Key factors to look for in an optical components supplier: Part 1

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Lab technician showing customer precision cut optical material

Most buyers looking for optical services or an optical components supplier will have their own criteria for what they require.

Reliability, quality and precision, as well as competitive pricing, will always be among the most important factors they look for. However, other important factors will come into play when considering the industry sector, application, properties and service of the end-product.

This article is the first of two covering a range of factors that buyers of optical components should look for in an optics company.

Comprehensive Product Range

Using an optical company that offers a wide range of products will reap dividends in numerous ways.

Optical product range should include optical mirrors, optical prisms, optical windows, technical glasses, optical filters, optical lenses, laboratory quality slides and plate products.

What does this mean?

  1. First, they’ll be able to meet virtually all your requirements from stock or to procure what you need;
  2. Second, they’re likely to have a broad expertise and knowledge to match the product range. So can better assist you in selecting the right materials and products.

Range of High-quality Materials

A broad product range should also be matched by a wide choice of optical materials. Different materials offer different properties and characteristics. So whatever your requirements for OEM optics or other optical components, you’ll be able to source the product you required in an appropriate optical material.

The more materials your optics company offers and can work with, the greater the fit in matching your requirements.

Typical materials on offer from an optics company should at minimum range from different optical glasses, to quartz, germanium, sapphire, calcium fluoride and fused silica.

By combining a wide range of materials with treatments and coatings designed to work on all parts of the UV, Visible and IR spectrum. Your optical components supplier should be able to meet complex and multi-faceted demands.          

A Solid History and Track Record

An optical company that has been around for years and has a history of successful business is likely to have technicians or engineers, as well as managers who’ve experienced all manner of requirements.

With that comes a probable track record of delivering quality optical products to its clients.  

This means they will be able to offer a consultative approach in sales and should be able to help in addressing problems.

Knowledgeable People

These days most customers like to know who the people are behind the business that they buy from.

It adds confidence and trust to the experience, especially when buying online, if key members of the team can be found on the website and what roles they fulfil.

In turn, it helps buyers to develop a sense of trust. For example, by identifying who you’re going to be dealing with and who will be processing your order. Customers might feel more confident in placing that first order.   

During your enquiry process, you should be able to assess how open the channels of communication are going to be. Then how the company will handle your requirements, questions and – potentially – complaints.    

Engineering Services Expertise

When reviewing a potential supplier of optical components, check out the wider set of engineering services they have. If you’re going to need custom optics or special finishing such as dicing, polishing, grinding or lapping it’s worth reviewing this.

Ask exactly what kind of engineering services and methods the optical components company can offer. As with the range of materials and products, it is worth bearing in mind that a broader engineering services skill set indicates a depth of expertise and knowledge.

Industry Sectors Worked With

No matter what sector your own business operates in, the wider the range of industries an optical product company has experience of working in. The more likely it is that they will have the skillset and experience you’re looking for.

Each industry brings its own set of challenges and specific demands, but it also represents a learning opportunity for experts who are always keen to discover more about techniques, materials, properties and characteristics of optical components

The unique demands of working across multiple sectors can only enhance an optical company’s team’s depth of knowledge and expertise.

Quality Control and ISO Certification

The quickest way of establishing whether a baseline of quality control exists in the optical company you choose is to look for an official accreditation.

Quality certifications such as ISO 9001:2015 are evidence that management systems and quality processes such as internal audits and regular management reviews are in place – all of which will positively impact on the quality of the end product.

Optical manufacturing is about precision, so in addition to quality certifications, your chosen optics company should be able to offer testing and calibration services using specialised equipment. For instance, a spectrophotometer to test filters for transmission, or an interferometer to check optical windows for flatness.

About UQG Optics

UQG Optics has been providing optical components and solutions for over 65 years, and now supplies to clients around the world in over 50 countries.

We hold an extensive range of optical components in stock for fast delivery, as well as offering custom optics from our manufacturing facility in Cambridge. For larger volumes, we source from trusted and certified suppliers around the world, with all testing done in our own in-house facility.

Our product range includes optical mirrors, optical prisms, optical windows, technical glasses, optical filters, optical lenses, laboratory quality slides and plate products.

The optical materials offered by UQG Optics range from a range of general sheet glasses to high precision coated sheet optical filters.

Our glass raw materials, machined blanks, polished sheet glasses and coated sheets are sourced from leading manufacturers such as Schott, Heraeus and Corning, and we hold full batch identification of every glass stocked so we can supply full traceability on your finished component.

Next Steps

To find out more about Optical Components from UQG Optics, or any of our other optics call us on 01223 420329 or email our sales team at