What You Need to Know About...Schneider Optical Machinery

By Christie Walker
Gunter Schneider is proud of the company he has built and it comes through when he talks about the people, the technology and the future of digital surfacing.

“Schneider is a family-owned company. In 1993, I had the idea for creating a generator that would surface a lens without lap tools. We started the free-form story. It’s my baby. In 1998, we came out with the first free-form generator,” said Schneider, owner and CEO of Schneider Optical Machinery. “As the original pioneers of free-form technology, we feel that our continued innovations are keeping us ahead of the pack.”

Based in Germany, Schneider also has plants in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, and Singapore. Schneider didn’t open a U.S. location until 2004 when it purchased a 7,500 sq. foot facility in Carrolton, Texas. Six years later, the business had grown too large to be contained in the Carrolton building and moved to a new location at The Colony, Texas. Schneider was instrumental in the design of the new facility, down to the color of the paint.

“We needed more space for this growing technology. We needed a larger warehouse and a state-of-the-art training facility with an area for hands-on demonstrations and training on our generators,” said Schneider. “We have made a commitment to the U.S. market with not only this new building, but a new building in Germany to support continued U.S. growth.”

Almost twice as large as their previous location, the new building houses 18 employees, new training and demonstration spaces, plus offices and a meeting room. Along with the new building, a new position was created, technical operations manager. Michael Junker has stepped into this new position and oversees all service functions including inventory management.

The company plans to take advantage of the new space immediately with the debut of an educational conference called DigiCon, for the advancement of digital lens processing. DigiCon is short for digital conference, and will be exclusively for Schneider customer labs.

“We are renewing our commitment to customer education and training with an opportunity for lab personnel to come to our new facility for three days of intensive training and troubleshooting for operators,” said Kurt Atchison, president, Schneider Optical Machinery. “We have so many new customers that we felt it was time to bring them together to show them how to get the most from the digital surfacing process.”

The three day DigiCon, slated for May 4th – 7th, will cover all facets of digital surfacing including an executive conference on Friday where presentations on new developments, technology, processes and philosophy will be made.

“We feel there is a need to get digital surfacing labs together,” said Atchison. “And now with our new facility, we can do just that.”

“We want to do the best for the customer. We are not beholden to shareholders or parent companies. That is the freedom of being independent,” said Schneider. “And we will use that freedom to create better machines and processes.”

“We are going to show our customers that we are way out front when it comes to the technology of digital surfacing. And we plan to stay there,” said Atchison.

“We are not standing still,” Schneider agreed. “And neither should you.”

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May/June LabTalk 2017