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Crafting Precision: Behind the Lens of Microscope Objective Manufacturing

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Microscope objective manufacturing

In recent years, life science and industry have made remarkable progress, and microscopes have made a tremendous contribution. Among their components, the objective lens is one of the most important elements, as its performance helps determine the overall quality of your images. A high-precision objective produces stable, high-quality images you can trust.

So how are high-precision objective lenses made? To commercialize objective lenses, it’s necessary to manufacture them—not just design them. In the manufacturing process, advanced and high-precision manufacturing technology is required to achieve the designed optical performance.

Many of our microscope objective lenses are manufactured at a factory in Nagano, Japan. Of course, some processes are done by machines, but assembly and detailed adjustments are done by hand. To develop the manufacturing technology of high-performance objective lenses, these skills have been passed down among the engineers and technicians at Evident.

In this post, we go behind the scenes at our factory to learn more about this process. Yutaka Imai, who received the Order of Merit in Japan for his microscope manufacturing skills, shares insights on the craft of making high-quality objective lenses.

Yutaka Imai

Q: What measures help ensure consistent high quality in microscope objective manufacturing?

Yutaka: In the past, the advanced manufacturing technology behind our objectives relied heavily on the judgment of highly skilled craftspeople known as takumi. The challenge has been how to reflect their skilled judgment in our standard manufacturing process so future technicians can maintain consistent quality.

In the manufacturing of our X Line™ high-performance objectives, we established a quality standard called wavefront aberration control to minimize optical variations with our own unique lens polishing technique. We also succeeded in incorporating the skills of our craftspeople into the manufacturing process by partially automating the measurement of aberration, which used to rely on their judgment. This has enabled us to produce a high and stable manufacturing quality that reflects the skills of our takumi craftspeople.

Q: Tell us more about the skills of the technicians who make microscope objective lenses.

Yutaka: Microscope objective lenses are made by stacking many layers of lenses. Even a slight deviation in one of the layers can change the appearance of the image, so fine adjustments are made by hand using special jigs. It takes at least 10 years of experience to become a full-fledged technician who can perform advanced lens adjustments. Our factory has produced a number of technicians with the esteemed title of a Contemporary Master Craftsman.

Q: How do these skilled craftspeople pass on their knowledge of microscope objective manufacturing to the next generation of technicians?

Yutaka: When I joined the company, it was harder to acquire skills. The challenges were the long period of time required for skill acquisition and the difficulty in passing on knowledge. To change this situation, we launched an in-house Imai Juku (Imai School). Here we began to pass on the skills and knowledge we had cultivated to younger members.

In addition to one-on-one instruction, Imai Juku compiles its experience and knowledge into a work manual and records it in writing. One example is our training project to make various aberrations easier to understand. We introduced a method of taking photographs, creating a series of written instructions, and teaching that information by projecting the images from the training kit on a monitor. Our practical training includes detailed instructions on how to apply force and use fingers in lens adjustment.

Q: Any final thoughts on microscope objective lens production?

Yutaka: We always strive for the highest level of quality in our manufacturing, putting our heart and soul into every objective lens. We believe that our customers will see this difference in our products, and this quality will lead to their satisfaction and trust. Our mission is to not only manufacture high-quality microscope objectives—but also train highly skilled technicians who share the same passion. Problems occur every day in manufacturing, but they are easier to resolve by sharing knowledge and passing on the skills of good microscope objective manufacturing.

Microscope Objective Lenses Supported by Our Technical Expertise

Through this interview with Yutaka, we have introduced the outstanding expertise and deep passion of our technicians who manufacture microscope objective lenses at Evident. The efforts of these technicians, and their skills that we continue to pass on, are essential in the pursuit of advancing our optical technology.

To learn more about optics that make use of this passion and technology, explore our extensive collection of microscope objective lenses, including our renowned X Line series. You can also watch the video below to discover the ultra-thin lens technology behind our high-performance microscope objectives. If you need help finding the best microscope objective for your application, feel free to reach out for personalized assistance.

Related Content

How to Read Microscope Objective Specifications at a Glance

Video: Meet the X Line High-Performance Objectives Series

Objective Finder Tool

Manager, Life Science Research Solutions, Global Marketing

Kazuhiko Hosono has a background in biophysics and a Master of Science degree from Waseda University. He joined Evident in 2004 and has over six years of experience in optical development and customized solutions, followed by five years of technical support as a development representative in Hamburg, Germany. After returning to Japan, he joined the global marketing department, where he has been involved in the planning, introduction, and sales expansion of a wide range of life science research products, including confocal laser scanning microscopes, high-performance microscope objectives, and inverted microscope systems.

Abr 23 2024
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