Spotlight on... Satisloh SLUGfest

DALLAS—Satisloh asserted its position as a leading supplier of ophthalmic lens processing technology by unveiling a highly automated prescription lab during its ninth “SLUGfest” event here in November. The lab, located here on the corporate campus of parent company Essilor of America, features 34 new technologies. 

SLUGfest is a technical conference hosted by the company; its name is derived from the acronym for Satisloh Users Group. The conference, held from November 10-13, 2017, drew 200 lab executives from more than 20 countries. They represented a wide range of prescription labs, from single-location operations to large lab networks with multiple facilities.

Attendees toured the new lab, where they witnessed equipment demonstrations by Satisloh technical experts and participated in seminars. Also on hand were representatives from several vendors including MEI Systems and A&R Optical Machinery, whose equipment is integrated into the lab.

The design of the new lab, which Satisloh named “Lab 4.0: the Lab of the Future,” is based on a continuous improvement program called Lab 4.0 that is intended to streamline Rx lens production and make the manufacturing process much more efficient.

“Our goal was to get rid of batches and piles of trays, to make it look not busy,” said Larry Clarke, CEO of Satisloh. Clarke added that the lab has the capacity to produce 2,500 Rx jobs per day with only 10 full time employees working two shifts a day.

Lab 4.0 involves several elements: a new generation of equipment consisting of smart machines with remote monitoring and diagnostics; a comprehensive support program including preventative maintenance; intelligent automation, which uses paperless job tracking and a GPS real-time location system and an Intelligent Smart Conveyor with fast tracking and collaborative robots. All components of the lab’s production process are interconnected using two approaches: MES-360 (Manufacturing Execution System) that uses real-time machine monitoring, conveyor routing, real-time breakage monitoring and coating batch tracking, and MOM-360, (Manufacturing Operations Management), which offers proactive scheduling, proactive quality control with statistical process control, a quality control system with automated optical inspection and manual cosmetic inspection stations and front curve measurement and recalculation.

Labs that implement these four elements can achieve up to 30 percent faster production throughput, gain up to 25 percent in efficiency, use far less labor and become more environmentally friendly, according to Satisloh executives. Many attendees said they were impressed by the new technologies and Satisloh’s overall approach to lens making.

“I like the overall direction in presenting this as an IoT (Internet of Things) platform, which I think is where we need to head as an industry,” said SLUGfest attendee Robert Niemiec, senior vice president, engineering and technology, HVHC, Inc. “As we all come from different places in terms of having different kinds of equipment and different levels of technology, one challenge is going to be to sort out which of these technologies make the most sense and develop a plan as to how to best incorporate them.” ■


Labtalk November/December 2018