Magnify Your Ar Success: Boost Your Profits With New Lenses And Processing Tips

By Julie Bos
In today’s world, change is a given. New optical products are being introduced every day, and new processing strategies are continually hitting the scene. To stay competitive and profitable, you need to stay abreast of the latest updates—and find a way to put them to work for you. Not surprisingly, the New Year is already boasting its share of new product arrivals, including the following AR lenses.

Essilor of America

Essilor launches Crizal Easy, a new AR product that replaces the original Crizal lens (to be discontinued in first-quarter 2011) and offers a super hydrophobic layer that resists smudges, water and oil. A multi-million dollar campaign on Crizal lenses will run through 2011, and will be aired on television, radio, digital media and in print. The message is that Crizal “defeats the five enemies of clear vision” (glare, scratch, smudge, dust and water).

HOYA SuperHiVision EX 3

HOYA’s third generation anti-reflective technology is SuperHiVision EX 3. Its most prominent feature is its superior scratch-resistant quality. Results from a variety of rigorous testing outcomes rate EX 3’s scratch resistance superior to that of mineral glass. As with the other HiVision technologies, every element of the formula’s thin film coating is index-matched with each lens material it’s polymerized with, enabling a consistent 99.5 percent light transmission across the entire visible light spectrum and the absence of birefringence color rings on lens surfaces.

To maintain and deliver quality HiVision anti-reflective technology to its customers, HOYA ensures that all its proprietary coating treatments (HiVision, Super HiVision and EX 3) are exclusively treated within HOYA coating facilities as uncuts or edged and assembled lenses. Uncut customers are supplied with a special “surface saver” tape to prevent uncut treated lenses from slipping in the finishing process.

iCoat

iCoat now offers Aura, its new ultra-premium AR lens that has a very high Bayer rating; super oleophobic and super hydrophobic properties; approval for VSP category D; with availability on virtually every lens style and material. For best processing of these lenses, the company recommends the following steps:

1. Clean the lens thoroughly with Isopropyl alcohol and a soft cloth or tissue.

2. Place an iCoat-supplied edging pad on the front side of lens and press firmly into place.

3. Using a 3M leap pad block lens, press block firmly onto lens to ensure a good bond.

4. Edge lens.

Seiko Optical Products of America Seiko’s newest AR is Surpass AR with ECP Easy Clean Plus super hydrophobic topcoat and new no-slip protector film on Seiko stock-finished single vision lens products. No-slip protector film is a lens-protection system that prevents slipping during edging and can be easily removed after edging.

A SLIPPERY DILEMMA: TOP TIPS FOR PROCESSING HYDROPHOBIC LENSES

Even with the ongoing introduction of new AR lenses, many labs still struggle with the basic challenges of securing super-hydrophobic lenses for edging. If you’re one of those labs, consider these tips and product recommendations from several industry partners.

DAC Vision

DAC Vision’s award-winning HydroEdge is a proven finishing solution for super-hydrophobic lenses. The superior adhesive combines with unique foam to provide great holding power—even on the most slippery surfaces. For best results, the company recommends using its oval Stellar block, combined with its matching DV-SH76 HydroEdge. This combination gives extra holding power on narrow lenses by utilizing the length of the “A” dimension. It also allows superior flexibility, which not only helps reduce slippage, but prevents crazing as well.

DAC Vision BluEdge combined with the company’s DVEM-6 Clear Edging Mask is another good solution for processing super hydrophobic lenses—and one that many labs prefer.

Processing Tips:

• When processing super-hydrophobic lenses, allow the lenses to normalize prior to finishing. These lenses are at their most slippery state when they’re first taken out of the AR chamber. By waiting and allowing the lens to release some of the chemical reactions from the AR process, you can witness an added benefit during finishing.

• Another suggestion is to speed the time between blocking and finishing. You should edge fairly soon after blocking to assure the pad and block are well bonded. Even then, you should always check prior to edging; and if you’re not sure, press the pad and block against the lens again to ensure this critical step.

Gerber Technologies

Gerber Technoliges offers two solutions for super-hydrophobic lenses—the SecurEdge Plus and the 3M LSE products. As with any lens product, some basic requirements apply:

1. Make sure the lens is clean and free of all residues from previous processes.

2. Make sure the block and lens curvature match.

3. The blocking pad has two different adhesives on each side. Apply the printed side of the pad to the lens.

4. When the pad and block are applied to the lens, make sure the pad visibly “wets” to the lens. This will take about five minutes.

5. You’re now ready to edge the lens.

Remember, there isn’t just one blocking pad that solves all of your AR needs. Unfortunately, the formulations of different AR coatings will vary. This means that you’ll need to try a few pads before you determine the one that best matches your equipment and lenses. In some cases, you may even find that a special pad isn’t required. Gerber Technologies offers a variety of pads for possible solutions and sizes.

PSI

PSI’s new Sure Mount Blocking Pads are made of a thin yet strong material that resists flexing or torquing on the lens, reducing slippage. Its high-tack adhesive offers a secure hold on all lens coatings, but releases cleanly without removing progressive markings or leaving residue. Sure Mount pads work effectively on standard AR coatings as well as the super-hydrophobic coatings.

