Because eyecare professionals can be skeptical about edging in-house, VCPN set out to dispel their concerns with the help of equipment manufacturers.

It’s too complicated, and I don’t have anyone on staff who is technical enough or who can handle the training. How would I be able to train my staff to edge lenses? 

Most equipment offers prompts that guide the operator, so virtually any staff member can operate it, making unplanned absences or loss of specific employees easier. Advanced technologies allow for faster processing without the loss of quality and accuracy, allowing operators to focus on other duties while providing a new level of patient service.

–Kevin Paddy, National Optronics

Edging lenses is a repetitive process that anyone can easily achieve. All training should be part of the purchase price and be handled by the company that the equipment is purchased from.

–Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

Coburn’s user-friendly finishing equipment provides a great number of edging options without any difficult steps. Our equipment can be used by anyone, including your receptionist. Our team will work with you and your staff to customize a training plan. Installation and training can be completed in less than three days. For questions after training, you will not only have your sales rep’s personal mobile number, but our tech support team is also ready to help free of charge with a simple phone call.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

Partnering with the right equipment vendor is critically important. Carefully research reputation and longevity—these are the difference between promise and reality. Advanced technology in Optek equipment minimizes the need for operator skill and training. One example is a user interface that allows the operator to touch an icon to perform a desired function. Full onsite training and free lifetime technical phone support are always included.

–Alan Hodges, Optek International

I’m not sure of the return on investment when edging in-house. How much time will we need to devote to edging and how many jobs will we need to finish in order to realize the necessary ROI?

ROI varies depending on the practice. First, figure out your total cost savings. Edging in-house means you are not obligated to use a lab’s lenses, so you can find better deals. The other savings include the lab’s charge for edging and the shipping costs. Once you figure out your total savings, use this formula to calculate ROI:

jobs per month x savings per job  = savings per month

cost of equipment / savings per month = number of months  to recover initial cost


With in-house finishing, you no longer have to wait for finished lenses, saving time from submitting orders. You can easily edge ten lenses in less than an hour.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

The ROI will be determined by edging system features and practice volume. An entry level system can see an ROI with as few as a couple of jobs per day; one with all features will need five to seven jobs per day. Most representatives can calculate ROI using a practice’s current volume and recommend the appropriate system.

–Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

The ROI must also consider the reduction of labor costs for rework, breakage reduction, delivery time improvement and a more flexible work organization. In-store edging in the past was considered a useless cost because equipment available was not meant for industrial use. Using labs with industrial machines was considered a better option. Now, the same technology used by big labs is available for retail shops. This milling technology, introduced by MEI, edges with no sizing or axis issues, completely changing the ROI equation.

–Fabio Verzeri, MEI

ROI is a two-part equation. How many jobs need to be processed daily? What will the future of my business look like if I don’t provide the services my competitors do? With a range of options and price points, there is a system that is right for you. The more elaborate system, the more choices you can offer patients. More choices equal more profit. Drill mounts, high wraps and interchangeable lens style frames can propel profits quickly.

-Kevin Paddy, National Optronics

Photo courtesy of MEI S.r.l

What are the risks (spoilage of expensive lenses and coatings, dangers to employees, conforming to rules and regulations, etc.) when it comes to edging in-house, and how do I overcome them? 

Edging hydrophobic AR lenses requires a system designed for these lenses or the recommended blocking pads. When edging high-index lenses, consider a milling system or attaching a filter to capture the dust, which will also alleviate the odor. While spoilage should be calculated into the ROI, proper procedures should eliminate any spoilage.

–Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

After taking on responsibility of the finished product, your primary risk will be re-dos. Your lab bill savings will make up for this. Loss of savings can result from high repair bills if your equipment is not properly maintained, following proper procedures, there are very little dangers to employees. There is misinformation regarding toxic waste or air quality. Our coolant system addresses this.

–Matt Vulich, AIT

With modern patternless technology, there are no operator risks. MEI’s milling technology ensures a reliable process avoiding lens breakage. MEI uses milling tools that have a gentle action, protecting the lens and coating from damage. All of MEI’s equipment is safe and complies with regulations in each country.

–Fabio Verzeri, MEI

There are no risks associated with lens spoilage. Coburn’s edgers have a patented axial mode that eliminates lens slippage, even with the best hydrophobic coatings. Our tracers use 3D technology for sizing and placement calculations, eliminating spoilage associated with 2D tracing that shapes one side of the frame and flips it for the other. As long as you follow the doctor’s prescription, you’ll be within industry standards.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

Photo courtesy of Coburn Technologies, Inc.

