|Coburn’s Exxpert 8000 edger, with the HAB-8000 tracer/autoblocker and optional drilling unit, comes with a wide assortment of bevel options.|
|Santinelli’s LE-700 Edging Station can digitize a demo lens or pattern.|
|The 7Ex edger from Satisloh/National Optronics is ideal for any market, from ECPs to retail chains to large labs.|
|An advanced edger, tracer, and automatic blocker are included in Briot’s Alta Zd.|
More advanced edging units give ECPs more choices.
ECPs have a wide variety of advanced edgers to choose from in today’s marketplace. Some manufacturers have updated their existing machines with more user-friendly features, while others have launched newly designed models. What works for one might not be appropriate for others, so ECPs should choose the edger that is best suited for their practice, patients, and pocketbook. Here are some units to consider.
The Exxpert 8000 edger is co-manufactured by Coburn Technologies, Inc. and South Korea-based Huvitz Co. “The biggest thing that makes it stand out-not only from its predecessor, but also from other edgers in its class-is its wide range of bevel options,” says Jason Smith, Coburn’s director of marketing communications. ECPs can choose from Standard, Mini Bevel, Asymmetric, Semi U, and even customizable beveling.
Accelerated long-life milling technology eliminates axis twisting, and a user-friendly 10.5-in. touch screen responds to both the operator’s finger or a stylus. In addition an external drilling unit can shorten overall production time.
“Once the lens has finished edging, you can put it in the drilling unit and then start your next edging job immediately because you’re not waiting for the same unit to finish drilling,” Smith notes. ECPs can also buy just the Exxpert edger without the drill unit and upgrade later as their needs change.
An all-in-one system, the LE-700 Edging Station from Santinelli International, Inc. is designed for ECPs who are new to edging and want an intuitively easy operation. According to Franco Aluigi, product manager, “Its simplistic design, software technology, and on-screen icons guide the operator through the entire tracing, blocking, and edging process-resulting in a virtually error-proof operation and improved efficiencies. It’s the most economical model we have ever introduced.” The unit is also suitable for ECPs who handle a modest volume of jobs or for those who need an edger at a second location.
The LE-700 features “tracer-free” technology that digitizes a demo lens or pattern for shape and size accuracy, and a “front-loading” tracer option to accommodate high-wrap frames. It comes with an intelligent blocker with an HD camera for parallax-free operation and a color touch display. The unit measures 22 in.W x 20 in. D and weighs 72.8 lbs.
Loaded with a four-axis edger and a seven-head turret-essentially seven independent spindles-Optek International’s Shape Lens Finishing Center (“Shape”) features different tooling designs, such as step bevelers, engravers, drills, and polish wheels. The standard tooling includes roughing cutter, angled bevel cutter with grooving wheel, back mill, smoother, polisher, drill/mill, and engraver. “It’s a very versatile machine because it allows you to do a wide array of jobs,” says Alan Hodges, CEO. “It allows ECPs to do sports, wraps, and high-base curves.”
Shape’s freeEDGE software provides a simple user interface for turning out high-end designs, such as free-form edges, engravings, and drop-in predefined hole patterns for popular frame styles, and it stores the patterns in the on-board database. Designs can be mirrored, scaled, rotated, and repeated to best fit the lens shape. Shape handles dry or wet mist cutting, and the sealed cutting chamber protects internal machine parts from debris. It weighs 615 lbs. and can be accessorized with a 7000-207 barcode reader.
The Alta Zd from Briot USA is equipped with an integrated drilling function for executing countersunk holes, notches, blind, or oblong holes. The drilling angle tilts from 0° to 30°. It offers an expanded choice of bevels-including Normal, Mini-Bevel, Tilted Bevel, and Mini-Tilted Bevel-that previously were only available on more expensive machines.
“It expands the range of work ECPs can do in their offices,” asserts Matt Menzies, product manager. “This machine is evolving. It’s going to be something that will grow with them.”
The 59-lb. unit comes with an easy-to-use touch screen interface and high speed motor. The Alta Zd requires the XLD tracer and automatic blocker unit to be fully functional. Briot ties the two machines together with Smart Design Technology. “We completely automated the recognition of patterns that traditionally would be impossible to do on a standard wheel edger,” Menzies adds. “Our camera system takes an image of a shape and determines the angles and then sends that over to the edger. It is really plug and play from that point on.”
Satisloh North America, Inc.’s and National Optronics, Inc.’s 7Ex edger can edge high base lenses and complex shapes. It also comes with a standard cutting system: rough, finish, polish, groove, and safety bevels. “Our 7Ex edger is really ideal for any market, from ECPs to retail chains and all the way up to even large labs,” states Kevin Paddy, product line director of finishing. The unit also provides a range of specialty cutters.
The 7Ex can access pre-programmed drill data from manufacturers or input new specs, process 16mm B measurements, and handle a maximum lens blank size of 100mm. The electric clamping system reduces slippage and crazing. ECPs can access operations, maintenance, and parts manuals through the unit’s onscreen assist feature. An optional barcode reader and PCD cutter are also available.
The high-end E6 Edging System from AIT Industries, Inc. can pair with its C5 Autolensometry Blocker and Trace 3 tracer. The E6 features shelf beveling and tiled beveling capabilities that lets ECPs process a wider range of prescriptions in a wider range of frames-including sports frames and safety eyewear frames.
“We have a unique capability called our Smart Design,” explains Matt Vulich, vice president of marketing. The technology lets ECPs design their own shapes individually. “AIT offers tools that allow you to design your own shapes with computer software to create specialty designs for drill mount eyewear. We’re able to mill out intricate shapes to offer a premium add-on service to increase revenue,” he adds.
The E6 has four edging processes that change by material to provide safe and efficient processing on even the slickest coated lenses. According to Vulich, the unit delivers the fastest wet edger cycle in the industry and has a small footprint to fit within a 4-ft. working area. It also features an integrated barcode reader that can scan jobs directly.
Mr Blue 2.0 from Essilor Instruments USA includes M’eye Sign for the first time-a unique engraving process that allows individual lenses to be customized. “Patients can choose their initials or a design that might have personal meaning to them, and ECPs can offer it as an added service to generate additional revenue,” notes Robin Rhodes, vice president of sales.
Mr Blue 2.0 is equipped with full high curve capability up to base 10 and “Fit for Frame 2.0” technology, allowing the trajectory of the shelf bevel to automatically adapt to the base of the frame for a first-time fit. The unit comes with a fully automatic blocker and auto-centration capability, which centers and blocks the lenses without operator handling. The unique milling tool allows hydrophobic lenses to be finished without slippage.
Mr Blue 2.0 also comes with Essibox, an interface that connects with software and equipment within the ECP’s practice, and which allows Essilor’s technicians to troubleshoot remotely.
With such a wide array of features and capabilities, today’s edgers give ECPs flexibility and a potentially greater return on investment.
Robert Lerose is a freelance writer based in New York.
|WHERE TO FIND IT:|
|AIT Industries, Inc.
|Coburn Technologies, Inc.
|Essilor Instruments USA
|Santinelli International, Inc.
|Satisloh North America, Inc.