If you’re seeking a specialized pad for super-hydrophobic lenses, PSI’s OLA award-winning SecurEdge Plus pads offer a proven solution. These pads have a dual-adhesive system—one side offering a unique high-tack adhesive that sticks to super-hydrophobic coatings, while the other side is designed to adhere to the block and remove easily. Designed for use only on these super slick coatings, SecurEdge Plus is a one-step system that doesn’t require the use of tapes or films to adhere to the lens.

Processing Tip:

• Blocking pads come in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. Make sure you’re utilizing a blocking pad that fits well underneath the block. To optimize blocking pad adhesion, PSI’s technical sales managers strongly recommend you take into account the front curve of the lens. This is particularly important when utilizing metal and graphite blocks. Unlike flexible plastic blocks, they don’t conform as well to the lens, thus reducing the amount of pad on the surface of the lens and therefore limiting the functionality of the blocking pad. PSI’s metal blocks are available in low (4 base), high (11-14 base) and standard base.

SALEM Vision Group

The company’s new Tak anti-slip film is an adhesive-backed anti-slip film for use specifically on super-hydro/oleo-phobic lenses. Its unprecedented adhesion eliminates costly slippage and premature de-blocking during the edging process. The anti-slip film is applied to the outer-surface of the lens, producing a stable platform for the blocking pad to securely attach. This interface between lens and blocking pad resists applied forces during the edging process to ensure axis accuracy and protect the lens from damage due to premature de-blocking. It’s safe for use on any hydro/oleo-phobic lens material. Tak anti-slip film is available in rolls of 500 and in two shapes: 25x38mm Oval and 25x38 Diamond with 9mm center hole.

“The field has been leveled. Until now, edging expensive super-hydro/oleo-phobic lenses has been problematic. Eliminating costly rejects due to axis error from slippage during edging has been a challenge for even the best of labs. With Tak anti-slip film’s unprecedented adhesion, ensuring axis accuracy—even when edging the slipperiest lenses—is now no different than processing conventionally coated lens materials,” said Steve Albright, SALEM Vision Group

Satisloh

Satisloh is in the unique position of being able to offer customers both a Phased Hydrophobic AR Coating System, as well as the consumables that complement it. The company’s Phased Hydrophobic System uses two revolutionary products created to provide users with unmatched yields when edging super-hydrophobic coated lenses. As Super Hydro (Phase 1) is applied, it chemically bonds with the AR underneath, producing a permanent hydrophobic coating up to 10 times easier to clean than standard hydrophobics. Gripping Hydro (Phase 2) is applied in-chamber and forms a weak bond with the Super Hydro, which wears off as lenses are cleaned.

“Our Phased Hydrophobic System has no impact on the performance or integrity of the anti-reflective coating. And for optimum results, we recommend customers use 3M Leap LSE Finish Blocking Pads with our newly released Conform Finish Block. The key to edging hydrophobic-coated lenses is controlling the variables that lead to slippage,” said Steve Schneider, director, after-market products, Satisloh.

Processing Tips:

To maximize processing effectiveness, Satisloh encourages labs to focus on the three main variables that have the greatest influence on the edging process:

• Hydrophobic-Coating Consistency – Start with a stable blocking surface. Always clean lenses before blocking with rubbing alcohol to remove hydrophobic coating not tightly adhered to the AR stack. This ensures that pad is adhered to a stable surface.

• Edging Equipment and Settings – The ram pressure should be set on high and the cutting rate on slow for both cribbing and final edging. This is especially important when edging polycarbonate and high minus lenses.

• Edging Pad/Block – Using the right edging pad and block are critical to this process. 3M LEAP LSE Pads are designed to adhere to hydrophobic coatings while maintaining axis stability. Each side of the pad uses a different adhesive specially formulated for either the block or hydrophobic coated lens surface.

Edging Super-Hydrophobic Lenses…From the Lab’s Perspective

Not all labs struggle with edging super-hydrophobic lenses. In fact, Walman Optical in Minneapolis is one that seems to have the process all dialed in. According to Matt Cummins, regional manager, it took about a year for the lab to settle on a workable solution to edging super hydrophobic lenses—and the system is working great.

“We use a combination of three different products in conjunction to yield the best results,” he said. “We found no edging pads that would adhere well enough on their own. Currently we run less than 0.03 percent for slippage reasons and slightly over half of all our work has AR.”

Matt goes on to say that in a perfect world, the industry would offer one pad that would adhere to the slippery coating, as well as the block—and preferably one that you could edge off so that only one size edging pad is needed.

For labs still having difficulty with edging slippery lenses, he offers one final piece of advice: “Find the right combination of products that works in your lab and get everyone on board with why proper procedures are critical to sustained success. Diagnose each twist or slipped breakage until you have both your system and procedures down pat.”

CURRENT ISSUE


May/June LabTalk 2017