Inside Nikon's Hikari Glass factory
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Inside Nikon's Hikari Glass factory

And that's it! Here, finished blanks of glass are placed into plastic pallets ready for dispatch.

To recap, here are the major stages in the entire process from beginning to end, with links:

  1. Initial mixing of the raw materials to make glass powder LINK
  2. Pre-melting of the glass to make 'frits', which are intentionally created to have either a positive or negative R.I. (direct melting is a simpler process, that we did not observe) LINK
  3. Mixing the frits LINK
  4. Fine melting of the frits (not pictured) to achieve the target refractive index, and extrusion and cutting of the glass ingots into bars LINK
  5. Inspection of the glass for defects LINK
  6. Cutting into blocks into rods and dice LINK
  7. Adjusting the weight of the glass dice in the grinding machine LINK
  8. Heating and pressing the glass dice into molds LINK
  9. Annealing of the resulting blanks, to eliminate distortions in the glass and fine-tune the refractive index LINK
  10. Inspection and measurement of the finished glass blanks

We hope you enjoyed this look inside Nikon's Hikari glass factory. If you're eager to learn even more, our friend Dave Etchells over at Imaging Resource has published an even more detailed account of our visit here.