Polishing operations are crucial to the quality of parts since this is the point at which subsurface damage is removed whilst surface roughness and contour accuracy are enhanced. Preparatory and finish polishing operations for optical applications conducted on a range of materials are subject to a number of interdependent influencing factors such as the age of the polishing slurry or the wear of the polishing pad.
Polishing processes to suit all geometries and requirements
The material and surface quality required are the decisive factors when selecting the most suitable polishing system and process. These differ in terms of material removal mechanism which may be mechanical, mechanochemical, or chemomechanical. Depending on the geometries to be polished, a further distinction can be drawn between surface and zonal polishing.
At the Fraunhofer IPT, we are developing individual polishing steps tailored to the specifications relating to the outcome of the process. This makes the production of optical components more efficient and facilitates consistent outcomes. Our materialography and metrology laboratories, equipped with cutting-edge technologies, support the departments in their research and development projects in various ways, including high-precision measurement facilities.
Tool system for automated polishing processes
In collaboration with Son-x GmbH, a company spin-off from the institute, we at the Fraunhofer IPT have developed a smart tool system for automating manual polishing processes. Compliant tool holders permit the polishing of even technologically demanding freeform parts such as turbine blades or geometrically complex molds and forming tools.
Our services at a glance
- Qualifying and benchmarking polishing system components
- Evaluating and selecting suitable polishing systems scientifically
- Analyzing and optimizing polishing processes scientifically
- Developing tool modules and providing polishing strategies for robot and machine-tool integrated finishing operations
- Analyzing polishing defects