To manufacture an underwater camera dome that has distortion free optics, can be submerged to depths of 100', and is resistant to a harsh underwater environment required an injection molder with a multi-discipline team of engineers in materials, tooling, molding, machining and coating.
China Array selected Zeonex® (Cyclo Olefin Polymer -- COP), the same material used for cell phone and digital cameras lenses, for its unparalleled clarity (transparency), low fluorescence, low hygroscopicity, and minimal distortion (refraction).
However, unlike a cell phone lens, the challenge here was to mold a 225 mm x 175 mm x 90 mm rectangular, spherical dome with thick-walled to withstand pressures at depth.
Micro-polished tooling built with differential cooling allowed independent temperature control in different segments of the mold to draw resin in smoothly, fill fully and pack out completely.
The injection molding process was perfected to take full advantage of the mold's capabilities to mold thick walled parts to tight tolerances (necessary to form a water tight seal). The dome was then coated to enhance impermeability and scratch resistance. (Zeonex takes coating well.)
The result is a strong, durable, perfectly formed dome of exceptional clarity without distortion.
China Array, with engineering offices in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, USA and a wholly owned, state-of-the-art injection molding and mold making facility in Wuhan, China, specializes in molding high performance thermoplastics.
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