Expert Advice, January/February 2013

By Staff

We’ve asked industry experts to serve up a fresh helping of advice for optical lab owners and managers on everything from equipment, to processes, from lenses to software. Check out what they have to say on topics near and dear to  the lab community.



There are two big ways to improve the performance of your current UV coating machine that can take a little research, but lend big results and cost savings. The first is to evaluate the brand of coating you are using. It is important to note that the most expensive or even least expensive doesn’t always mean the best performance. To find out how well coatings perform, ask your coating supplier for an independent test report (one not performed by the supplier themselves). All values are important to compare, but the “yield” percent is usually a good indicator of the overall performance. Yield in the lab is often most visible in tinting performance results. Remember that improving breakage by even half a percent can add up to big savings over time, especially if you run a high volume for spin coated lenses.

The second area you can improve are the components within your machine. Technology improves all the time, and better components that are available today at a good price may not have come standard on your coating machine when you bought it. Certain components like the lamps and especially the pump motors can be replaced with other higher performance components for better longevity and fewer replacements. When a component breaks, don’t assume a direct replacement with the same part is your only option. Even though the “better” component may cost a little more, chances are it will last much longer, saving you money on future replacements and downtime. Curt Brey, Vice President of  Marketing and Business Development, Coburn Technologies




As digital surfacing goes from a new technology to the new standard, there is a need to make sure that you are running the best possible process for your equipment. Do you have the latest process consumables and optimized processes available from your equipment supplier? Process enhancements are coming quickly, so take the time to confirm with your equipment supplier that your process is optimized. The best example is new high performance polishes and polish tools. The new process is less than half the cost per lens as previous processes. For example, Schneider’s new Perma X Advanced Polishing System utilizes long lasting polish tools and polish to help improve throughput and reduce labor and lens cost. The new Schneider Perma X pad alone lasts 2-3 times longer than the old pad. And the polish increases stock removal and provides even better surface quality. The new opportunity with longer life polish pads saves on labor costs and cost per lens. Make sure you have the latest offerings. Despite a lot of effort from the suppliers, we still find users who are not aware of the obvious benefits and therefore don’t get the most from their process. Make sure you are up to speed and ensure you’re making the best of your investment in digital processing. And don’t miss out on something that may provide a real enhancement to your laboratory. Most suppliers are more than eager to discuss process enhancements and ways to save you on your processing costs. Kevin Cross, Director of Sales,  North America, Schneider Optical Machines



Capturing accurate data of today’s most complex frame shapes and high curves and achieving first-time “lens-to-frame fit” can be a challenging part of the lens finishing process. However, over the last ten years, the development of innovative tracing technology has advanced fairly dramatically, addressing these challenges and resulting in unprecedented levels of accuracy. Realizing that accurate 3D tracing is the single most critical element in getting a finished Rx into a frame the first time, tracing has received more and more attention from labs as a very important investment.

The newest technologies encompass the highest levels of data points of reference per eye (e.g.: Santinelli LT-1000 Tracer’s 1,000 points) and vastly improved tracer frame-design capabilities including tracer speed, software and mechanical developments. One such improvement is a uniquely engineered stylus core mechanism, which minimizes the stylus-to-frame bezel pressure by 50 percent, eliminating distortion in even the thinnest and most flexible “high wrap” frames. Santinelli’s new LT-980 Tracer sports a variable-fulcrum stylus that always keeps the stylus-to-frame approach angle perpendicular, regardless of degree of frame curve, collecting and sending the most accurate digitized data possible to an LMS.

Tracers have traditionally been the most meticulous technology in a lab setting and are all too often not properly maintained to general maintenance procedure standards. Tracer stylus construction materials have now evolved to include tungsten (e.g.: Santinelli LT-980), which extends stylus life and eliminates abrasion or friction concerns when capturing trace data. Lastly, internal engineering advancements bring consistent operation function that “debris proofs” the frame holding areas, preventing buildup and deposit into the core element mechanics. This is a new hallmark achievement of the latest in tracing technology that labs should demand, therein reducing cost of ownership and securing the long-term volume usage of the product. Steve Swalgen, National Director, Lab Business, Santinelli International


Labtalk June 2020