Dr Tony Miller of CSIRO Mathematical and Information Sciences won the 2000 Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award for this work.
Mathematical modelling for optical lens design
Lens design software developed by CSIRO has allowed leading spectacle lens company SOLA to improve their progressive lenses. They now give clearer, more comfortable vision to millions of people.
9 June 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Moving into new markets and rapidly creating unique new products is a key part of growing any business, but product designers are often constrained by the design tools at their disposal.
For SOLA International, a leading manufacturer of spectacle lenses, creating innovative new products and refining existing product designs came hand-in-hand with new design tools developed with CSIRO.
The new tools mean that SOLA can continually work towards optimising lens design and performance, reducing the product design cycle time. They have also allowed SOLA to create more complex and sophisticated products for their discerning market.
What CSIRO did
CSIRO and SOLA have collaborated for over 14 years to develop the tools. As a result, SOLA has been able to market a stream of innovative new lens products. SOLA has used the tools to develop and refine progressive lens designs as well as create unique new products such as wrap-around prescription sunglasses. At the same time, SOLA’s market share has grown to nearly a quarter of the world lens market.
‘CSIRO’s design tools allow us to quickly manipulate and optimise the surface of the lens to create a product that performs the way we, and our customers, want,’ said Mr Dugald Rose, Research Manager, Lens Design, SOLA International.
How we addressed the issues
The design tools rely on mathematical models of the lens surface. CSIRO’s mathematicians used a novel mathematical approach to describing and analysing the lens surface. The software provides a systematic approach to finding the best possible lens surface to meet the product specifications.
Advanced mathematical modelling is an extremely useful tool for speeding up product design and reducing development costs.
Advanced mathematical modelling of this type is a useful tool for speeding up product design and reducing development costs. Modelling can point the way towards optimising a product’s performance.
It also minimises costly and time consuming experimentation, removing the 'trial and error' aspect of the design process.
Designers may have a concept of what they want a product to do, but not know exactly how to create it. For SOLA, CSIRO’s mathematical tools have meant they can find the best lens surface to make their design ideas a reality.
‘The ability of SOLA to remain at the forefront of this highly competitive industry is dependent on delivering innovative new products to the marketplace. This relies on our strong tradition in lens design and development. A crucial part of growing this strength has been CSIRO’s work in collaboration with SOLA,’ said Mr Rose.
Learn more about the work carried out by CSIRO Mathematical & Information Sciences.