Cluster Computing for Optical Design

Product Announcement from Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies

Cluster Computing for Optical Design-Image

This is the second in a four-part series on "design for manufacturing and assembly" or DFMA for short - an innovative way to bring prototypes, or even cocktail-napkin concepts, into profitable production.

By linking computers together in parallel, cluster computing unleashes an enormous simulation capability. As a result, it can optimize your design, manufacturing, and assembly process for optical components - before any mould is cast or any lens is ground. Custom cluster computing solutions at Raytheon ELCAN puts traditional optical design on steroids.

In Raytheon ELCAN'S unique version of cluster computing for optical design, its developers are using MATLABĀ®, a programming language for high level technical computing, coupled with CODE VĀ® optical design software. Together they can harness the power of more than 100 computers for optical design processes such as tolerancing and optimization.

Design and production optimisation

In order to determine the ideal production process, the Raytheon ELCAN computer cluster runs a "Monte Carlo" simulation of optical design tolerances on the customer's specifications. A subsequent engineering analysis delivers the most favourable optical design for manufacturability and assembly.

"Monte Carlo simulations are traditionally slow - one "single-core" computer can run approximately 200 simulations per hour," explains Wolf Glage, Vice President of Engineering for Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies. "Raytheon ELCAN's "multi-core" computer cluster can run approximately 10,000 trials in this same timeframe. These results provide higher statistical significance, with results at least an order of magnitude more accurate."

The net result - your cocktail napkin concept gets to market on time and on budget.

"Cluster computing adds another dimension to the design process at Raytheon ELCAN," says company scientist Catherine Greenhalgh who is engineering Raytheon ELCAN's unique cluster computing solution. "For example, many medical devices require some type of post processing of the images. With cluster computing both the optical design and the image processing can be optimized simultaneously, achieving an even better overall design."

This option of simultaneous optimization of software and hardware can also lead to a more cost-effective device. It may point to an alternate set of materials that meets the customer specifications, but reduces overall cost of the finished device. Simultaneous optimization may also reveal tolerances in the optics that can be relaxed because the effects can be compensated for through image processing.

Experise pays off

An equally important factor in the equation is the depth of experience of the Raytheon ELCAN Optical Design Team. "Without the requisite experience and design expertise, it's a bit like giving a Stradivarius violin to a novice," says David Dalrymple, the Manager of Global Marketing and Business Development for Raytheon ELCAN. "The beginner may be able to play the notes, but not with the level of excellence of the concertmaster. Raytheon ELCAN's Optical Design Team members are masters. They also know how to combine design with end-to-end manufacturing for the best customer solution."

"This depth of design experience is especially important for medical device design," adds Dalrymple. "There are usually three things medical device manufacturers must contend with: speed to market, tight tolerances and the unknown parameters any innovative or new device faces. Cluster computing can help with all three."

Medical device developers, from those seeking robustness for point of care devices to those who need high resolution for new microscope applications, can benefit from cluster computing approach for optimization and tolerancing for design for manufacturability and assembly - founded on Optics by ELCAN.

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