Have you ever thought about using optical lenses for your product and thought, “There are so many different types and prices to choose from. Which one should I choose?” Just as there are ready-made and order-made suits, there are catalog and custom lenses. In this column, we will introduce the characteristics of these two types of lenses and explain the key points to consider when choosing the lens that best suits your needs.
1. Types of Lenses
Refers to ready-made lenses sold on websites or in catalogs.
・Can be easily found and quickly purchased from catalogs and other sources
・Can be purchased in low quantities
・Wide lineup, ideal if you want to try out lenses with various specifications
・No initial investment needed for molds, jigs, evaluation machines, etc.
・There are cases where there is no match to the required specifications that you really want
・Even with higher purchase volumes, cost benefits are small
・It is hard to distinguish the product from others because anyone can purchase the product
・Specifications cannot be altered
An order-made lens that is made based on the buyer’s specific optical performance and
・It can be order-made
・Can meet the required specifications you want
・Specifications can be changed during the production process
(Though, it might cost additional fee during development phase)
・It is easy to generate cost benefits per unit when the purchase volume is high
・Even if you don’t have specific specifications, suppliers can work with you from
the product concept building stage
・It takes time
・There are initial costs for molds, jigs, evaluation machines, etc
・You have to provide a requirements specification
・Without optical knowledge, it is hard to know what to pay attention to and
what are the key points to manufacture a lens
〇Summary of Catalog / Custom Lens Comparison
Knowing “what kind of lens you want, when do you want it, and how many do you want” is essential in selecting lenses. Therefore, one of the key points in avoiding problems in lens selection is to follow the above explanation.
2. Case Studies
This is a case in which TOYOTEC made a proposal to a customer who had purchased a catalog lens.The customer wanted to lower the unit purchase price, and asked TOYOTEC if the unit price could be lowered with a custom lens.
・Quantity：50 pcs / Month
・Product Life：10 Years（120 Months）
・Requirements：A lens unit using glass lenses, design / spec must be same as the current catalog lens
Figure 1: Comparison of Catalog and Custom Proposals
The unit price of custom lenses was higher than the unit price of catalog lenses, and there was no benefit to the customer.
As described in “1. Types of Lenses,” custom lens production requires initial costs for molds, lens jigs and tools, etc. In addition, if the quantity is small, it is difficult to reduce the unit cost of parts from that of a catalog lens. Under the customer’s requirements, there is no benefit in making custom lenses.
Figure 2: Cost Comparison of Catalog / Custom Lenses
However, as shown in Figure 2, the part cost decreases as the quantity of custom lenses increases, so when requesting custom lenses with a focus on cost, it is recommended that multiple quantity requirements be presented.
This is a case in which TOYOTEC made a proposal to a customer who had purchased a catalog lens as well as Case 1. This customer had requests to reduce product size while maintaining unit price and optical performance, and asked TOYOTEC if this was possible.
・Quantity：1,000 pcs / Month
・Product Life：5 Years（60 Months）
・Requirements：Production of a full lens unit. If optical performance can be maintained,
the design can be freely chosen by the supplier.
Figure 3: Lens Miniaturization Image
TOYOTEC analyzed the current product and redesigned the lens. As a result, we were able todownsize the lens while maintaining the same unit price and optical performance, thus achieving the customer’s needs.
Unlike Case 1, there are two reasons for the positive results. One is because the quantity requirements were relatively large,and the other is because we were able to work with the customer from the development stage.