CUTTING-EDGE EDGERS: WHAT'S NEW AND HOW YOU CAN OPTIMIZE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE

By Julie Bos
As the country emerges from a global recession and continues to face high levels of uncertainty, there’s one thing on every lab’s mind: efficiency. Labs everywhere are still trying to do more with less, while balancing spikes and dips in production, labor and sales. Maintaining a competitive advantage has never been more important—and having cutting-edge equipment that takes productivity to razor-sharp levels is key. If your edgers are aging or your job diversity is changing, it may be time to invest in something new. You may just unlock new levels of efficiency (and profitability, too!). To help your lab stay up-to-date on the latest edging breakthroughs, we’ve assembled the latest offerings from several industry leaders:

AltaZd—Briot
Perfect for small lab applications, the new Alta Zd edger from Briot offers maximum creativity, extraordinary stability, and boasts flawless execution of the most complex jobs with speed, precision, and ease. The small finishing wheel allows for elaborate finishing capability while reducing the use of the drill/mill tool. The Alta Zd is also fully versatile and easily adapts to individual requirements including a partial processing function and ability to combine a groove together with a V-Bevel. This machine delivers consistent and reliable results with accuracy measuring 1/100th of a millimeter.

Exxpert Finishing Systems—Coburn Technologies
The Exxpert series is the next generation of Coburn Technologies’ Excelon series, providing solid versatility and efficiency for today’s low-to-medium volume labs. All the finishing processes—from tracing to edging—are fully optimized with advanced 3-Dimensional Digital Technology for higher productivity.
Each system features Customized Lens Edging and a graphical display guides users through easier handling throughout the entire edging processes. Beveling, polishing, grooving and safety beveling processes are completely integrated and easily performed by a simple touch of a button. The Exxpert HPE-8000 series seamlessly finishes plastic, hi-index, polycarbonate and Trivex, offering the widest range of bevel options available. With accelerated long-life milling technology, super hydrophobic axis twisting is eliminated, and with the optional drill unit, virtually any lens shape or hole pattern is possible.

Combine any Exxpert or Excelon series edger with any compatible tracer and blocker for a complete solution that can be customized to meet your specific finishing needs. If you need solid results with the smallest equipment footprint, consider the Exxpert Automatic Lens Tracer/Blocker, a one-stop solution that combines the functions of a tracer, lensmeter and blocker in one powerful system.

ES-curve—Satisloh
The ES-curve is the latest addition to Satisloh’s industrial finishing product line. Utilizing proven National Optronics’ 5-axis finishing technology, the articulating bevel, groove, and drilling process provide a great fit for even the most challenging shapes and wraps. The ES-curve is equipped with seven on-board tools for multi-task edging, and additional tools for complete edging capabilities can be programmed. With ever-changing eyewear fashions trending more and more toward challenging finishes like high-wraps and shelved lenses, complex edging is more necessary than ever. The ES-Curve’s 5-axis edging technology provides that solution, offering complex edging that can help labs create a new profit center. In addition, the ES-curve easily handles AR edging because of its unique roughing process that reduces lens stress and torque, making it an ideal edger for finishing delicate and slippage-prone lens coatings.

HSE Freestyle Edger—Schneider
Schneider’s HSE Freestyle is a true five-axis edger based on a solid industrial machine frame. It brings flexibility and robustness to the production floor, which are two “must-haves” in today’s high-volume and diversified finishing labs. Up to 16 on-board processing tools enable the HSE Freestyle to cover any edging requirement (specialties included). A conveyor feeds the machine automatically with new jobs, which are swiftly picked up by the automatic handling.

Schneider’s goal is to help every person get an individually corrected free-form progressive, along with the full freedom to combine optimal function with virtually any form of frame they like. HSE Freestyle helps the company advance this goal. Designed with the same high standards as Schneider’s surfacing solutions, the HSE Freestyle edger kicks off a new area of high-tech industrial processing for standard Rx frames up to the latest complex styles, all in one machine.

EzFit—MEI
The EzFit edger is a new solution that brings milling technology within reach of all labs. EzFit enables labs to increase edging productivity, as well as flexibility, through fast, accurate edging of simple and complex edge types. With the use of four spindles, labs will have the ability to process jobs that require straight bevels, inclined bevels, rimless lenses with drill holes, grooves, and polishing, in addition to step back edges. The EzFit has a compact footprint (750x680x(h)1.500) and is easy to use.

Xtrimer SE-1 Industrial Edger—Santinelli International
Santinelli International has introduced dry cut lens edging technology with the advent of its all-new Xtrimer SE-1 Industrial Edger. The unit, with unmatched true 5-Axis edging technology, is expected to be in final production by mid-year.

With its robust construction yet compact size, the Xtrimer SE-1 will be suitable to any lab volume environment and capable of processing all organic lens materials, including polycarbonate and Trivex. The all-new milling platform will feature the company’s signature quality high-curve beveling, grooving, drilling, polishing, safety beveling, customized shelf beveling, inclined beveling and partial step beveling. The Xtrimer SE-1 will be available as a stand-alone edger and is also designed to connect to the new RHU-2200 high-volume Robotic Handing System and first-generation RHU-1000 systems—conveyor or stacker. 

How Can You Prolong the Life of Your Edger?

Perhaps you’re not in the market for a new edger, but you certainly want to get the most life from the edgers you already have. If so, keep these best practices in mind.

• Be Maintenance-Minded—The single most over-looked area of edging is often the strict adherence to daily, weekly or monthly routine preventative maintenance. Ironically, the constant rush to get work out often supersedes the routine care of equipment, which can quickly derail productivity. Make sure you fully understand each piece of equipment’s routine maintenance obligations—or consider investing in the manufacturer’s post-warranty service coverage options.

• Train Your Team—You also need to make sure that your people are properly trained to run and manage your equipment. Most industrial edgers are automated but they still need a skilled technician to ensure that the machine is operating at peak performance. Checking the tools for wear, cleaning the machines nightly and ensuring that regular maintenance schedules are adhered to will most certainly prolong the life of the equipment and help you achieve a good ROI.

• Keep Your Water System Clean—Whether you have a direct line filter or bucket system, check it and clean it regularly. It’s the equivalent of changing the oil in your car, and it’s one of the most common (preventable) causes of lens breakage and equipment damage.


• Get Educated About Lens Coatings—Since each lens manufacturer’s coating has different characteristics, check with each about the correct procedure for their specific lenses. Not following the appropriate guidelines can cause unexpected removal of the block and/or slippage on the roughing wheel during the edging process, which can ruin the job—and damage your machine.

• Slow Down—For some jobs, decrease the feed speed during the roughing cycle. This reduces the torque on the blocked lens and helps prevent both slippage and breakage.

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May/June LabTalk 2017