Raising the Bar, What’s new in surfacing equipment

By Linda Little
Lens manufacturers are raising the bar with new lens designs and innovation, created to give wearers the best vision possible. Equipment manufacturers are also raising the bar, creating the new equipment today, that will allow optical laboratories to produce the best lenses possible. Turning a lens design into a prescription lens is the job of the optical laboratory and with the new equipment featured below, that job just got easier.

Generating News

Schneider

Schneider will be presenting their expanded range of surfacing solutions, now able to meet the needs of any size production level. Their HSC Giant FF generator enables the simultaneous processing of two direct-to-surface or prescription lenses, increasing production capability on one machine. Their flagship generator, the HSC Master, is now available with an expanded range of options, including real-time performance optimization and on-board laser marking.

Gerber Coburn

Expanding their lens generation platform, Gerber Coburn’s latest version DTL is an affordable high speed, dry-cut, single point diamond turning lathe that employs precision diamond machining technology for traditional, cut-to-polish, and digital lens processing. Built for speed and precision, the unique Hyper Speed Axis-Cutting Controller, self-contained Cutting/Swarf Chamber, and User Interface promote high lens throughput, ease of operation, and a clean environment.

DTL uses multi-data points to ensure that semi-finished blanks are surfaced, cribbed, and safety beveled in a fast and accurate process. This helps to reduce lens spoilage while optimizing lens and lap cycle times. And, because the DTL uses a dry-cut process, the need for an expensive water-reclaiming filtration system is eliminated. Whether labs process 250, 500, or 1,000 or more jobs a day, high speed, cut-to-polish, or direct to surface, DTL’s industrial-strength, and expandable platform helps labs improve productivity and cut operating costs. For those labs seeking to further reduce their labor costs by automating the process, an automated version is available. Generating with Options

DAC International

DAC International has announced the release of their new product—High Definition (HD) Slab-off (base up prism) and Slab-on lens (base down prism) processing capability. Available as part of the RxD Specialty Lens Menu, an optional feature of the DAC Surfacing System, the RxD Lathe can now process slab-offs and slab-ons using HD, also know as direct surfacing or cut-to-polish technology, in all cast lens materials (no polycarbonate, Trivex or Phoenix materials).

Utilizing the HD surfacing process on slabs offers several advantages to the optical laboratory. HD processing allows the operator to split the prism required to balance the vertical imbalance in the seg. This is particularly advantageous when a large amount of slab-off prism is required. The patient will gain more comfortable optics, thinner lenses, and better aesthetics. The slab line is always accurately positioned and less visible, particularly on PAL lenses, where the slab line can be made almost invisible. The higher power accuracy benefit is a result of the back curves being cut to exact specifications, no rounding to the nearest diopter. Plus, the process offers a faster turn around of slab orders. The DAC Specialty Lens Menu offers the ability to manufacture hard to get, hard to process lens designs, as well as designs that have never been possible before. Slab-offs and slab-ons increase the range of specialty lenses now offered.

OptoTech

OptoTech‘s smartLAB “Powerline” offers all the components needed for fully automatic production, based on the ultra-modern OptoTech production concept in conjunction with a high-quality surface design. Through the optimal combination of their ASM 80 TC generator, ASP 80-W-A Wheel Polishing and their Digital-Surfacing FEM Polisher ASP 80 DT-A, a production rate of up to 50 lenses per hour is possible (inside-progressive lenses).

OptoTech has also introduced a new blocker series, “Plano-Blocking and CNC-Blocking Equipment.” The OptoTech OTB 80 M Plano Blocker is the ideal alloy blocker for small and midsize laboratories. It comes with an alignment system using two video cameras and a 17” flat screen. The newly designed OptoTech CNC-controlled 2-Station Alloy Blocker is equipped with automatic adjusting prism angle, prism basis, and axis of the blocking chuck.

Satisloh

Satisloh will be offering customers various engraving solutions for their lab’s demands. An optional integrated engraving tool is available for Satisloh VFT-Ultra and the VFT-Compact generators—an economical solution for lower volume direct surfacing production. Satisloh’s new laser powered Lens-Engraver-LC is engineered for higher volume direct surfacing production labs that want to maximize the output of their direct-to-surface generators.

The VFT-Ultra/VFT-Compact with integrated engraving tool is able to engrave semi-visible markings on direct-to-surface lenses. With maximum positioning accuracy and no extra lens handling, the lenses are ready for polishing and deblocking. A Satisloh field service engineer can upgrade the current VFT-Ultra and -Compact generators.

The Lens-Engraver-LC engraves characters, logos, and geometrical shapes on all organic lens material, convex and concave. The fast, automatic operation can load manually or with optional automation. The product automatically focuses on z-height utilizing topographic lens data transmitted via data interface from suitable server systems. The Lens-Engraver-C has low operating costs due to virtually consumable-free processing and low maintenance.

