Automation is Great But… You Still Need Someone Around Who Knows How to Make a Lens

By John Greco, Superior Optical
Starting out in this industry 35 years ago cutting tools on a Coburn 302 lab cutter was maybe not a bad thing. A gentleman named Ernest taught me how to figure inside curves and how to cut cast iron laps with compensation for the foil pad thickness.

This was running glass of course. There were no computers that did all of those calculations for you. Ernest taught me how to take the vendor front curve and figure out inside base and cross curves along with calculating thickness; figure out the amount of prism needed for decentration; and the prism axis, all by hand and a protractor. Better hope it didn’t need to be cribbed because all you had was a pair of “crimping pliers.” How long ago that was, but it taught me the basic understanding of optics and how to manufacture lenses.

Today you have LMS (Lab Management Software) that does all that for you. Someone that has computer skills now inputs an order into the LMS and it spits out a lab ticket with all the pertinent data. No manual blocking or setting up a Coburn 112 to generate that job. It’s all machine interfaces with LMS. Key it in and push a button or better yet, it’s all robotic.

I guess I was lucky, because now if someone tells me a job is thick, off power, off axis, or has prism I know where to start looking. No waiting for a machine field tech or a return call from LMS support staff to help resolve the problem.

Automation is a good thing, but someone still needs to know how it all works. Wonder how many folks are starting out this way now?


Labtalk June 2020