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Diamond Machining at LBP Optics

In August 2019, after many years of close collaboration, LBP Optics Ltd bought Stevenage-based diamond machining company Symons Mirror Technology (SMT).

The acquisition brings to the business a second manufacturing site in the UK, plus over 70 years of combined diamond machining expertise. This means that in addition to the existing range of optical and scientific mirrors, LBP Optics can now produce both conventional and technically advanced shapes with extreme precision including cylindrical, spherical, ellipsoidal and toroidal, polygons, pyramids, aspheric, infrared domes, lenses and mirrors.

With so many years of experience our diamond machining team have unrivalled technical expertise in producing very difficult and demanding specifications. We can diamond machine many materials including plastics, 3D generated and RSA material.

"The customer is really pleased with the first one…Thanks to everyone involved for the hard work in getting these right, I can see that they are not the easiest thing in the world to make."
GW, UK engineering company

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Quality Control

LBP Optics is committed to maintaining its position as one of the UK’s leading diamond machining manufacturers. Quality and accuracy are inherent in everything that we do.

LBP Optics is an ISO 9001:2015 accredited business and the company aims to meet the exacting quality requirements of the blue chip optical and high precision industries to which it is a major supplier.

Our goal is to fully understand customer’s needs, supply suitable quality products and to be pro-active in terms of introducing improved optical technology. The advanced manufacturing processes and stringent quality control systems that are in place are regularly reviewed to make sure that highly exacting optical and mechanical accuracy is achieved.

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We work closely with customers at the concept stage of a component’s design to ensure that the material specified is compatible with our diamond machining tools and techniques. We need to ensure that the material structure has sufficient mechanical strength and thickness to achieve the form accuracy and surface finish required for optical quality components.

Materials that we regularly diamond machine include:

  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Electroless Nickel
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Germanium
  • Zinc Sulfide
  • Zinc Selenide
  • Acrylic
  • Plastics

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Enhanced Optical Coatings

Many of the parts that we produce require specialist protective and enhanced reflectivity optical coatings. As well as our own in-house hard gold coating capability, we have close working relationships with LBP have been in a position to utilise the very best coating houses in the world. We for many years and have been involved in the development of ultra hard coatings that produce enhanced optical performances for many industries from medical to military and more.

Coatings available include:

  • Protected vacuum deposited – Silicon Oxide, Carbon etc.
  • Enhanced reflectivity vacuum deposited – Gold, Silver, Siliflex, Aluminium etc.
  • Plating – Electroless Nickel, Gold

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Concept, Design & Manufacture

The concept and design stage of a component are extremely important. We work very closely with customers’ optical designers at the concept stage. From your concept we give guidance on ways to minimise alignment, securing techniques, and other ways to reduce optic distortion.

Each optic or component that we manufacture is considered individually. Detailed specifications are calculated on a job by job basis, taking in to account various factors including stiffness of structure, material, size and substrate geometry.

Typical specifications achieved are set out below:

Surface roughness

50Å Ra. (0.005 microns)

Surface accuracy

λ/4 at 633 nm over Ø100mm

Angle accuracy

2 seconds of arc


0.1 microns

We regularly manufacture components for many applications including:

  • Military
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Space & Airborne Optics
  • Scanning Systems
  • Thermal Imaging Systems
  • Laser Systems
  • Infrared Missile systems
  • High Precision Mechanical components
  • Optical Components
  • Scientific Research Laboratories
  • Moulds for Plastic Components and Replica Optics

With our state-of-the-art 3D optical profilometer we can measure surface roughness from sub-nanometer to millimetre scale – something that is essential for some of our customers where surface finish is vitally important. Reports are easily generated and can be supplied upon request.

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