Mr. Blue from Essilor Instruments can handle all types of frames and glazing jobs.
Expression is Briot’s newest all-in-one edging system at an entry-level price point.
QUICK TURNAROUND TIMES There are a few new frames on the market that require a “negative” or “inside” curve for cut-out that is just not possible to do on an edger with 120mm diamond wheels. Lenses for these frames can only be edged on a dry cutter system or one with built-in multitool milling capability. Processing times with newer machines are usually better than on older ones (depending on the operations you’ve selected) and the degree of automation these units can pack is breathtaking.
Coburn’s Exxpert 8000 series can seamlessly finish plastic, high-index, polycarbonate, and Trivex material.
MAKE IT HAPPEN: FIND A WAY Industry-leading retail optical shops are getting creative at finding ways to get at least one of these new multitasking high-tech finishing systems into their offices. Unique lease programs and even uncut lab loyalty programs are being used to get new machines into commercial chains and private offices. While these systems are among the largest capital expenditures that you might have in a retail office, they clearly provide a solid return on investment.

An advanced in-office finishing system can add profit to your business.

If you’re not edging lenses in your office you may be missing out on increasing your office’s bottom line. And with today’s edger systems that provide an array of advanced features, it’s easier than ever to make this happen.

All optical offices have four major potential profit centers: medical/optometric, dispensing, finishing, and surfacing. Nearly all ophthalmic offices include medical/optometric and dispensing services. While hardly any have surfacing capabilities (this is slowly beginning to change), it’s estimated that about 60% to 75% have finishing capabilities. Although the finishing percentage is fairly high, many offices have outdated equipment that does not provide numerous advanced features that can add a sizable amount of profit to the office.

What do older edgers not do? Wrap sunglasses not only use steeply curved lenses; they usually require a milled edge on the backside in order to properly glaze Rx lenses. Sharply squared edges and nasal points are now the norm on many new rimless and semi-rimless mountings. Drill-mounted lenses are getting especially tricky with several new mounting methods that require unique holes and notches that are difficult to duplicate with a manual drill.

Trivex material and polycarbonate can be hard to keep on axis using equipment originally designed for CR-39 only. Anti-glare treatments can be extremely slippery and can easily slip off center or off axis during edging. These issues and many others are easily solved with the addition of an advanced edging system. If you add to this total control over bevel position, bevel type, safety beveling, polished edges, special material settings, and more, you probably get an idea of what you’re missing.

If you’re absorbing finishing charges from an outside lab on all or part of your eyewear sales, you might be spending a lot more money than you think, especially if the job needs anything outside of the ordinary. In addition to the typical $13 to $15 (national average) charge for basic acetate or metal frame edging there are other examples of typical charges you rack up for custom finishing services when you send your work out to be edged (see “Typical Charges,” below).

Add $13 for basic edging to $18 for custom shaping of rimless lenses plus $36 for eight-hole drilling, then add $10 for polished edges and suddenly you have just spent $77 with your wholesale lab for services that can easily be done in-house.

Another common scenario might be to pay $13 for basic edging plus $6 for small B measurement edging plus $5 for grooving, and $10 for edge polishing. That is still $34 that could be staying in your office. Let’s say that your office has only 30 jobs per month that require special attention with an average upgrade price of $50; that equates to a whopping $1,500 walking out the door if you don’t capture it in-house.

Briot USA, Essilor Instruments USA, Coburn Technologies, Inc., AIT Industries, National Optronics, and Santinelli International, Inc. are among the industry leaders in providing edger systems. Each company offers multiple models, and the features increase as the machines incorporate more advanced technology. The most advanced models include frame tracing, lens power reading and verification, layout, blocking, a host of edging settings, drilling, notching, grooving, and milling. In fact, these advanced units do the work that several machines used to do.

When deciding which model to buy, consider the kind of edging work you’re currently doing and the kind of edging work you’d really like to do. For example, you might send out all your rimless work, or you may not be selling wrap sunwear because you can’t edge it, or you don’t want to spend money having it done at an outside lab.

Once you have a good idea of the features you want, discuss them with a few representatives from different companies. They’ll help you decide what you need. Then, buy what you need and what you want to grow into but don’t overbuy. Taking in equipment with features you’ll never or almost never use is a waste of money so plan carefully for what you need and want. There are plenty of edger choices tiered with a climbing scale of features so don’t worry about finding the right one for you.

If your office is sending out 100 or more jobs a month to be edged, investment in a high-tech multitasking edger not only makes sense, but becomes as necessary as a slit lamp or tonometer. You will have quicker turnaround times, you will be able to cut 99% of the lenses for those stylish new frames requiring special attention, and you will financially benefit from the sale of stylish frames as well as their custom-made lenses.

Take the opportunity to spend some time at the next trade show like Vision Expo to talk to equipment representatives about these amazing new machines. You’ll likely be able to make a great deal on one with a “Show Price” discount that may be enough to pay for your trip.

Michael Frandsen is the owner of Quality Performance Ophthalmic, Inc., a custom service optical laboratory in South Jordan, UT.


AIT Industries
800-729-1959 • aitindustries.com

Briot USA
800-292-7468 • briotusa.com

Coburn Technologies, Inc.
800-262-8761 • coburntechnologies.com

Essilor Instruments USA
855-EZ-FINISH • essilorinstrumentsusa.com

National Optronics
800-866-5640 • nationaloptronics.com

Santinelli International, Inc.
800-644-3343 • santinelli.com


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