Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.

Save the Date!
by Jim Grootegoed, professional editor

The Optical Lab Division of The Vision Council is holding its annual meeting in Las Vegas October 2-5, 2013. The first thought that will pop into your mind is, "I can't afford to go." The simple answer is that you can't afford NOT to go. As an active division of The Vision Council, represented by Mike Daley, the Optical Lab Division brings together a forum specific to processing labs and offers information necessary to their collective future.

Programs will be offered on: processing lenses to current standards; Obamacare's effect on our industry; buying groups' influence on eyecare professionals' choice of labs; and lab re-work. Additionally, this will be the largest display of optical tools and machinery in the U.S. Be proactively involved in your future and make out your machinery wish list! If you're not a member of the Optical Lab Division yet, contact Amber Robinson at to join. Hope to see you in Las Vegas!

On Thursday evening, SLUGfest participants were bussed to the Harley-Davidson Museum for a buffet dinner and tour of the museum.
The fourth SLUGFest, Satisloh North America, Inc.'s users' conference, took place in Milwaukee, WI, from June 19-22. According to Larry Clarke, president and CEO, Satisloh is having its third year of record sales. Clarke highlighted some of the trends that have been good for business, such as: sales of lens add-ons like anti-reflective (AR) coatings, complex edging, and digitally produced progressive addition lenses (PALs). The market since the last SLUGfest in 2010 has shown some significant changes: AR is growing again after the 2009-2010 loss in units. With the development of smaller, less expensive, easier to operate AR units, the retail and smaller lab market is starting to grow significantly. The prescription sunwear is, percentage wise, the fastest growing segment of the lens market with significant use of digital (wrap designs) and polarization. Complex edging now requires new equipment for processors and is adding new revenue and profit streams. Digital surfacing continues to grow—estimated in the U.S. at over 25% of all Rx's and 50% for progressive lenses. With less expensive equipment and automation, the cost to produce a PAL is now equal to or less than conventional surfacing. And, because of the lowered cost of entry and competitive requirements, smaller labs are purchasing their own digital equipment. Satisloh unveiled some new technologies at SLUGfest and its keynote speaker Ron Kaufman presented a down-to-earth, easily understood, and executable approach to quality customer service. His bottom line quote was: "Service is not optional, it's essential" and that pretty much sums it up.

Essilor International has acquired a majority interest in two prescription lens laboratories in the U.S.: Prodigy Optical in Minnesota with annual revenue of $3.5 million, and e.magine Optical in Oklahoma with annual revenue of $3 million. Essilor has also announced the acquisition of a 50% stake in Polycore Optical, a sun lens producer based in Singapore which is an Essilor supplier, as well as the acquisition of PPG Industries, Inc.'s 49% share of Transitions Optical.

Schneider GmbH & Co. has acquired an optical equipment manufacturer, Team Henrich & Krall GmbH. Team H&K was formed in 1992 in Dreieich, Germany by Dieter Henrich and Jürgen Krall, CEOs of the company. It is a well-known manufacturer of optical equipment to the ophthalmic industry, particularly in the European market. It sells a portfolio of automated products for deblocking, cleaning, and tinting. With the acquisition, Schneider can now offer equipment for every step in the ophthalmic process starting with order entry, to lab management, surfacing, cleaning, coating, and edging.

After launching DIGITAL AR®, an advanced AR coating for ophthalmic lenses, US Optical LLC received a trademark from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. US Optical and its owners, Ralph, Ronald, and Robert Cotran, have added DIGITAL AR to their AR coating selections. "We are delighted to have received US Trademark Registration No. 4,348,220 on June 4, 2013 for our DIGITAL AR," stated Ralph Cotran. "We believe DIGITAL AR complements our Digital HD ophthalmic lenses and represents an opportunity to provide the American consumer, through our eyecare professional customers, with a superior AR-coated lens at a reasonable price. This is a tremendous opportunity for US Optical and its customers."

At SLUGfest in June, Satisloh North America, Inc. officially launched a new AR coater for mass production called the 1200 MPX. It has a 50% increase in throughput from its predecessor, the 1200 DLX. It can coat 6,000 lenses a day. Its new full dome locking system can hold up to 20% more lenses per run (about 280). The door can be opened, loaded, and closed in less than three minutes. The 1200 MPX AR coater can coat lenses in about 45 minutes.

This fall, Satisloh is launching the VFT-Macro generator for free-form and Rx lens surfaces doing 45 to 50 lenses an hour. This compares to the 20 to 25 lenses an hour for the VFT-Micro which came out last year. The VFT-Macro generator uses the same advanced barrel shape and fast tool change technology as the VFT-Micro with the addition of milling and auto calibration. The VFT-Macro is smaller and lighter than other mid-size generators and can be matched with Satisloh's new Toro-FLEX polisher as a package for medium-sized labs.

Satisloh also announced a new tabletop spin coater called the MagnaSpin Micro for solvent-based UV-cured scratch-resistant hardcoatings as part of its microlab package. Also new is the Ioncote KX UV, an AR stack that reduces up to 80% of UVA and UVB absorption on the backside of a lens. Attendees to SLUGfest also saw the North American re-launch of the ES-curve. Satisloh claims it has eliminated any functional issues and made several upgrades.

Brain Power, Inc. (BPI) has released a 20-pair production AR Lens Rack™ that holds 40 lenses. The rack may be used with uncut lenses and can be adjusted to hold smaller lenses if they are all the same size. BPI's non-metal production AR stripper lens rack measures 25.4cm left to right and 18.4cm front to back and is compatible with BPI's AR Dry stripper solutions for AR coatings. BPI can also supply a compatible tank for use with this rack.

Quantum Innovations, Inc. has created a stainless steel bell jar for easy repairs. As many B12 owners know, glass bell jars can get damaged over time through chipping, cracking, or etching. The impact of this damage can compromise their performance and cost labs money by allowing fewer runs a day due to the slower process time, or losing entire runs due to incorrect color matching. Quantum's new stainless steel bell jar can be easily repaired, often by a local machine shop.

Ultra Optics has launched the Ultra OTB, an On the Block backside coating system for higher yields. The unit's footprint is 25 in. wide x 30 in. deep x 76 in. high. Lab tests revealed that it can coat 400 lenses a day with just four daily breakages. The Ultra OTB can provide frontside lens surface protection, eliminate high-index lens warping, minimize lens handling, and reduce lens preparation for coating. Its heated wash process for cleaning can reduce debris particles.


• We take a look at whether conventional surfacing is dead.

• Our One-to-One interview is with Bill Heffner IV, Marketing and IT Director, at FEA Industries, Inc. He discusses how this family-run lab has automated its ordering process to now receive 90% of its orders online.

• We have news and new products from on-the-ground at SLUGFest in Milwaukee.
Aug 2013, Issue 32
This Month

Satisloh's SLUGfest
Essilor Expands Globally
Schneider Acquires
  Team H&K
US Optical Gets a TM

Satisloh Tech Unveiled
A Rack for AR Lenses
Bell Jar Won't Crack
Ultra's OTB System

Click here to view the latest digital edition of Optical Lab Products

Download the updated Free-Form Progressive Lens Chart

The State of Opticianry
Click here to view it

Coburn Technologies:
New Technologies Guide
Download now (3.4MB)

Free-Form Handbook
Download now (7.7MB)

Download (2.5MB)