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The Industrial Sequel: Optical Components That Are Used Within the Manufacturing Sector

15th Jul 2020

Following on from its previous blog on optics used in the manufacturing sector , Knight Optical – the leading manufacturer of premium-quality, metrology-tested optical components – explores additional uses for its products in this discerning industry. Here, the trusted optical partner uncovers some of the components that have boosted in popularity since the re-opening of industrial companies across the globe. 

Last month, it was announced that the manufacturing sector in the UK stabilised following the coronavirus pandemic1. After lockdown eased, workshops and factories opened their doors back up and fired up their machines, and, as predicted, the need for on-spec optical components rose once again. We have been assisting manufacturers across the past few weeks with their optical specifications, and we only expect this to advance. With UK Export Finance (UKEF) supporting £528m of exports in the UK manufacturing sector2 and incentives such as Innovate UK’s competition to “help the UK manufacturing sector become more efficient, productive, flexible and resilient “3; we are among the many that are supporting the manufacturing trade.

Here in the UK, we are the ninth largest manufacturing nation in the world4, with an annual output worth £192bn to the economy overall5. With hi-tech sub-sectors such as aerospace and automobile manufacturing as well as machinery, food, drink and beverages, optical components are woven through not only UK manufacturing but also across the industry on a global level.

The Automobile Sector

Since American Automaker Henry Ford introduced a moving assembly line for the mass production of automobiles, we’ve come a long way. That was back in 1913 when the Ford Motor Company reduced the time it took to build the Model T car from more than 12 hours to two hours and 30 minutes with a combination of humans and machines6. Today, thanks to modern-day, ever-evolving innovations in technology, that same car manufacturer can produce one of its models in a mind-blowing 86 seconds thanks to a hi-tech production line7.

In the automobile sub-sector, not only will you find optical components within vehicles themselves, but you’ll also find them integrated within the machines that are used to build them. Welding and painting robots and CNC machines are just a few devices used on the assembly line for car manufacturing.

What optical components are used within the car manufacturing industry?

The Aerospace Sector 

COVID-19 has marked a tremendous downfall in the commercial aviation realm. With around 25 million aviation jobs at risk8 and domestic air traffic down by 70% worldwide9, manufacturing in this segment of the market is currently in decline as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, as lockdown lifts and more travel restrictions are marginally relaxed, we will ultimately observe an increase in manufacturing for domestic and commercial aviation purposes once again. As always, here at Knight Optical, we will be poised ready to take optical enquiries for these engineers when the awaited occasion arrives.

That said, manufacturers of military aircraft are still announcing innovations that strive to transform traditional manufacturing and industrial practices as part of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). For example, BAE Systems has recently announced a digitally connected, intelligent factory for the future of military aircraft production10. And, it’s also been reported that Japan is aiming to start production of a new fighter aircraft in 203111. With this sub-sector of aerospace manufacturing in full bloom across the world, we’re eager to see what the future holds for military aircraft manufacturing. And, as a long-term partner to numerous manufacturers within this division – as well as being members of the ADS – we are well-versed in assisting with high-specification, NDA-secured projects.

What optical components are used in the aerospace manufacturing industry?

 The Defence Sector 

Much like the military aircraft sector, innovations are continually being publicised within the defence sector. Such changes include Raytheon’s recent announcement to upgrade existing its Tactical Tomahawk cruise missile Guidance Test Set for the Navy12. And, it’s also been reported that thermal imaging (which is regularly used by the military) market shipments are expected to surpass 7.5 million units by the year 202613. With such increases and upgrades, Knight Optical is ready to support the sector with on-spec, metrology-tested
optical components. As well as offering custom-made optics for the defence industry, we also work to MIL-SPEC standards, so you can rest assured that our optics will meet military criteria.

What optical components are used in the defence/military manufacturing industry?

Here at Knight Optical, we work with an array of manufacturers and engineers on high-spec technological innovations across a variety of sub-sectors. Not only do we assist with optical specifications for the automobile, aerospace and defence industries, but we also provide premium-quality optical components to other divisions. From manufacturers of marine equipment and oil & gas systems to luxury jewellery makers and top-of-the-range camera producers, Knight Optical has the knowledge and equipment to meet a wide-ranging list of requirements.

Why Choose Knight Optical? 

Here at Knight Optical, we have been supplying a range of optical components for manufacturers and engineers across the globe. Discerning customers working on such projects rely on Knight Optical for several reasons. It’s not only for the premium quality of our output and in-house state-of-the-art Metrology Laboratory and QA Department’s capabilities that draws customers back. It’s also because, as well as a range of stock optics (available for next-day dispatch), we also offer a sought-after made-to-measure service. When customers opt for custom-made optical components from Knight Optical, not only do they receive fit-for-purpose, project-specific optics, but they can also choose the optical coatings that will enhance their end device.

If you’re looking for premium-quality, bespoke optical components for your application, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Technical Sales Team today.