Optical Lens Design/Consultancy

Kingsview Optical offers a comprehensive mechanical and custom optical design service in the UK. Our experienced optics design team has successfully collaborated with various industries, helping them bring their concept ideas to life through fully functional prototypes and eventual full-scale production. Additionally, we are proud to mention that our design practices have undergone a thorough audit to comply with the latest ISO 9001:2015 standards.

If you find our optical design services of interest, we encourage you to reach out to us for further discussion. For your convenience, we have provided a link to download our optical design requirements template, which will assist in providing us with the necessary information to commence work on your project. If you come across any questions in the form that you are unsure about, feel free to contact us directly so that we can assist you further.

Optical design software

Our optical design engineers have access to industry-leading software packages such as Zemax and Solidworks.

With Zemax, one of the most renowned lens design software on the market, we can ensure confidence in our designs and achieve accurate representations of manufactured products. This not only saves time in the design cycle but also reduces your time to market. By conducting tolerance analysis, Zemax provides insight into the actual production performance, allowing for informed decision-making. Additionally, Zemax enables the creation of comprehensive optical design drawings, providing our manufacturing engineers with all the necessary information.

Solidworks is seen as by many as the industry standard for computer aided design. This really helps with the optomechanics as the optical lens design can be taken directly from Zemax. This is a great help in achieving the highest accuracies where sometimes to the micron precision is important.

Optical design engineering

Our team at Kingsview is dedicated to bringing a practical perspective to the optical design process. Our firsthand experience in the complete production process allows us to prioritise manufacturing in our designs, leading to more cost-effective solutions and improved real-world performance. While Zemax is a fantastic software, it can never replace the valuable insights gained from manufacturing experience. As a result, we encounter and address many common problems in the optical design industry.

  • Incorrect glass choice

The optical glass industry offers a vast selection of glasses with varying characteristics and costs. Each optical glass behaves differently, presenting unique challenges in terms of temperature sensitivity and surface finish. Some glasses are prone to cracking when exposed to temperature changes, which is troublesome considering the heat involved in the manufacturing process. On the other hand, some glasses are extremely soft, posing difficulties in achieving a high-quality surface finish and maintaining precise thickness measurements.

Using Zemax to optimize material selection, the software often recommends the most expensive glass available without considering its production characteristics. As a result, production costs can unnecessarily skyrocket.

  • Overcomplicated designs

This happens when lens surfaces are added too quickly. The problem with adding more surfaces the tighter your lens tolerances need to be. As the deviation from the normal start to multiply the performance can drop off a cliff if not met.

This results in higher costs as the number of optical components, metalwork and assembly time go up. If the complexity gets too much and the tolerances get too tight for a manufacturer to hold consistently this actually gives you worse real world performance but still at that high price.

The key is knowing what is good enough and what is manufacturable. There are actually times where it is better to have slightly worse theoretical performance that is met 95% of a production run then one that is slightly higher where in production only 20% are acceptable.

  • Lens geometry not suitable to manufacture

Zemax can tell you what is a perfect design but it can’t tell you if it can be manufactured or to what tolerance is possible.

Some lenses with small edge thicknesses can be a particular problem as lenses are generally manufactured to a bigger diameter and final edged and centred last. So a steep bivex lens might have to be manufactured to a knife edge leading to chipping and an increase in rejects.

Large diameter lenses with thin centre thicknesses can cause problems holding tight irregularity tolerances.

Very shallow radii are extremely difficult to hold tight radii tolerances on.

These just offer a snapshot of some of some of the potential difficulties for the manufacturer if not allowed for in the design. Most of them are common sense but if you don’t have experience of manufacture you don’t see these potential problems.

Project Roadmap

Initial Discussions

The initial step of the project is to gain a deeper understanding of your specific requirements. If you are unsure about the necessary information, you can find an optical design requirement template here. This document provides an overview of the types of questions we will need to address in order to progress with the project. It is possible that some of these questions may not be applicable to your project or that you do not have the answers yet. However, that is not a problem – please reach out to us and we will assist you. Additionally, if you wish to have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed and put in place at this stage, we are more than willing to accommodate that request.


The next step is to begin building a project scope that aligns with your specific needs. Our engineers will run simulations to determine the necessary optical design elements and how closely we can achieve your objectives. Once we have a solid understanding of what can be accomplished, we will create a formal project scope that outlines the high-level requirements. It is crucial that this document comprehensively captures all the customer’s expectations, as it will serve as a benchmark for evaluating the final design’s success. Therefore, it is essential that the customer approves this document, ensuring it encompasses every optical design aspect they desire.

Detailed Design

Zemax optical design software will be used in creating a lens layout that meets the specified requirements. This layout will then be imported into Solidworks to incorporate the necessary metalwork. Additionally, tolerance analysis will be conducted and optical design drawings will be produced. Following the finalisation of the design, a thorough design review will be carried out to ensure that all agreed-upon requirements have been fulfilled. This milestone is particularly significant as it minimises the risk of the design falling short of the outlined goals, ultimately saving precious time and resources.

Prototype production

Once the optical design has been finalised, we will manufacture the prototype batch at our site in the UK. The lens will be carefully assembled and thoroughly tested to ensure it aligns with the agreed scope.


The customer has the freedom to determine their next step in the process. One option is to acquire the design rights, which will involve receiving optical and mechanical drawings from us. Alternatively, we can also provide a quote for supplying finished assemblies of the desired batch size, incorporating the optical design.

Why choose us?

The advantage we have is that our entire optical design team and manufacturing are located within the same building. Open and effective communication between the team members allows us to collaborate efficiently and understand each other’s goals. This enables us to not only devise solutions that are effective but also practical for manufacturing. Achieving the shortest project times is pivotal for us.

Throughout the years, we have had the opportunity to work on diverse projects for esteemed clients such as Mahle Engine Systems and NPL. Among our notable projects, we have collaborated with the Crick Institute on a significant optics-related undertaking, which resulted in a scientific paper that you can find here.

We strongly encourage you to reach out to us with the objectives of your project. If confidentiality is crucial, we are more than willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Our aim is to cooperate with you and transform your ideas into functional prototypes.

For any inquiries, please send an email to [email protected], and we will respond promptly.