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The Power of Strategic Optical Component Alliances for Aerospace Businesses

21st Apr 2024

In today’s dynamic space domain, the quest for achievement hinges importantly upon opting for the right production line. In a world marked by relentless evolution and unforgiving competition, the strength and stability of each and every link in the supply chain can determine the very fate of assignments and, ultimately, the survival of firms. Considering the high stakes involved, electing an optical component provider entails meticulous attention to detail. In this blog, we list our considerations to assist you in navigating your decision.

a satellite in space hovering over planet Earth

With over 30 years of know-how in supplying optical solutions to aerospace organisations worldwide, we recognise that an effective partnership is built on following the SPECTRUM

  • S – Standards
  • P – Pulse
  • E – Expertise
  • C – Customisation
  • T – Touchpoint
  • R – Reliability
  • U – Unification 
  • M – Metrology.


Knight Optical ISO CertificationsWhether they’re external or internal, a business’ standards speak volumes about its goods and the degree of service it offers, impacting the end product you receive. As you look for a vendor, certifications such as ISO are crucial indicators of a pledge to excellence.

Among these, ISO 14001 for Environmental Management and ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems are widely recognised guidelines to be mindful of. Individually, ISO 14001 confirms an adherence to environmentally sustainable practices, mitigating the ecological footprint of procedures, while ISO 9001 covers the maintenance of consistent quality management systems, leading to the delivery of premium optics you can rely on.

Certain global providers like us also work to MIL standards, which can help aerospace enterprises to fulfil the demanding dependability, endurance, and functionality criteria of military contracts.


A provider who remains abreast of breakthroughs across the industries it serves is a powerful indicator of a brand that values progress and stays current with advancements.

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When scouting for a partnership, don’t overlook the importance of examining the news pages of a prospective candidate’s website and presence on social media platforms. Then, you can gain an insight into their identity, level of trade activity, and typical engagement with niche domains.

Be on the lookout for any participation and attendance in expos, exhibitions summits and seminars, especially aerospace-related shows, which, again, demonstrates a commitment to particular fields. Plus, consider exploring blogs, technical articles and white papers for greater enlightenment of the schemes they specialise in, and take note of any affiliations with relevant industry associations.


It may seem straightforward, but reaching out to a member of the team and enquiring about the business’ familiarity and skill in your sector can be a valuable first step. This direct exchange can not only initiate the official process of determining specifications but can also reveal more perspectives than you initially anticipated.

While many suppliers are bound by firm non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), some may provide views into the markets they’re engaged in on their websites. With approval, a few may even showcase mini case studies, exhibiting the calibre of their portfolio.


Given the extreme conditions in which aerospace systems operate and exact weight and constraints, off-the-shelf components may not always be suitable for integration. Furthermore, these setups regularly require optics with specialised functions, ranging from remote sensing and imaging to communication and navigation.

Here, custom-made optics truly rise to prominence, presenting engineers, designers, and procurement specialists with the flexibility needed to meet the specific demands of applications. For instance, we can tailor our components to precise needs, including thicknesses, dimensions, substrates, tolerances, and coatings. This bespoke offering guarantees optimal potential for spaceborne devices, addressing the unique challenges usually associated with the environment.


As with anything in life, communication is vital, and this is undeniably true when selecting an optics partner. Crystal-clear interaction makes sure that every party shares a joint understanding of goals, deadlines, deliverables, and precision metrics, which fosters a smooth-sailing supply chain and leads to on-time, on-budget completions.

Having one dedicated person to understand the intricacies of a programme assures a complete comprehension of the specifics required and avoids any mistakes or repetition.

To illustrate, at Knight Optical, we assign you one account manager as a central point of contact, facilitating streamlined correspondence and accountability throughout a project’s lifecycle. By maintaining continuity and coherence, this individual enhances efficiency, minimises errors, and facilitates seamless progression from inception all the way through to completion.


Integrity reigns supreme for peak results, longevity, and, crucially, the safety of aerospace systems. Those with a known track record of quality, durability, testing, documentation, and support are well matched to meeting stringent requirements.

In addition to all the benchmarks we’ve mentioned above – remaining informed of cutting-edge developments, skills, experience, and customer assistance – there are other giveaways that can display awareness of an organisation’s trustworthiness. One simple method is to review testimonials to help gauge performance and often present extra insights into professionals who have chosen to team up with the company.


This guides us nicely to our next point: unification, where individuals come together to work towards a common goal – project success.

By collaborating closely with aerospace companies’ design and engineering departments to develop customised optical components, we’ve experienced first-hand the benefits of knowledge-sharing and problem-solving, taking a collaborative approach, which has not only resulted in successful projects but has also forged long-term partnerships in the field. By unifying efforts to build strong relationships, both parties can foster mutual accomplishments, drive innovation, and achieve growth – a win-win for both the optical and aerospace communities.


Knight Optical's Metrology LaboratorySuppliers with in-house metrology capabilities offer significant advantages. On-premises facilities, such as our state-of-the-art, fully equipped Metrology Laboratory, contribute to faster turnarounds, reducing lead times and accelerating timelines. Additionally, these amenities facilitate risk mitigation by enabling us to proactively identify and address possible issues or deviations before orders are dispatched.

Moreover, internal labs like ours enhance confidentiality and security for aerospace manufacturers’ sensitive data. Keeping metrology operations within one location further ensures the protection of information, maintains strict NDAs, and streamlines exchanges and collaboration between metrology experts, engineers, and production teams, fostering enhanced productivity and synergy throughout the entire process.

So, in conclusion, when choosing an optical component supplier, always keep in mind the SPECTRUM. By doing so, you can rest assured that you’re partnering with a reliable company that prioritises quality and delivers the products to match – on time and on spec.