I’m not sure my office is equipped for in-house edging. What kind of infrastructure do I need?

You can edge with an all-in-one system in less than three square feet or up to six square feet for systems that have two or more pieces. Most systems operate with recycled water by means of a pump and tank positioned directly below the edger. A vent or filtration system will help with any dust, and a 20 amp dedicated outlet meets all electrical requirements.

–Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

Most in-house edging equipment systems operate on standard 110v power. Some require water systems, while others use vacuum systems. A complete in-house finishing area can be as little as 50 square feet. A sturdy countertop will work great, and manufacturers can recommend a room layout or provide specifically designed cabinets.

–Kevin Paddy, National Optronics

Our table-top finishing equipment is great for all size labs because of its small footprint. They range from four square feet to six feet depending on the number of jobs per day. The only two requirements are a table or stand to place the equipment and water.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

What about maintenance, space, noise, odor, waste disposal and other recurring considerations?

The right system for the practice’s physical characteristics can address most concerns. Any costs to transform an area of the practice to accept a finish lab can be calculated into the ROI.

–Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

The only maintenance required is to keep the equipment clean. As long as the room is separated from the customer area, noise and odor should not be factors. Coburn’s machines make minimal noise and just let off odors from processing high-index lenses. An optional filter is available to decrease odor. Waste disposal is simple. All hazardous materials are released into a bag with water, which is drained, leaving garbage and a bucket of water.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

Edger maintenance involves keeping the cutting chamber clean. Beyond that, follow basic maintenance and calibration. A vendor with reliable support will provide peace of mind for unexpected issues. For noise and odor, Optek’s wet-process edger is quiet enough for just about any room and includes a deodorizer. With direct water hookup, waste is captured in a replaceable nylon filter bag attached to the drain hose.

–Alan Hodges, Optek International

Newer edging systems, such as the Briot Attitude or WECO E.6, have brushless motors and sound- dampening material to help reduce noise. The AIT airMAX air purification system eliminates smells associated with edging high index plastic and polycarbonate lenses. With a nylon filter attached to the recirculating pump and tank, all large particulate matter is eliminated from wastewater. You can then dispose of the remaining water according to your local municipality’s ordinances. To keep the cost low, budgeting for maintenance visits every depending on volume is important.

–Matt Vulich, AIT

Photo courtesy of National Optronics

What other pertinent factors will we need to address before edging in-house?

When purchasing new equipment, financing is a great option. It’s good to research rates and special financing opportunities, such as deferring payments for several months while you create new cash flow. Look into tax deductions on capital purchases. Understand that there will be costs outside the equipment purchase. While minimal, be sure to factor for items like consumables. Investing in your business is also a great time to reach out to your customers. Publicize technology upgrades and additions to retain and gain customers.

–Kevin Paddy, National Optronics

Coburn still services and sells parts for machines purchased 20 years ago, proving durability. Another benefit of Coburn’s finishing equipment is the warranty on parts. The only cost associated with finishing, other than the initial purchase, is consumables that are easily found at a low cost. You’re saving money on shipping and lens purchases, increasing the amount of business you can perform in-house and increasing your customer service.

–Alex Incera, Coburn Technologies

Demographics, staff experience and volume are important to determine what features you need. A high-end boutique might process more rimless, so the ability to process drill mount work might be important.  Another office might be busy and want the most efficiency, so automated lens verification in the blocker along with a high-speed edger might be best.

–Matt Vulich, AIT

Consider who is going to operate the system and what are the skill levels to do assembly. If you have more than one location, would you like to trace remotely? Would you like a lab ordering system? Would you like to be able connect to a practice management system? Does the company provide ongoing training when needed? Does the system have remote maintenance capabilities? Can the system be upgraded with software? Is there a cost?

-Robin Rhodes, Essilor Instruments

WHERE TO FIND IT: AIT Industries, Inc. (Weco) 800.729.1959 • AITIndustries.comInfo@AITIndustries.com // Optek International 727.522.2301 • OptekInternational.com // MEI S.r.l 847.357.0323 • MEISystem.comInfo@MEISystem.com // National Optronics 800.866.5640 • NationalOptronics.comNOPSales@NationalOptronics.com // Coburn Technologies, Inc. 800.262.8761 • CoburnTechnologies.comCustomerCareCenter@CoburnTechnologies.com // Essilor Instruments 800.542.5668 • EssilorUSA.com


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