Fast Tool Servo Offers Unprecedented Speed and Precision in Optics Manufacturing

June 13, 2023
irfan ullah

In the world of diamond turning, a rapidly growing area of interest is the Fast Tool Servo (FTS). An often misunderstood component, the FTS is an essential accessory that helps enable precision machining, especially in the creation of non-rotationally symmetric freeform surfaces.

By nature, freeform surfaces demand that the diamond tool follow their contours closely as the part rotates during machining. This process can be accomplished in two distinct ways: traditional XZC machining or with the use of an FTS.

With traditional XZC machining, the entire Z-axis is moved to trace the part’s surface. The second, arguably more sophisticated approach, employs the Fast Tool Servo.

The FTS is a lightweight tool holder driven by a voice coil motor. It can move the tool across the part with a continuous acceleration of 20g and a peak acceleration of 40g, covering a range of five millimeters. This capability enables the tool to move across the part at a velocity ten to fifteen times faster than traditional methods, inherently reducing the machining cycle time by a comparable factor.

This increase in speed offers numerous advantages. Firstly, it minimizes slow errors, or errors that arise due to low-frequency components of a system’s motion. Secondly, the FTS reduces susceptibility to changes in ambient temperature, a common issue in precision machining. Finally, it helps to reduce waviness in the final part, a critical consideration when fabricating high-precision components.

As the industry continues to push the boundaries of precision and speed, the role of the Fast Tool Servo is set to become increasingly prominent. It stands as a testament to the innovative nature of diamond turning technology, reinforcing its position at the forefront of optics manufacturing. For those with any questions or interest in the capabilities of the FTS, knowledgeable resources are available to provide further insights.

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