With in-situ UV curing, parts that are too delicate to move are set in place immediately and cured with a UV catalyzed epoxy to avoid drifting out of position. When there are tight tolerances as in lenses, collimators, or passive components, moving an uncured part into an oven for curing can cause part shifting or "swimming". This causes failure through an obstructed optics path, resulting in wasted money and time. With Palomar's system, the bond tool is in contact with the part during the entire process and does not release it until the adhesive has achieved a minimal "tack" cure. This ensures that the part will not swim from its original placement. The system can be used for full automation systems or batch-loaded semi-automated systems.
Palomar's In-Situ UV Component Assembly Cell avoids problems inherent with "snap cure" methods of setting such as out gassing, very small batch sizes, and short adhesive work times ("potting times"). Snap cures are two-part epoxies that can produce heat. In optoelectronics applications, heat can cause outgassing, producing fumes which can cloud a lens that needs to be optically transparent, or it can cause cracking.
Safety and convenience features are in place including UV filtering, protective panels that protect eyes from exposure to UV illumination, and safety interlock triggers on the top and sides. The UV controller touch-pad menus-access set up runs the radiometer, statistics and calibration functions. An ergonomic workstation is positioned outside the work area. The in-situ UV curing system can be retrofitted to any Palomar automated assembly cell.