What’s Sizzling Hot in Edger Technology?

By Christie Walker

Innovate or die. That seems to be the mantra of the equipment side of the optical industry. But it’s not just innovation for the sake of something new. Oftentimes the innovation is the result of customer feedback. Lab technicians working on the “front lines” understand what works and what doesn’t and often send their requests (complaints) to their equipment partners, who then set to work solving problems and coming up with more elegant solutions.

The edger piece of the production puzzle is no stranger to the push toward new innovations.  Customer demands include:

•The inclusion of tracing

•Speed

• Accuracy

• 5-Axis edging

• The ability to customize

• Block free edging

• Automation

• Machines that can do it all

• Consistent quality

• Flexibility

• High Throughput

• Minimal Maintenance

• Greater first-time fits

• Ease-of-Use

And of course, all at an affordable price. While not any one machine can do it all, edger manufacturers are working to find solutions with new technologies.

“Here at Schneider, we are hearing a lot about automation and not just simple auto-loading and unloading of the lenses but “smart” automation – the ability for the edger to handle whatever is being thrown at it with minimal to no operator involvement,” said Kevin Cross, sales director, North America, Schneider Optical Machines. “We are looking at a level of cognitive awareness in the machine so that it can keep the work flowing through the lab while letting the lab management team know that there are maintenance requirements coming up or that a tool will need changing or that a worn tool is no longer being used so as to avoid damaging any lenses – this information flow from the machine to the management system is critical to a successful operation.

Santinelli customers are looking for more simplicity. “Our customers don’t want overkill. For example, they don’t want large costly machines tailored to do five to 10 percent of their specialty work when lower cost or alternative edging options are available,” explained Steve Swalgen, national director of lab business, Santinelli, International. “Simply put, bread and butter workhorses should do bread and butter (lower cost) jobs proficiently, and complex work should go to select specialty cells and edgers for doing just those type of jobs. ROI’s can become clouded when one machine fitting all needs is the sell, but not the floor reality.”

First time fit and ease-of-use is on the minds of National Optronic customers. “While accuracy has gotten better over the years, there is always a demand for greater first-time fits, helping customers improve their throughput and quality, thus making them more competitive,” said Kevin Paddy, director of finishing, National Optronics/Satisloh. “Ease-of-use remains at the forefront as well, as a way to produce complex jobs and not make finishing a bottle neck. And finally, reducing finishing consumables costs is an important concern as well. Recent blockless technologies have reduced the need for finishing consumables, making profit margins more attractive.”

That’s quite the laundry list, but edger manufacturers seem up to the challenge.  Here’s how manufacturers are meeting customer expectations and providing new equipment that meets the demands of the modern optical lab.

BRIOT ANSWERING CUSTOMER DEMANDS…

“We just launched Perception at Vision Expo East, and it’s been incredibly popular,” said Katherine Allen, marketing manager, Briot. “It answers customer demands with a new patented optical tracing technology that speeds up job processing, features an easy-to-use graphical touch screen, and offers higher end technology and all featured at an entry level price points.”

WHAT TO EXPECT AT VISION EXPO WEST…

“We are launching a new edging system that will redefine state-of-the-art edging,” said Allen. “It has features never before seen in an edging system.”

The new Attitude edger includes the Shack Hartmann sensor, which allows wavefront based power mapping of the lens. Other features include a swivel stylus, 30-second tracing, “swipe” screens (think IPad or SmartPhone) for ease-of-use and navigation, high-curve tilted bevel technology, real step bevel, the ability to configure the step width and depth and much more.

SANTINELLI ANSWERING CUSTOMER DEMANDS…

“Santinelli has been able to address the needs of our customers for high-volume standard production edging with our AES-2200 automated systems, as well as, “stand-alone” industrial tabletop units (SE-9090-Supra 24/7), while complementing it with “design centric” and more economic tabletop technologies (ME-1200 edger),” explains Swalgen. “Also, being able to build into automation without having to swallow it all at once is a nice convenience and economic choice for many labs. Our SE-9090-Supra edger is the integral edger to our dual unit AES-2200 robotic while the Xtrimer SE-1 5-axis dry cut milling edger is the core element of the dual unit ADS-2200 robotic system.”

