Expert Advice September/October 2014

By staff

Finishing Specialization and Production Volume in one Platform

Labs of all sizes have routinely separated their edgers into select categories (specialized, rimless vs. bread & butter, etc…). This long-standing psychology can lead to seemingly odd combinations of edging choices. For instance a lab may have one robotic edger and five manual edger’s, as well as, a hand-stone.  But now that Santinelli has recently introduced their new “5 axis” dry cut milling edger, the SE-1 X-trimer, there is an alternative more cost efficient way to go. This all-encompassing conservative footprint edging wonder will accommodate any lab dynamic of volume throughput and specialization.

The SE-1 can be a stand-alone manually-fed unit, attached to a single-arm robotic element, or married to our high speed RHU-2200 dual-armed robotic system allowing multiple job processing simultaneously. Whether it’s faceting with polish, shelf bevelling Trivex with a hook, or pushing out the “bread and butter” jobs at speeds not previously seen in an industrial robotic (our “ADS-2200” w/two SE-1’s), this unit delivers! Most common dry cut milling edger’s feature 4 axis technology which can make getting a consistent shelf thickness on a high wrap difficult. The SE-1 “5 axis” engineering technology overcomes this deficit inherently. Lastly, the SE-1 has outside the edger based software (iRx server/editor), connectable to any LMS, that provides for design customization or editing to any job without ever stopping the edger and its workflow. Polish quality can be varied based on quality need and JPH being sought.

The complete union of specialized beveling, high wrap customization, drilling speed and artistry with previously unseen throughput levels in one edging platform vs. a slew of different tabletops has now arrived.  Steve Swalgen, Santinelli International

Say ‘Goodbye’ to Alloy Blocking

Surface blocking and de-blocking are two areas of the lab long overdue for a technology upgrade. Alloy blocking presents several challenges: not only is it labor intensive, but the material also poses a fairly significant health risk to both workers and the environment. In fact, three of its essential components have been targeted for a worldwide ban by the U.N. Equally labor intensive, the traditional method of “shock” de-blocking often results in spoilage from cracked or scratched lenses. Luckily these challenges are addressed with Satisloh’s ART (Alloy Replacement Technology) Blocker and De-blocker. Both are fully automated and utilize a recyclable plastic block-piece together with an organic adhesive for bonding.

The ART- Blocker- automatically unloads the lens blank and plastic block-piece from the job tray and, utilizing an advanced optical imaging system, determines the correct lens blank orientation. Next, the block piece selection is verified as each has its own unique data matrix code stamped on the side. Finally, the  front curve of the lens is measured and bonded to the plastic block-piece with an optimized dosage of adhesive - using  Satisloh’s patented spatial blocking technique. This technique makes ART the world’s first non-alloy blocking system that is able to block prism. During measurement, the ART-Blocker probes the exact geometry of the front curve, which not only allows accurate positioning of the lens, but can also detect front curve errors on spherical blanks. Incorrect lenses can either be rejected or a recalculation for the back curvature can be processed in the LMS system. The adhesive is cured within seconds and the blocked lens is returned to the original tray, immediately ready for generating - no need for the traditional “cool down” period.

The ART-Blocker is paired with a matching, automated de-blocking system, ART-Deblocker, enabling a lab to fully automate its surfacing operation. Easy to integrate in manufacturing flow, it automatically loads generated and polished lenses and returns de-blocked lenses to the job tray. The de-blocking system separates block-piece, adhesive, and lens with a water jet and then dries both sides of the lens leaving it ready for inspection. After separation and cleaning, block pieces are sorted by curvature and diameter, for efficient reuse. Separating by water jet eliminates the shock of manual de-blocking – reducing spoilage and labor cost. Ian Gregg, Satisloh



There are a lot of “options and accessories” that come with surfacing machines and every now and then we look to eliminate some of them in a way to save some money.  However, here is something that you can’t cut from the machine since it comes standard with the machines and something you shouldn’t cut from the machine – let’s look at our CCP Modulo auto polisher:

The new CCP Modulo polisher handles curves up to 18D, a new standard – reducing the amount of “specials” that need to be surfaced on a different line or sent to a specials lab.  This expanded range allows for the lab to truly maximize the amount of work that can be put through the digital surfacing line, creating an enhanced customer experience. You can now surface jobs  digitally that weren’t possible before

In addition to the expanded range, here is something I like to call a “non-optional option”: APS: The Advanced Polishing System from Schneider. While technically an option, this truly has become a must have. The APS feature allows for an improved automated polishing experience, since now an on-board camera system watches for torn or worn polish pads while also tracking the location of each pad on the drum that holds them.  When the system recognizes a pad that has been torn or worn past its life time, it simply blocks the pad from being used again.  This allows for an operator to tend to multiple machines, feeding them consumables and allowing for maximum machine capacity utilization.

Digital surfacing now has these two key enhancements - a much higher curve range plus an intelligent pad management system for seamless operation. Kevin Cross, Schneider Optical Machines


Labtalk June 2020