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Product brochure


Sub-cell turning to accomplish micron-level alignment of precision assemblies


High-Precision Mounted Lens Production
Directional adhesive bonding versus alignment turning

High Precision Lens Assembly with Alignment Turning Machines
On Machine Metrology for the Alignment Turning Process

Application Report

Cost-efficient Production of Customized Precision Objective Lenses

User Report ATS 200

Success story

A quality leap in precision manufacturing at WILD

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Alignment Turning Stations for the High-Precision Machining of Mounted Lenses

ATS – Alignment Turning Station

High-precision centering, alignment and machining of mounted lenses and lens groups

During alignment turning, the mount edge and the flange surfaces of mounted spherical, aspherical and cylindrical lenses are produced so that the axis of symmetry of the mount coincides with the optical axis of the lens. UV or IR lenses can also be processed with high precision. The ATS alignment turning machine combines the proven OptiCentric® centration measurement system with an ultra-precise turning machine. This makes it possible to adjust and control all relevant parameters while processing the mount, such as diameter of the mount or the distance of the lens from the contact surfaces of the mount. The high-precision measurement of decentering and the extremely accurate processing of the mount prevent cumbersome, iterative adjustment steps in the overall optical system. The intuitive operation results in operator-independent results during measurement and processing.


Product Overview

ATS 100

The compact alignment turning station

ATS 100

ATS 100 is optimized for the processing of lens systems with a diameter of up to 100 mm and a weight of up to 3 kg.

  • Automated alignment chuck

  • Reproducible manufacturing with a repeatability of better than 2.5 µm
  • Easy to clean via integrated chip extraction
  • Suitable for cycle time optimized processing of large batch sizes

ATS 200

The high-precision alignment turning station

ATS 200 Die hochpräzise Justierdrehmaschine

ATS 200 is designed for processing small and medium-sized lenses in medium batch production.

  • Optional with hydrostatic spindle

  • Automated adjusting chuck

  • Great stiffness and thermal stability due to optimized granite base

  • Reproducible manufacturing with a repeat accuracy of better than 1.0 µm

The ATS 200 UP is a variant of the ATS 200 with an identical basic structure. What sets it apart is the
use of an extremely stable spindle with hydrostatic bearing supports. This increases its rigidity even
more and offers excellent damping, ensuring that very high accuracy requirements of better than 0.5 microns can be achieved.

ATS 300 UP

Flexibility in the lens diameter

ATS 300 UP

Mounted lenses up to a diameter of 300 mm are machined with high precision by the ATS 300 UP.

  • Hydrostatic spindle

  • Excellent damping ensuring very high accuracy requirements of up to 0.5 µm

  • Comprehensive accessories


CNC alignment turning for short cycle times


Built in a horizontal setup, ATS-C offers full CNC capabilities that allow for a swift integration of the machine to existing production processes.

  • Optimized cycle times for small, mounted lenses

  • Processing of free-form cell designs

  • Intuitive machine operation enables quick and easy realization from design to workpiece

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Mounted lenses

With their universal design and versatile metrology options, the alignment turning stations ATS can process all mounted lenses and lens assemblies, including those with infrared and aspherical lenses or with mounted cells that cannot be glued. The choice always falls on the ATS when it comes to increasing efficiency. Here the system has not only excelled in mass production but also in the manufacture of customized lenses.

Laser diodes

Just like the alignment of passive elements such as mounted lenses, the ATS also allows the alignment of laser diodes. Here, too, alignment turning eliminates the need for active alignment of the laser during assembly. For these active samples, the generated laser beam serves as the centration axis. While the correction of the inclination is already possible in the sytem’s standard configuration, a second optical measuring arm must be installed for the additional correction of the displacement. The processing is carried out in the same way as for the passive elements.

Success Story

ATS increases the precision of lenses to a maximum at Sill

Sill Optics successfully implemented the TRIOPTICS Alignment Turning Station into their production process. Martin Kolb, Project Manager Laser Optics, explains the benefit: “When attempting to accurately align the mechanical and optical axes, conventional methods can result in deviations of a few angular minutes. These tilt errors would cause unacceptable inaccuracies in our high-precision multiple lens systems. Thanks to TRIOPTICS’ ATS, we can reduce the tolerances of residual tilt errors to a few arc seconds. Adjustment turning increases the precision of our lenses to a maximum. We therefore use the ATS regularly for our high-precision lenses.”

A quality leap in precision manufacturing at WILD

WILD recently added a new alignment turning station – ATS 200 UP – to its machine park. The machine is a pivotal element for utmost precision and efficiency in the manufacturing of complex optics.

”In future, alignment turning in the quality we can now offer will open the door to new designs with very small air gaps.“

Stefan Werkl, Head of the Optical Technology Division at WILD


ATS Control

One software for all measurement and production processes

The ATS Control combines operation of the machine functions with the routines for measurement of centering error and alignment. The user is guided step by step, both in setting up sample geometry and carrying out the processing procedure. The software continually monitors the results of the production process.