WHAT TO EXPECT AT VISION EXPO WEST…

“Our marketing of our now production unit ready and placed, Xtrimer SE-1 is continuing to rollout to the labs,” said Swalgen.

Santinelli’s most popular edging solutions will be on display at VEW. The 24/7 SE-9090-Supra with its in-chamber grooving, high wrap edging, and bevel customization remains a standard bearer for labs as it plays to any volume need. Its ease-of-use for operators coupled with simple maintenance best practices allows for a durable and long-lasting product life.

MEI ANSWERING CUSTOMER DEMANDS…

“We build a partnership with our customers by answering their questions, listening and implementing their ideas, and improving together,” explained Barry Lee, North America sales rep, MEI. “We also offer several edging platforms to meet their various demands. Over the years, we have developed new edgers with similar capabilities but vary in cost, size and throughput based on our customer’s needs. Our customers don’t want to have multiple edger platforms in order to process the multitude of frame and edge types prevalent in today’s market. They want a standalone machine that can process nearly all of their product offerings.”

WHAT TO EXPECT AT VISION EXPO WEST…

“Actually, we introduced our new edger at MIDO and VEE in early 2015. This new edger, called the Racer, completely integrates the blockless lens inspection process and edging into a single unit with our highest throughput yet,” said Lee. “While maintaining the same footprint as our popular Bisphera TBA edger, the Racer has a throughput that is at least 50 percent higher. Installations are set to begin in early 2016.”

SCHNEIDER ANSWERING CUSTOMER DEMANDS…

“The HSE Modulo is the latest in high performance edging. With its independent spindles the HSE Modulo edger is able to cut each lens to the exact frame and Rx dimensions necessary without compromise,” said Cross. “The HSE has an unparalleled level of quality and incredibly high first pass yields, which lends itself to a demanding and  high production environment. Able to cut any shape, any bevel placement and any drill, the HSE Modulo is truly an “all-in-one” edger that delivers to even the most discriminating of standards. The HSE Modulo can be fully-integrated into the Schneider Modulo Control Center as either a standalone machine or as part of a complete line to provide real time process data back to the lab management team.  The HSE Modulo edger can utilize a wide array of finish blocks to edge or can be set up to go “Block-Less” (BLS Option) – your choice. With capacity that can reach 45-50+ pair per hour, the HSE Modulo is one of the fastest and most accurate edgers available on the market.”

WHAT TO EXPECT AT VISION EXPO WEST…

Released a little more than a year ago, the HSE Modulo will be on display at Vision Expo West. HSE Modulo’s ability to meet the accuracy and capacity demands of today’s high production labs has made it one of the most popular edgers available, according to the company.

NATIONAL OPTRONICS/SATISLOH ANSWERING CUSTOMER DEMANDS…

“The ES-5, like its predecessor the ES-4, uses linear drive systems. This magnetic drive technology provides superior accuracy without the mechanical wear seen in conventional industrial systems,” explains Paddy. “Satisloh’s ES-curve utilizes 5-axis technology for edging even the most complex shapes. Its user interface, while powerful and flexible, allows for even the most novice operator to edge complex shapes with minimal training.”

WHAT TO EXPECT AT VISION EXPO WEST…

“We’re showing our new ES-5, which features an integrated lens inspection system that checks Rx power and cut-out of lenses, eliminating additional inspection steps prior to edging,” said Paddy. “It easily detects and inspects even low powered single vision and prismatic lenses ensuring precise decentration for all lenses.”

National Optronics has three successful edgers, each fitting the diverse needs of the marketplace. The 7Ex is by far their most popular edger, fulfilling needs for all sizes of finishing operations. This industrialized tabletop edger provides robustness, features, and accuracy other edgers in this category cannot, according to the company.

The ES-curve is Satisloh’s 5-axis edger, providing the greatest amount of flexibility. With its ability to edge complex shapes like interchangeable lenses and high wraps, the ES-curve gives customers the ability to edge jobs that otherwise could not be.

Satisloh’s ES-5 features the latest in edging innovations, designed using the successful platform of our ES-4, one of the industry’s most popular automated industrial edgers. The ES-5 incorporates blockless edging, allowing for greater throughput and lower consumables costs.

 

 

 

 

 


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May/June LabTalk 2017