driving in the future must function one hundred percent reliably and precisely. This functional reliability requires absolutely dimensionally accurate components with the highest surface quality. The cavities and molds required for this can be obtained from Leonhardt e. K. are manufactured using different technologies. Whether gloss milling, EDM or manual polishing is preferred is not just a question of economy.
Optical systems such as measuring the distance to the vehicle in front or a blind spot assistant are already helping to prevent accidents with serious consequences for vehicle occupants. However, if a light beam reflected at the wrong angle blinds the driver, exactly the opposite can occur – a scenario that can only be prevented by 100 percent precisely calculated and machined components. The innovation and quality-oriented toolmaking company Leonhardt has long specialized in the production of molds and cavities that meet such high requirements for dimensional accuracy and surface quality. “We have three technologies at our disposal, manual polishing, polishing EDM and, more recently, gloss milling,” says company owner Dr. H. c. Wolfgang Leonhardt. Which technology is best suited for the respective application depends on several factors, which include, in addition to the cost-effectiveness and the accuracy of the image, the contour or geometry to be realized.
For decades, specially trained precision mechanics at Leonhardt have been manually producing high-gloss polishes with roughness values below 20 nanometers. However, this technology is complex and cost-intensive, and minor restrictions with regard to reproducibility cannot be completely ruled out. In certain applications, manual (re) polishing is still used.
You can read this article further in our journal Innovation and Technology issue 4/2020.