Media & Content

Optical Illumination

  Tanya Aitken   |     January 23, 2019 |   3 minute read
Optical Illumination an Edge Factor documentary film

In 1991, in the city of Rochester, New York, two guys in a garage used their innovative minds and technology to take a risk and start a company that would forever change the lives of many people.

As a leader in the optics industry, Optimax builds the optics behind the latest breakthrough technologies in aerospace, defense, and consumer electronics. For small volume, high precision optics, Optimax is set up to manufacture, test and deliver with the speed and performance your programs require. From manufacturing lenses used in the Mars Rover to reimagining medical devices, to the lenses found in photocopiers and countless other applications, Optimax uses Mastercam and develops highly engineered processes and superior fabrication and coating capabilities for advanced optics.


When the Edge Factor team met the two founders of Optimax, Rick Plympton and Mike Mandina, we knew this was a story that had to be told. The all-new Edge Factor short film, Optical Illumination tells their story and has just been released on Edge Factor’s platform. This film will be used in schools and businesses across North America to showcase the optics industry and inspire students and parents to use their hands, minds, and technology to build the future…


After becoming friends in University, Rick and Mike soon realized that their different personalities created the perfect blend of innovative problem solving, technical understandings, and business sense. Jeremy Bout, the Founder of Edge Factor, comments in this film, “Working together, Mike and Rick realized that it’s not about where you start. And it’s not even about where you end up… It’s about the journey of learning and embracing failure to discover solutions.” Their determination has been a key contributing factor to the success of Optimax and their ongoing pursuit of cutting edge, lean manufacturing processes and advanced technologies.


The team at Optimax is comprised of cells or small teams of people, all trained in every aspect of the manufacturing, assembly and quality control processes that go into each lense they produce. This innovative way of doing things allows Optimax to build quality lenses, in shorter spans of time. One of their precision lenses starts as a block of glass, is designed using Mastercam software, and is formed and polished into a prototype in less than a week.


As Optimax looks to the future of optics and Industry 4.0, Mike and Rick believe they are just at the beginning. We can’t wait to see the upcoming projects and innovations from the Optimax team!


To watch this documentary film, and many more visit to be inspired by students and innovators discovering solutions to real world problems. 


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