Technical Data

ParameterATS 100ATS 200ATS 200 UPATS 300 UP
Machine typeMineral casting baseGranite frameGranite frameGranite frame
Workpiece diameterUp to 100 mmUp to 200 mmUp to 200 mmUp to 300 mm
Max. workpiece weight3 kg5 kg5 kg15 kg
Workpiece materialbrass, aluminium, NiP-Steelbrass, aluminium, NiP-Steelbrass, aluminium, NiP-Steel, invar, titan, steelbrass, aluminium, NiP-Steel, invar, titan, steel
Production accuracyUp to < 2.5 µmUp tp < 1.0 µmUp to < 0.5 µmUp to < 0.5 µm
(h x w x d)
ca. 2.0 m x 1.0 m x 1.0 mca. 2.20 m 1.55 m x 1.10 mca. 2.20 m 1.55 m x 1.10 m + 1.65 m x 0.87 m x 0.65 m ca. 2.20 m 1.85 m x 1.10 m + 1.65 m x 0.87 m x 0.65 m
Weightapprox. 1,400 kgapprox. 2,500 kgapprox. 3,000 kg
TypeStand aloneStand aloneStand aloneStand alone
Traversing speed UP axes> 15 m/min
Spindle speed2500 min-1
Process speed for alignment
≥1200 min-1
Workpiece diameterMax. 200 mm
Workpiece lengthMax. 150 mm
Workpiece weightMax. 2.5 kg
Manufacturing accuracy
alignment turning
Roundness ≤ 1 μm
Flatness ≤ 1 μm
Programming resolution1 nm

Upgrades & Accessories

  • Aerostatic spindle
  • Hydrostatic spindle
  • Tactile sensor
  • Optical sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Workpiece temperature sensor
  • Sensor for aspheres
  • Second autocollimator
  • Quadruple tool changer
  • Head lens changer
  • Minimum lubrication
  • Chip extraction
  • 2D code reader
  • Increases in efficiency by adding a robot to the ATS for automatic loading and unloading

Knowledge Base

Measurement and alignment turning of optical assemblies

Alignment turning is the only method by which all relevant parameters of a mounted lens can be aligned, in particular the gap between two apex points and the contact surface. In addition, a large number of different cell sizes can be processed. And finally, high precision turning machines achieve excellent production accuracies of up to 0.5 µm.

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Alignment turning with alignment chuck

The alignment turning method using an alignment chuck is described in the figures below (Fig. 3). Here, first the lens cell is fixed in an adjustable alignment chuck with the lens in place. Then the position of the optical axis of the lens to the spindle axis is measured with the OptiCentric® system. Using this alignment chuck, the lens is then aligned so that its two centers of curvature are located as closely as possible to the axis of rotation of the spindle.

Then the spindle is rotated and the contact surfaces of the cell are machined with a sharp (diamond) turning tool, resulting in a precisely machined surface of the cell, aligned parallel to the spindle axis. In addition to the outer surface of the cell, it is also possible to machine the front and rear contact surface during the turning process. To do this the turning tool is moved perpendicular to the spindle axis instead of along the optical axis.


Fig.1: The optical axes do not coincide with the axis of the barrel; lens distances are not correct


Fig.2: The optical axes and the axes of the barrel coincide, lens distances are correct


Fig. 3: The alignment turning process A) optical axis of the lens is determined, B) & C) cell is aligned to the optical axis of the lens, the edge of the cell is machined so that it is parallel to the optical axis

CNC alignment turning

Alignment turning on the ATS-C is implemented without an alignment chuck. The mounted lens is held on the horizontally mounted spindle and the optical axis is measured with OptiCentric® measuring technology. To adjust the mounting surfaces to the optical axis, the turning tool moves in x- and z-direction.

CNC alignment turning

Variable preconditions and options

The lens is already fixed in the cell during the alignment turning process. This means that low-stress adhesives with very long curing times can be used for highly precise optics. Similarly, the lenses can be crimped or held by screw rings when the available adhesives are not suitable for the intended application. Since the lens has been aligned at the beginning of the process, the optical axis of the lens and the mechanical axis of the cell are precisely aligned when the cell is machined on a turning machine corresponding to the optical axis of the lens. In order to achieve high accuracy TRIOPTICS has integrated additional measurement technology into its alignment turning stations, alongside the high-resolution autocollimators. These include tactile and optical test systems that ensure a highly accurate measurement of the relevant mechanical parameters. This means the highest precision is achieved by a gradual machining process, in which the cell accuracy is checked after each machining step. The cells used in alignment turning do not need to meet exceptionally tight tolerances before machining. The cell offset only needs to be large enough to meet the required tolerance after machining.

The distance from the lens vertex to the upper contact surface can be manufactured with an accuracy of up to ±0.5 μm. Similarly, the diameter can be manufactured with an absolute accuracy of ±2 μm. The remaining centration error can be reduced to less than 0.5 μm by using a suitable alignment chuck. Moreover, a low coherent interferometer can be used to measure the center thickness on the machine, so that the contact surfaces can be manufactured with high precision with respect to each lens vertex. Multiple mounted lenses manufactured by alignment turning are then assembled to an objective lens. The method of machining in the micron range ensures that all lenses are aligned to each other. This allows mounted lenses to be assembled in a tube without further adjustment steps

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