TICK TOCK, TICK TOCK…IS IT TIME FOR A NEW EDGER?

By Christie Walker

Do you hear that telltale ticking sound? “Tick tock, tick tock.” That is the sound of a dozen little warning signs, bells and whistles going off in your lab, indicating it’s time for a new edger. I’ve asked experts in finishing to provide labs with a check list of signs and symptoms that may indicate it’s time for a new edger.

CHECK LIST

Answer the following 10 questions to see if you should be looking into purchasing a new edger:
1. Is my current edger more than five years old? Am I spending more than 25 percent of the original purchase price annually on repairs or more than 10 percent of production time repairing the unit(s)?
2. Is there any finish work that I do not currently take on because of limited finishing capabilities? Will it be more profitable if I can complete this work within my own lab?
3. Does increasing volume indicate that I should have multiple edgers?
4. Is the number of job types increasing to a point where I would get a better ROI if I had an edger that worked with all job types for example, on drilled, shape edit, or base 8?
5. Are the features on my edger addressing my edging needs?
6. Are the features on my edger allowing me to remain competitive?
7. Are there new edging features that would allow me to expand my business?
8. How much time is spent, reworking jobs as a result of poor edging?
9. Am I losing any business based on inconsistent edging results?
10. Would automation alleviate me of select labor and qualitative concerns regarding the above finishing concerns?
If you answered yes to three or more of the above questions, you might want to look into purchasing a new or additional edger. One of the keys to knowing what to buy is understanding what you want your edger to do for you. To start with, all edgers should have certain qualities. “Your lab edger should be robust, have dependable technology that delivers consistent high quality while edging all lens material for any frame style. Ease-of-use, ease-of-maintenance, and the level of customer service a company provides post-sale, is equally important,” explained Steve Swalgen, Santinelli International.
When it comes to special features, you can save yourself some money if you understand the difference between needs and wants. The best way to get a handle on what you need is to create an inventory of your current jobs.

“It would be a good idea to keep track of an average month’s jobs and find out what percentage fall into which of the categories below,” suggested Jason Smith, marketing manager, Coburn Technologies.
• Drilled Rimless
• Grooved
• Metal
• Plastic
• Custom Work
• Glass, Trivex, Poly

“A basic model edger compared to the model with all the bells and whistles can easily cost you a difference of $10,000 or better. Before you purchase an edger, it’s a good idea to understand which bells and whistles you really need,” added Smith.

“Most edgers have the same basic features (beveling, grooving, drilling and safety beveling), so the question really boils down to three- or five-axis edging and both can have their own advantages,” explained Kevin Paddy, National Optronics. “A five-axis edger allows you to process the more complex style shapes, leaving little limitations. However five-axis edgers can lack some of the basic essentials, such as high-luster polishing and the ability to process small B-dimension frames. While complex shapes are on the rise, they remain less than 10 percent of all jobs edged, therefore in heavy volume operations an industrial three-axis edger may be the better choice. An additional consideration should be automation. Automation is a common practice on industrial edgers and can provide an extremely attractive return on investment.”

Looking at your current needs is just one step in the process. The next step is looking at what you want to offer your customers. Do you see an opportunity to expand your rimless offerings with custom shapes and facets? Can you edge eight-base lenses for sport sun lenses or do you send this work out? Do you want to offer Chemistri sunlenses? Again, just because you want something doesn’t mean it would be worth the extra expense unless you plan to market your new capabilities and take advantage of your investment. It may be time to poll your customers to see what services they would like you to offer in the way of edging options.

“The interesting thing is that all of our clients have different needs. Some are impressed by our unique cutting method that allows them to fit a corrective lens in any frame models. Some are looking for a machine capable of performing special jobs, helping them to meet their clients requests, while others are looking for new technology that has a high throughput and a good accuracy,” said Edo Tortolato, sales engineer, MEI, Srl.

Once you make the investment, you’ll need to let your clients know of your new abilities. Maybe you can now offer unique shapes, or turn their favorite sunglass frames into prescription glass. Whatever the new capabilities, you need to let your customers know what you have available.

