TIME FOR A NEW POLISHER?

By Julie Bos

Sooner or later, every lens lab faces the need for a new polisher. Either business has grown and they need to create an additional processing line, or their old polisher has become unreliable and is ready for replacement. Either way, labs are left with the crucial question: What’s the right polisher for my lab right now?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options, and new technology advancements are making the latest polishers better than ever. Today’s polishers can even help labs consolidate and streamline multiple processing lines by polishing both freeform lenses and conventional Rx lenses on the same line. Check out the latest polishing technology releases from three of the industry’s top equipment manufacturers.

COBURN TECHNOLOGIES: COBALT-DP  SOFT-TOOL LENS POLISHER

The latest polisher from Coburn Technologies is the Cobalt-DP soft-tool lens polisher, intended for use with the Cobalt-DS Cold-Mist lens generator or comparable competitive digital generator. In addition to excellent surface clarity, this polisher only requires two soft tool laps for polishing the complete range of lens curves—one for 80 percent of range, and one for the remaining 20 percent.

This translates to better efficiency for today’s labs—both from a skill and time standpoint. Why? The fewer tool changes a lab needs to make, the better.

The Coburn Cobalt-DP polisher can accommodate both conventional and freeform lenses, provided that the generator used is capable of a “cut to polish” surface finish. A “cut to polish” finish enables a lab to skip the fining step of the fining/polishing process used for conventional lens production and go straight to polishing.  A few additional benefits of the Cobalt-DP polisher include:

»  A haze-free polishing process leaves lenses crystal clear after polishing so coating is not required to obtain optical clarity.

»  Only two soft tool laps are needed for polishing the widest lens curve range.

»  80 percent of range is accomplished with just one lap.

»  Variable axis controls allow for more precision and customizable control of the polishing process.

»  Features a manual rinse station with foot peddle operation.

»  Isolated polishing chambers allow for polishing two one-eye jobs, of different materials, at the same time.

For more product information, visit www.coburntechnologies.com

SATISLOH: DUO-FLEX AND TORO-FLEX POLISHERS

The most recent polishers from Satisloh North America are the Duo-FLEX fully automated digital lens polisher and the Toro-FLEX manual digital lens polisher.

Duo-FLEX is a fully automated, dual lens, computer controlled soft tool polishing system. It offers high-process stability, throughput and economics through the following benefits:

»  Polished lenses are pre-cleaned and dried in the washing station before returning to the tray; eliminating slurry residue on lenses.

»  An automatic loading arm simultaneously handles lenses and tools for high throughput.

»  A large tool magazine drum with 72 tools holds up to seven types of polishing tool geometries

»  This device polishes concave, spherical, toric, freeform surfaces in all presently known organic materials and all kinds of lenses

»  It delivers high yields and no lens damage: Two, four-finger grippers hold both lenses without touching the polished and pre-cleaned surface.

Toro-FLEX is a manually operated, dual lens, CNC-controlled soft tool polishing system that’s also designed for easy operation. Two lenses are loaded simultaneously into the lens polishing spindles, as well as two flexible polishing tools. A few benefits include:

»  This device polishes concave, spherical, toric, free-form surfaces in all presently known organic materials.

»  Tangential polishing kinematic ensures stable process and optimized lens quality.

»  It delivers high process security through an encoded tool interface system.

»  Software-based tool selection ensures proper tool selection and application.

»  Tool selection indicated with green LED lights.

»  Expired tool life signaled with red LED lights.

Both systems can polish both conventional (toric) surfaces and free-form (atoric) surfaces, eliminating the need for labs to segregate free-form lens production from their conventional production lines. Keep in mind; soft tool polishing requires a surface that can only be produced by a digital generator. To learn more, visit www.satisloh.com.

SCHNEIDER OPTICAL MACHINES: ADVANCED POLISHING SYSTEM (APS)

Schneider has introduced the new APS polishing system available for its manually loaded CCP Swift and its new CCP Modulo automated polisher. APS now provides polish productivity up to 50 percent faster than previous systems, thanks to a unique combination of a new barcode identifiable pad system and new machinery kinematics that produce material- and prescription-specific processes for optimal speed and quality.

Schneider designed the fully CNC controlled CCP Swift polisher specifically for small labs or manually operated larger labs to master free-form as well as Rx polishing with ease. The manually loaded machine includes the quality-defining features of the industry-leading automated soft-lap polishers CCP 102/103 like usage of Schneider’s permanent pads, multi-step polishing cycles and modern macro technology. The intelligent tool management monitors the usage of the pads and indicates when tool replacement is necessary. The transfer of Schneider’s proven and successful polishing technology to the compact class guarantees excellent and consistent results for even the tightest equipment budgets. Additional benefits include:

»   Compact footprint, economical design

»   Polishing of all freeform designs on the market

»   Superb surface quality

»   High throughput

»   Eliminates hard laps for Rx surfaces

»   “Click-easy” disposable tools

With the CCP Modulo, labs get an extraordinarily powerful two-lens polisher for free-form and Rx lenses. The system’s innovative machine kinematics enables polishing of a very wide range of curvatures, never accomplished before. By running all processing in parallel—tool handling and lens handling, lens cleaning and lens polishing—the throughput has been  significantly increased compared to leading industrial soft-lap polishers.

The new process technology allows for a perfect optimization of the material-specific parameters and tools resulting in significant cost savings per lens. The intelligent interface and conveyor concept of the CCP Modulo enables plug-and-play integration into the Modulo Line environment at any stage of lab expansion—from new production startup to any number of additions to a growing digital-surfacing lab.

In addition, the new CCP Modulo now processes curves up to 18 diopters, whereas the maximum curve on all previous technology was 14 diopters. This increase greatly expands the range capabilities of digital surfacing.

With the CCP Swift and CCP Modulo polishers, there’s no need to segregate lens types, since the intelligent polish process on all Schneider products—manual or automated—can easily handle freeform and standard Rx lenses on the same line. This is important for labs that don’t want their polisher investments to limit the types of lenses they may want to run today or in the future.  For more product details, visit www.schneider-om.com

[Sidebar]

Making a Smart Choice: Conventional or Free-form?

If you’re considering a new polisher you may be wondering: Should I create and maintain two separate polishing lines (one for free-form lenses and one for conventional lenses) or invest in one consolidated platform?

Most likely, the answer depends on your lab’s work volume. For example if you run a high volume of standard lenses, you may not want to slow down your general production to run more complicated free-form jobs. In this case, maintaining two separate polishers may make more sense.

Lab owners need to keep in mind that the ROI on a free-form polisher may not be worth it if they’re not currently processing (or seeing a demand for) enough free-form jobs. If your lab doesn’t run a high volume of standard lenses, it might be wiser to invest in a free-form lens polisher since it can accommodate both types of lenses. This strategy can help streamline some operational expenses, while accommodating all your current jobs and helping you better prepare for the future.

[Sidebar]

Ask Yourself This

When considering any new equipment purchase (whether generator or polisher), Ian Gregg, director of sales for Satisloh, urges every lab to ask themselves two important questions:

  • Does this investment make sense with the future in mind?
  • Does this investment have an immediate, positive impact on my lab?

 

If you can confidently answer “yes” to both, you’re on the right track to making a wise business investment and a strategically smart move.  


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Labtalk-November/December 2017