At the start of a project, off the shelf optics offer shorter lead time and lower price point to get the project off the ground. Once you use the off the shelf option for testing, and as the project grows, you can pivot to custom options to tailor it to your needs

One misconception about custom optics is that they are always more expensive. At Avantier, custom optics can be cost-competitive, especially for quantities over 20.

Some disadvantages for off the shelf are that they come with fixed specifications and are really only ideal for testing and proof of concept when lead time is important. On the other hand, Custom optics offer very precise specifications and are optimized for performance. A downside is that they could entail higher costs at first and longer lead times. But as I just mentioned, the cost can drop significantly for quantities over 20 and recurring orders.

We have seen our customers achieve significant savings by using custom optics vs OTS solutions.  Because every case is different I encourage customers to consider a custom solution where the situation makes sense.

Customers should carefully assess their project needs. because custom optics offers precise specifications and optimization, it can involve higher costs and longer lead times. On the other hand, off-the-shelf optics provide shorter lead times and cost-effectiveness for small quantities but come with fixed specifications. Working with experienced optical manufacturers is crucial for making well-informed decisions for projects with intricate specifications.

How do manufacturers address cost concerns for custom optics, and what strategies do they use to make them cost-competitive?

The costs of custom optics vary with quantity. Manufacturers may impose one-time fees for design and tooling costs for small orders, which can make larger orders more cost competitive. At Avantier, we are experienced in handling intricate projects. We do offer technical consulting which covers aspects like materials selection, project input, and how to design it for manufacturing.

Custom optics requires an initial design process and manufacturing plan, which can make the lead time take a little longer. However, we do offer rapid prototyping services, which can cut down lead times. Customers can navigate this challenge by planning ahead while considering the project timeline, and explore rapid prototyping options.

We offer First Article Inspection (FAI) options, allowing customers to evaluate a sample before receiving the complete order. This ensures satisfaction with quality and instills confidence in the performance of the product they ordred.

We make a substantial investment in metrology tools such as the Zygo Verifire Interferometer. We also stand by our products 100%, we’re proud of them. We ensure a thorough inspection and can then provide inspection reports as needed. Our optical products and designs are tailored to meet customer specifications plus we back all our optical components and optics assemblies with a one-year guarantee, covering both parts and labor.