Cilas Unveils Optical Coatings Machine
ORLEANS, France, Feb. 25, 2010 – Cilas has started up its new optical coatings machine, PACA2M, said to be the largest in Europe using magnetron sputtering technology. The new machine is now operational in its Aubagne site in Southern France.
PACA2M, a 18 meter (roughly 60 ft) long machine, can deposit optical coatings on parts measuring up to 2 meters by 2 meters (6.5 ft by 6.5 ft), up to 40 centimeters thick and weighing up to 1.5 tons (3000 lbs). Optical controls are carried out in real time during the deposition of the coatings. Fully automated, the PACA2M has a five position load-lock for an increased productivity.
With PACA2M, Cilas is making a major investment in a large capacity machine that will allow it to target new markets based on large-sized optics. The potential markets concern the coating of reflectors for the French Megajoule laser, the coating of the mirrors of solar furnaces and of space and or ground telescopes.
The PACA2M platform also has the advantage of addressing mass production markets, since the capacity of the machine enables a very large number of components to be processed in a single run under highly competitive conditions.
The PACA2M project officially began in 2007 when it received a label from Popsud, the association in charge of operating the Optitec competitiveness cluster dedicated to optics and photonics. The PACA2M Project was then awarded a national and regional funding by the French Government. The goal of the project was to design and to build an optical coatings platform of exceptional dimensions and of exceptional performance in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region and to share this platform with the regional actors in optics, with the help of Popsud/Optitec.
Cilas has gathered for the PACA2M Project, several partners and funding agencies to help creating the platform. Popsud/Optitec has selected the project for its high optical level and for the advantages it will offer in region for optical industries and academics. The FUI (French governmental agency funding industrial R&D projects) managed by the DGCIS (French government division supporting business and innovation), the PACA Region and the General Council of the Bouches-du-Rhône are jointly funding the project.
Alliance Concept has designed and manufactured the PACA2M thin film coatings deposition system. The Fresnel Institute, with which Cilas has partnered with for many years, has designed and manufactured the optical control system and is developing the main coating processes. Thales Alenia Space has provided support for the specification of the PACA2M coatings machine for the coating of space telescope mirrors.
Cilas has developed a wide range of products and systems for defense and civilian and military security, large-scale scientific laser programs, and scientific and industrial instrumentation for more than 40 years. With a turnover of €28.3 million ($38.3 million), Cilas employs 200 people on three sites in France.
For more information, visit: www.cilas.com
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