High-tech startup Addoptics has developed an innovative method that reduces the lead time for small-series production of customer-specific lenses from six weeks to six days. This includes the manufacture of lenses for smartphones and lighting, and the time reduction is in part achieved by using 3D printing techniques. To further develop and validate the technology with pilot customers, Addoptics is to receive a €300,000 injection from early-stage investment fund UNIIQ. The investment was announced by Rotterdam Deputy Mayor Barbara Kathmann (Economy, Districts and Local Communities) during the Rotterdam Capital Days event.
Faster and more flexible testing with prototypes
Whether it involves the latest smartphone, a camera-equipped cardiac catheter, streetlights or car headlights, all of these finished products involve lenses. Optical systems and their applications are based on lenses, and prototypes of optical components are needed early in the development cycle of each new product. However, standard lenses that are available may often fail to meet the specific requirements of the desired end product. A manufacturer will therefore sometimes have special custom-made lens prototypes developed, but these take six to eight weeks to produce. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the prototype will work, which results in an extremely long product development period.
From six weeks to six days
Technological developments move at lightning speed and competition is fierce. As time to market is crucial, there are increasing calls for shorter development cycles and greater design freedom (‘free-form’ lenses) from a range of industries, including medical technology, automotive, lighting, production technology and communication applications.
By using 3D printing technology to produce lenses that meet customer specifications, Addoptics has developed a fast and flexible lens manufacturing process for custom-made optical components. And instead of six weeks, the firm can produce the lenses in just six days. Due to its innovative technology, Addoptics is making shorter and more flexible development cycles a reality while offering greater design freedom.
Fine-tuning the technology and working towards pilots
The investment from proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ will help Addoptics take the crucial next steps. In the coming period, the company will further fine-tune the technology and test it with various pilot customers. Addoptics co-founders Joris Biskop and Lucas Klamer form a strong team. Both have extensive experience in the optical industry and together possess good technological know-how in optics and 3D printing. They also have expertise in materials science, excellent commercial skills and access to a broad network in the optical industry.
Joris Biskop, Addoptics co-founder and CEO:
“With the support of UNIIQ as an investment partner, Addoptics will be able to realise its ambitions. We are proud to have the opportunity to develop our innovative concept further, prior to taking the first steps towards bringing it to market.”
Liduina Hammer, UNIIQ fund manager: “Addoptics is a valuable addition to the optical cluster in the greater Rotterdam The Hague area. The investment from UNIIQ will enable the firm to move forward with its innovative technology and validate it with pilot customers.”
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