Polishing

With an active year of upgrading and replacing, adopting and changing, and the ever increasing use of the Internet for information, ordering and receiving jobs through remote order entry, optical laboratories have been busy keeping up with technology. The engineers for equipment manufacturers, however, have been busy adding the ‘spit and polish’ to new features and new products for polishing lenses.

DAC International

The new DAC International NSLP offers the latest in computer controlled soft lap polishing. The X axis controls the motion of the dual heads, following a pre-programmed path for optimum polishing efficiency.

The NSLP utilizes one soft air tool to polish all curves generated by the DAC RxD Lathe, including spherical, toric and complex digital lens surfaces. One tool does it all. In addition, the soft air tool features computer controlled, adjustable motion, pressure and time cycles to assure consistent, but adjustable removal rates. This insures the delivery of superb optical surface accuracy in a variety of materials, surface configurations and lens designs.

The HMI (Human Monitor Interface) with touch screen input provides clearly displayed operational information regarding lap position, pressure, lap and lens RPM, and cycle time remaining. The same HMI is used to program polishing routines.

Gerber Coburn

Gerber Coburn presents the Multi-Axis Adaptive Technology (MAAT) sub-aperture polisher that works seamlessly with the DRL, the affordable, high-performance dry-cut lens generator series, mentioned above. Together, these robust systems process traditional and backside complex curves in any lens material, quickly and accurately. This unique polisher precisely positions and orients the lens in five degrees of freedom, while the sixth degree controls the pressure applied to the lens during the polishing process. The high-speed spindle, rotating at speeds between 1,000 to 2,000 rpm, expedites the material removal process. Combining the six degrees of control with the high –speed spindle rotation results in a high quality, uniformly polished lens in less time than conventional fining and polishing methods. The sub-aperture polishing system eliminates traditional lap inventory and management. The MAAT system, whether manual or automated, will deliver a superior lens finish.

OptoTech

Thanks to the ultra-modern “cut-to-polish” technology including edge and prism production used on OptoTech’s Generator ASM 80 CNC-TC, all surfaces can now be polished direct after grinding on their new cylinder polishing machines—TORILAB X1. OptoTech’s new Digital-Surfacing Polisher ASP 80 DT will offer high speed polishing of two toric/atoric or backside progressive lenses simultaneously.

Continuing to stress low operations costs due to the long life expected of the polishing tools and high process reliability, the ASP 80 DT will offer consistent, reproducible surface quality along with a high output for toric and digital surfaces.

Mid-sized and Small Lab Systems

Schneider

For mid-sized and small labs, Schneider introduces a complete set of cost-effective surfacing equipment. Their small surfacing line starts with the manual blocker CB bond which has been specifically designed to meet the higher requirements of precise and reliable prismatic blocking, which perfectly supports a compact Rx and direct surfacing production platform.

Schneider’s small but fully capable generator HSC Smart enables the profitable production of high-quality Rx or direct surfaced lenses in the manual or automated mode. The all new small polisher, CP Swift, is able to polish all direct surfaced lens designs as well as the complete Rx range. The polisher now works with the same process technology of the larger polishers CCP 102/103, simplifying the tool handling and resulting in an excellent performance/price ratio.

In the small surfacing line, there are now two very affordable options to mark the direct surfaced lenses in progress: on board of the HSC Smart, or with the new table-top CCL laser marking unit. The Phase Measuring Deflectometer, now available as a compact version, is first hand proof of the excellent quality of lenses made on the Schneider equipment.

OptoTech

OptoTech has brought the smartLAB “Lean” to the market. A cost-efficient lab for the production of plastic ophthalmic lenses, it is ideal for small labs wanting to produce high-quality Rx-lenses with a minimum of stock costs. This system can produce aspheric prescriptions, atoric prescriptions and backside–progressive lenses. The high-quality generator, ASM 80 TC can perform both edging and surfacing operations, including elliptical surfaces. Based on the OptoTech ASP 80 FEM polishing technology, all surfaces can be polished by using one of only two long-life FEM tools. The new “lean” production concept creates the lowest consumable cost for backside progressive lenses. The processing times are approximately 1.2-2.0min for grinding and 1.5-2.0 min for polishing.

The equipment manufacturers continue to bring new products and new options to the market that will meet a very basic need—the ability to manufacture a quality product in less time but at a higher accuracy and precision than every before achieved, for a return on investment that is commercially viable. Here’s to the successful new surfacing equipment technology introduced in 2007! And may 2008 continue to bring exciting lens processing technology to the market.


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August/September LabTalk 2017