The term optical coating is defined as set of single or multiple thin sheets of material that is dropped on an optical component like lens or mirrors. This changes the way with optics and reflects to transfer light. These are typically antireflection coatings that further reduce unwanted reflections. Optical coatings are used in various industries like Medical, consumer electronics, Military and Defense, Solar, Automotive and architecture. This document studies how North American Coating Laboratories (NACL), helped the American defense army by providing them head-mounted remote eyepiece display units. These are strong, soft and prone meet all the high standards set by the military.<
The term optical coating is defined as set of single or multiple thin sheets of material that is dropped on an optical component like lens or mirrors. This changes the way with optics and reflects to transfer light. These are typically antireflection coatings that further reduce unwanted reflections. Optical coatings are used in various industries like Medical, consumer electronics, Military and Defense, Solar, Automotive and architecture. This document studies how North American Coating Laboratories (NACL), helped the American defense army by providing them head-mounted remote eyepiece display units. These are strong, soft and prone meet all the high standards set by the military.
National security is of outmost importance for government organizations of both developing and developed countries across the globe. The country of America is no exception to the same. The safety and success mission of the defense troops across various battlefields is one of the major concerns for all Americans. To enhance and support the defense system there are various equipment requirements that come across. At one such incident the team of NACL was asked to help and make head-mounted remote operated eyepiece display. The product needed to be rugged enough to meet the high standards of demands of military. Also at the time it needed to ensure that the material is soft and subject to severe damage in the event of delicate handlings.
North American Coating Laboratories (NACL) delivers specific optical coatings that can be used for many applications in the markets of polymer and glass optics market. The company caters to many big companies like Lockheed Martin, Corning, and Boeing and BAE system and so on. The company is experienced in dip and vacuum-applied processes for optical coatings. The company is known as a competent provider for protective, reflective, Filter, scratch-resistant, Conductive and chemically resistive coatings. All of these coatings are widely used across industries for a large type of industries.
The client was going to supply the military with remote eyepiece that would be mounted on a variety of critical mission systems like visors, electronic sights and glasses. These devices are meant to provide the troops with a remote visual display from their weapon. These would further permit the members of the team to see over the corners. This gives them unexposed and hence helping them to keep the overall mission safe and at the same time ensuring their safety and overall awareness of the mission. These remote eyepiece came with an additional benefit, i.e. ability to adjust to either a day or night vision riflescope. The flexibility offered by the optics allowed for situational awareness that helped the military personnel troops to see and understand and identify hostile assets. This further helped them to communicate through signs and update the status of assets to other team members.
The solution provided by NACL
Since the unit was required to be placed on user’s head through a pair of field glasses or a visor, the major concern was the weight of the device. Use of bulky metal and glass optics would cause fatigue in the user. This situation is worrisome and not acceptable when it comes to real-world battles and on ground operations. As a solution a lightweight polymer material was used to create the lens optics. Though this resolved the weight issue, but it created another one. The challenge being the endurance strength of plastic towards harsh environments faced by the military troops on a daily basis.
NACL met the challenge owing to its expertise of being one of the few companies across the world that offer dip and vacuum applied coating solutions across single facility. Another feature was the clear and linear supply-chain to the customers by the company. This would enable the client to get one-stop troubleshooting instead of sending to multiple locations for multiple treatments. To meet the various challenges the company used a combination of technologies to assure the durability concerns of the customers at the same time maintain the critical optical performance of the unit.
Initially the technology used was through thermally cured polysiloxane hardcoating which was a dip-applied. This hardcoating was optically matched and offered superior chemical and scratch resistance at the same time ensuring highest optical clarity. Along with the engineering staff the company worked to assure even and conformal coating, giving the optic a smooth finish. The entire unit was concealed with a polysiloxane coating that helped in survival of exposure to the extreme environmental conditions and humidity cycle. Furthermore, the equipment also helped in fighting sandstorms, and harsh cleansers that are used across the fields to eliminate contaminants from the display surface. Along with the coating, a series of vacuum deposited coatings was applied to the device to help the processing of image displayed. Thus providing the cleanest and crisp image display.
The eyepiece was required to work both in day and night light settings hence the company needed to work on the same. This required the company to optimize their coating such that it would work on multiple lighting environment. A shock-resistant aluminum coating that was used by NACL, provided better-efficiency anti-reflective coatings at the same time ensure partially trans-missive mirror covering will gave the real-world vision and at the same time reflecting various images that are critical to the on-going mission.
With the combination of dip and vacuum applied coatings the optics went through the most extensive testing sequences ever performed. Some of these tests included salt-fog exposure, military grade adhesion, thermal shock, temperature cycling, sand, wind weathering and similar other factors. Number of tests were done over a continuous cycle to ensure that the results would not defer even after the item is weathered and still meets the necessary standards.
Coating solutions by NACL’s were not only appreciated by the military, it also was successful in identifying quantity results and delivery order for approximately 40,000 units. These devices would outfit the front-line and soldiers working in special operations to further handle some critical missions. These eyepieces offered safety to our troops and was considered invaluable to the mission of success and further reduction of casualties.
For any organization, the daily work is a non-negotiable process. However, the feeling of accomplishment when able to cater to a challenge successfully is unmatched. This is what NACL was able to accomplish by providing the best of optical coating solutions to the military.