General ULC Info
United Lens Company (ULC) opened in 1916 primarily specializing in molded blanks for the ophthalmic industry. We have been open for over a century already, and in that time, we have become a truly vertically integrated optics manufacturer, increasing our capabilities to include precision machining, polishing and thin film coating of optics. Check out the full story of how far we’ve come on our about page.
ULC is solely located in Southbridge, MA, USA. We have remained at the same location since the day our doors first opened in 1916. Building and growing the company one expansion at a time, ULC has gone from a small shop with only one molding furnace to a 200,000+ square foot facility offering a complete solution to your machined, polished and coated optic needs.
Yes, we are registered with the DDTC (Directorate of Defense Trade Controls) and remain ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) compliant per the registration requirements. You can see our registration here.
As a custom optics manufacturer, the industries we are able to contribute to are truly endless. However, some of the common industries we frequently serve are aerospace, military and defense, astronomical, medical and bioscience, and laser. To learn more about the industries we serve, visit our industries page.
Don’t see your industry listed? No problem! Give us a call today and we can discuss ways to help with your custom project.
Yes! Having our own internal machine shop, as well as annealing, molding, machining, polishing and coating capabilities all here within the same facility enables us to produce nearly all our customers’ optical requirements here on site. To learn more, contact one of our sales representatives today.
No, we do not make or fix lenses for glasses. Although making glass blanks for ophthalmic lenses was how our original business started out, that is no longer something that we specialize in, as most glasses are now made from a polycarbonate plastic material.
No, we can provide semi-finished or complete finished optical components. Given that for the first 50 years or so that we were in business we primarily provided only molded and machined blanks, it is a common misconception that blanks is all we do here at ULC, but that is no longer the case. Today, we can offer you an optical blank, a polished substrate or a complete coated component. Learn more about what we can help you with by visiting our capabilities page. Our sales team is here to answer your questions—contact us today!
We have an extensive range in coatings we are able to provide, but some of our more common coatings are anti-reflective (SLAR, HEAR, BBAR, Double AR, Triple AR and V-Coats), metal (aluminum, gold and silver), dielectric, beam splitters, high reflectors, and long or short wave pass coatings. See our full thin film coating capabilities here.
Our coating chambers are equipped with electron beam (e-beam) guns, as well as resistive and ion sources for IAD coatings. Learn more about the ion-assisted deposition offered here at ULC in our thin film coating blog post.
We primarily coat optical glasses, fused silica, quartz, as well as a few other ceramic materials. To view the full list of the materials we work with, head over to our materials page.
We also often work with customer supplied materials, so if you don’t see the material you’re looking for on our list—don’t worry! Give us a call to discuss the details.
The sizes in which we can manufacture are dependent on what type of optical component we are providing you with, whether it be a machined blank, a polished substrate or a coated only component. Talk with one of our technical sales representatives today to learn more.
No, we do not offer optical assembly services. We would be happy to manufacture your individual optical component for you, but we do not do any assembly.
We can manufacture the individual optical components for your doublet, but we do not provide any bonding or cementing of the individual components together to produce the final doublet.
We can provide flat and spherical or cylindrically curved optics. Whether plano-plano, convex or concave, we can work with you to get what you need manufactured. Read more about our capabilities here.
We stock a wide variety of materials in our warehouses at all times. We believe that by investing in keeping inventory of commonly used materials in stock, it helps enable us to provide our customers with faster deliveries, while always being able to adhere to our strict quality assurances. Browse the list of materials we work with here.
Not typically, but we have made exceptions in the past for certain circumstances. Check with us about your project.
Our annealing capabilities are primarily reserved for in-house processing of raw material. Check out our videos page to see our annealing process.
Yes, we do have the ability to test the refractive index of various optical glass materials, but in doing so, it requires a sacrificial piece of material which will be broken in the process of testing. Contact a ULC technical sales representative for more information.
Every one of our sales team members are cross trained on all administrative and technical abilities, so anyone you speak with on our team will be able to help you with any inquiry you may have. See our contact page to find our phone number and a good email to reach out to us on. Or if you’d prefer, click on our live chat feature and speak with a live technical representative.
In order to provide you with an accurate quotation and the best possible value, we need to ensure that we fully understand your optical requirements. The majority of all quotations will be received within 1-2 business days, but dependent on what further information is required at the time your request is received, it may take additional time to receive your quotation. At times, it may be necessary to discuss your end application in order to ensure proper quotation.