“My clients tell me that they were able to get more jobs by having the ability to perform the special jobs. Their clients preferred to send all their jobs to one lab instead of forwarding the jobs to different providers. Basically, they increased their competitiveness, and were able to take advantage of the new technology installed in their labs. I assume that first they did a great job of approaching their clients and showing them what their lab could do now with the new equipment,” said Tortolato.
 
No matter the equipment, if you have new capabilities that will translate into new opportunities, IF you don’t keep your customers in the dark. The last thing you want to hear is, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that. I’ve been sending all those jobs to XYZ Lab down the street.”

Check out these edger options from Coburn Technologies, MEI, Santinelli International and Satisloh/National Optronics.

Coburn Technologies

The Excelon Finishing Systems from Coburn Technologies, provide the versatility and efficiency that today’s low- to medium-volume labs require. All the finishing processes, tracing to edging, are fully optimized with advanced 3-Dimensional Digital Technology for optimizing productivity. Each system features Customized Lens Edging and the graphical display guides for easier handling from the beginning to the end of the edging processes. Beveling, polishing, grooving and safety beveling processes are completely integrated and easily performed by a simple touch of a button.
Combine any of Coburn Technologies’ three Excelon edgers with any compatible tracer and blocker for a complete solution customized to meet your specific finishing needs. For the best results with the smallest equipment footprint, select the Excelon Automatic Lens Tracer/Blocker—a one-stop solution, combining the functions of a tracer, lensmeter, and blocker in one powerful system.
 

MEI

MEI has four machines for different needs. The MEI641 (manual loading) fits the needs of small labs (at least 50 job/day) or a specialized niche in a glazing lab. The MEI641auto (with an automatic loading system) can be integrated in an automatic conveyer line (or fed by stacker/de-stacker) performing up to 240 job in one working shift.
For those labs having a huge amount of jobs per day, MEI offers the Bisphera-XDD, their highest performing machine that cuts two lenses at time. They have several clients with the Bisphera-XDD who are cutting thousands of jobs a day.
The last offering from MEI is a Doubler-XDD that cuts just bevels and grooves (no polishing), so it would be a good solution for those labs with a lot of job types. All MEI machines can perform straight and inclined bevel, groove, drilling, polishing, T-bevels, step backs and special shapes for sport and wrap frames.
 

Optek

The Optek Shape lens finishing center combines the latest in multi-axis machining and software technology to provide an ophthalmic lens edging solution. Key functions include both straight and angled edge types including rimless, groove, square bevel, V bevel, step bevel and polish; hole/slot types including blind hole, through hole, slots, notches, counter sinking and jewel; plus freeEdge Technology for the creation of high-end designs with engraving and a digitize trace system for importing existing artwork. For more information contact Optek International at 800-524-5454.
 

Santinelli International

Santinelli International’s SE-9090-Supra, with its proven track record, is the fourth generation in the SE-9090 series. Known globally for unprecedented quality, polish and on-axis reliability, this edger has now been taken to a whole new level of high performance and capability.
With the addition of newly-developed, pin-point accurate, in-chamber grooving technology (a first for the SE-9090 series), labs can now benefit from quality finished, grooved lenses with exclusive Crystal Cut high-luster polish quality and polish safety bevel. Additionally, the Supra-PLB8 achieves step beveling by “quadrant editing” and edges high-wrap jobs with highly customizable bevel functions. This new technology truly encompasses industrial capabilities in an economical footprint that is easily adaptable to Santinelli robotic platforms while more than doubling the standard throughput.
 

Satisloh/National Optronics

Satisloh’s ES-4 and ES-Curve provide an ideal complement to today’s edging needs. The ES-4, an automated industrial 3-axis edger with all the essential features, provides high volume throughput with unmatched edge quality and accuracy. The ES-Curve an industrial 5-axis edger, provides the ability to process revenue generating complex shapes with the option to automate.


CURRENT ISSUE


March/April LabTalk