Electroforming is a replication process through which a highly accurate negative replica is produced from a carefully prepared mandrel or master surface. Electroforming has its roots in electroplating, and is very similar in most respects, with the main difference being that the plated material (electroform) is separated from the mandrel leaving a freestanding metal article which exhibits all of the physical characteristics including surface finish and geometry as the parent mandrel . The process allows for the forming of simple or complex shapes that exhibit the features of the parent mandrel to the smallest detail.
Whenever possible, electroformed reflectors and the mandrels they are formed from are designed to allow many sequential replications from a single mandrel. Depending on the application and the complexity of the shape, the mandrel can be made from various materials such as glass, aluminum, plastic, wax, photo resist material and in some cases chromed electroformed nickel. The most common mandrel material for reflector replication is stainless steel, which can be easily and accurately machined and polished.
Surface of revolution reflectors, those whose reflective surface is revolved about a central or optical axis, typically have a mandrel made on a CNC lathe. More complex shapes may be produced by multi-axis milling, wire EDM, or grinding.
Once machined, the polishing of a mandrel can take from hours to many days to complete, depending on size and complexity. The standard surface finish of Phoenix Electroformed Products complies with MIL-O-13830 Scratch and Dig specification of 80-50 or better. Quality Assurance Personnel monitor the surface finish of the product and advise as to the need for mandrel maintenance.
The finished reflector can be specified with a variety of electrodeposited or vacuum deposited coatings for reflectivity enhancement in order to suit individual customers requirements.
Applications for our products and capabilities include Searchlights (architectural, promotional, marine, tactical), Ultraviolet Curing Equipment, Motion Picture Projection, Research, Medical Equipment and Devices, Infra Red Radiation Shields, and Fiber Optic Equipment.