If you would like to check the status of your request, please contact one of our technical sales representatives.
The information needed for a quotation is dependent on what type of component we are quoting for you. At a minimum for all quotations, we require the following information about your part:
- Substrate material
- Dimensional sizes (such as diameter, length, width and thickness)
- Dimensional tolerances
- Bevel (if applicable)
For polished optics, in addition to the information provided above, we would also require the following specifications:
- Transmitted (TWFD) or Reflected Wavefront (RWFD) (where applicable)
- Clear Aperture (CA)
- Scratch & Dig
For coated optics, in addition to the information provided above, we would also require the following specifications:
- Coating requirements
- Clear Aperture (CA) (if a different requirement is needed after the coating has been applied)
- Scratch & Dig (if a different requirement is needed after the coating has been applied)
Typically, our quotations are valid for a 30-90 day period. The validity of our quotations can always be found at the top right hand side of the quotation you received from us.
Expedite options are evaluated on a case by case basis and are always subject to our current work load at the time in which you place your order. But yes, we are often able to accommodate expediting requests for an additional fee.
No, there is no minimum order quantity policy. However, it often benefits our customers in terms of pricing to appropriately determine your accurate demand and order the highest quantity in which makes sense for your overall annual demand. We are often able to offer large quantity discounts on many items when we are able to distribute the overall run costs over a larger quantity.
Yes, we actually excel on high volume orders! High volume orders enable us to set up the machines once and run the entire job through until its completion. In doing it this way, we are able to pass those streamlined cost savings onto our customers.
Every one of our sales team members are cross trained on all administrative and technical abilities, so any one of our team members you choose to send your PO in to will be able to help. See our contact page to find our phone number and a good email to reach out to us on. You are also able to purchase certain stocked optics online through our website’s store. Check out the items available to you online today!
If an order is received via email, you will receive a confirmation of email receipt within 1 business day, confirming that your email and purchase order has been received and we have begun processing it. Typically, all orders are formally acknowledged back to the customer within 1 business day as well, however if additional information is required in order to finish processing your order in our system, it may take longer for you to receive our formal acknowledgement. If additional information is required, a ULC representative will be in contact with you.
If you would like to check the status of your order, please contact a ULC sales representative.
The export compliance team here at ULC is focused on supporting the movement of product to and from our customers as efficiently as possible. The information you provide on an EUS is needed to assist us in the evaluation and determination of U.S. export jurisdiction/classification and licensing requirements for our sale and export of the items you order to your company and ensure our continued compliance with U.S. export laws and regulations.
An EUS form is also used for the purpose of acknowledging that the commodities, technology or software being exported to you will be exported from the United States in accordance with the International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) and/or Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and that diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.
Yes, per our General Terms and Agreements, all goods must be taken within 12 months from the date of acceptance of the purchase order. This means that if you choose, ULC will stock the completed optics from your purchase order with us at our facility for up to 12 months. But, if you have not chosen to release those items by the 12 month date, ULC will automatically ship and invoice them to you.
Shipping & Packaging
Yes, we ship all over the world in compliance with U.S. export laws and regulations, as well as International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) and/or Export Administration Regulations (EAR).
Choosing how to properly package your precision optics is often a critical decision to make in order to safely protect your items. Learn more about our standard packaging options on our cleaning and packaging page. Custom packaging options are also available upon request—call a ULC representative today to discuss available custom options.
Your optics are continuously inspected throughout every stage of the manufacturing process in order to ensure quality before proceeding on to each new step. The types of instruments used for inspection depends on the actual manufacturing process your items take through our shop. View our quality assurance gallery and read through our metrology page to see some of the ways we inspect your optics throughout the manufacturing process.
Be sure to also head over to our inspection data page to see the available inspection options we offer.
We have a variety of cleaning techniques in which we employ throughout the manufacturing process, from hand cleaning to the use of ultrasonic cleaning systems and more. Learn more about our cleaning procedures.
Yes, our entire coating department operates as a Class 1000 clean room. When entering our coating area, all employees must wear a protective gown, mask, and either a hair net or surgical cap. Employees also wear a designated pair of shoes that never leave the department floor. Shoe covering booties are also available in the event that a visitor with “outside shoes” needs to enter the area, and there are disposable sticky floor mats at every entrance way onto the manufacturing floor in order to help mitigate any loose debris that may travel in from outside. In addition to that, we have also made substantial investments in the enhancements of our HVAC systems.