Tricks of the Trade for Optical Labs

By Christie Walker
Dealing with AR

Dave Cuffe, director of technical support, Essilor

With the growing popularity of Anti Reflective (AR) lenses the wholesale laboratory must set checking procedures in three key area’s of their process to insure quality results.

1. The first area is surface quality. Although labs have always strived to produce high quality lenses, AR forces them to an even higher level because minor imperfections are magnified. In this area the things to monitor are generator curve accuracy (on or 2/100 steep), tool accuracy (never flat), polish time (6 minutes for all materials) and temperature control (55 – 65 F) will help insure the desired results.

2. The second area is backside hard coat. Although equipment and coatings have improved over the years there are areas, which must be monitored to insure quality and adhesion. The areas to check daily are the machine spin speed, which controls coating thickness, and the curing bulb, this can be done doing a cross hatch test (kits & procedures are available through the AR Council).

3. The other thing to help insure AR quality is to avoid using UV dye, which can bleed back to the surface and cause adhesion failure.

Progressive Log Book

Jeffrey LaPlante, ABOM, manager of training & education, Signet Armorlite, Inc. Labs should suggest that their ECP offices keep an on-going log book of progressive re-work, which includes all progressives utilized in the month, along with progressive failures by brand, and by dispenser. Often, a practice with excessive re-work has a new employee who is simply struggling with progressives in general—and a simple coaching session by the lab's technical advisor or a lens manufacturer's representative, can quickly correct the problem and reduce errors and costs for the lab and office. Additionally, prior performance data can quickly be compared on trial usage of newer designs as they become available, helping to make the decision to upgrade or change easier.

Scanning Electronic Microscope Analysis

Paula L. Becker, vice president, Fil-Tech, Inc.

Having “problem” crystals scanned through Scanning Electronic Microscope (SEM) analysis can solve many process problems. The SEM analysis magnifies crystal surfaces up to 100,000 times and can identify evaporant splatter, fingerprints, and other causes of crystal failures. A SEM report, complete with surface analysis conclusions, electrical findings and digital microscopy imaging can provide significant process results. Fil-Tech can perform the SEM analysis on problem crystals.

Leaving Money on the Table

Susie Cashion, business director, lens manufacturers, Transitions Optical

Leaving money on the table means you’re leaving lenses on the shelf. Capitalize on the marketing support that your suppliers offer by developing an annual business plan to align your company’s strategic goals with their products and brand objectives. Having objectives that your partners can execute frees up a lot of your time and resources to devote to customer satisfaction.

Investing More in Training

Al Bednar, director of technical service & sales, Practical Systems, Inc.

Turnover rates remain extremely high in our industry and productivity, quality and profitability always suffer. Do you remember your first day on a job? Were you confident about this new work experience or were you anxious, perhaps even apprehensive? Most people starting a new job would admit to being nervous, and perhaps concerned about performing up to their employer’s expectations and being accepted by other employees. Employers often neglect to adequately orient and train new employees. They assume the new employee understands what needs to be done or will “catch on” quickly. A thorough orientation and training program takes time and effort but will increase worker productivity, decrease confusion, and provide satisfaction for both employer and employee.

Lens Wrap Problem Solver

George Fredo, director of sales, Quantum Innovations, Inc.

Lab managers and employees know where a large portion of lens damage occurs—slippage on super-hydrophobic coated lenses during edging and scratches on rimless mounts during drilling. These issues cause lost product, time and money. Protecting the lens during these stages is a solution to this type of damage. Lens Wrap, from Quantum Innovations, is an optically clear, temporary coating that envelops and protects the lens. It prevents slippage while edging and protects the lens from scratches during drilling and other processes. The results are decreased breakage and increased profits.

AR Crazing Caused by Lens Deblocking After Edging

Steve Johnson, in-house technician, National Optronics

AR crazing comes from several areas within the lab; high chuck pressure at the edger and a mismatched block curve to lens front curve are two causes. Crazing can occur if the lens is deblocked immediately after edging and is twisted off the block. The twisting is the culprit. To eliminate this form of crazing, immerse the lens in a pan of warm, soapy water (neither hot nor cold, which can shock the base material of the lens). Leave the lens in the pan for 30 seconds and it will practically fall off the block. The need to forcibly twist the lens to deblock it is eliminated, thus removing costly remakes due to pre-AR deblocking techniques.

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Labtalk May/June 2018