Optek’s Topcon ALE-5100SG will fit in even the smallest of offices.
The Coburn Excelon EZ Series is a cost-effective and compact finishing system that integrates edging, blocking, and tracing.
AIT’s WECO E.3 performs tracing, blocking, and edging with drilling.
National Optronics’ 7Ex edger uses an innovative cutter design to edge high base lenses and complex shapes.

With real estate costs at a premium, finding lab equipment to fit small spaces is a bonus for ECPs.

Commercial rents in urban markets such as New York City are now approaching $200 per sq. ft. So, every inch of space is precious as eye-
care professionals (ECPs) seek out compact machinery, devices, and supplies to ply their trade.

National Optronics makes three systems suitable for a small-scale operation: the 3Bx, the 7Ex, and the 4Tx. The ergonomic 3Bx blocker is a compact 18 in. H x 18.8 in. D x 8.5 in. W and weighs a mere 19 lbs., making it very portable. The device, which is designed with few moving parts to allow for simplified, continuous operations with minimal downtime, can store up to 200 jobs and has a split screen to allow easy viewing of lens layout and job data. The screen can guide the operator to an exact lens layout position. The 3Bx offers custom blocking options such as geometric center, optical center, or manual placement.

The blocker’s companion device is the equally compact 4Tx tracer, at 9.7 in. H x 17.4 in. D x 10.3 in. W and weighing in at just under 17 lbs. The 4Tx covers the full gamut of designs and frame shapes (of which it can store over 100), including wraps and small designs, through its 2,000-point resolution encoder which offers 3D tracing as well as a shape modifier for creating custom shape designs. The upright loading area allows for ease of use and avoids shape distortion as well as the risk of debris damaging key electrical components. Completing the ECP’s finishing lab, the 7Ex edger allows for drilling and grooving in one process. Sized at 28.4 in. H x 26.6 in. D x 25.3 in. W and at 135 lbs., it edges high base lenses and complex shapes using its innovative cutter design: the multi-fluted cutter provides four different bevel geometries or one of many other specialty cutters, on top of the rough, finish, polish, groove, and safety bevels that make up its standard edging system.

For premises with limited space, AIT Industries offers the WECO E.3 all-in-one patternless edging system. The 17.4 in. H x 23.6 in. D x 28.66 in. W unit performs tracing, blocking, and edging, with drilling as well. The remarkably self-contained 165-lb. unit has the capacity to do automatic polishing of CR-39, high-index, Trivex material, and polycarbonate lenses, with a grinding wheel that can bevel all materials. Like most contemporary devices, the E.3 includes an intuitive icon-based touch-screen interface and continuous 3D mapping. It also features a superhydrophobic lens roughing process and a 90mm wheel for perfect bevel positioning (in automatic, program-guided, manual, or flat modes), even on high base curve lenses.

Coburn Technologies, Inc. offers two systems for compact work environments, covering both ends of the price spectrum: the Excelon EZ, which has basic capabilities adequate for many small practices; and the high-end Exxpert 8000, that provides state-of-the-art functionality. Both come with a complete three-year warranty. The Excelon EZ system includes the CPE-3000 edger (14 in. H x 21.25 in. D x 22.5 in. W and 110 lbs.) and the CFR-3000 tracer/blocker unit (8 in. H x 18.5 in. D x 10.75 in. W and 27 lbs., with water bucket or direct-connect). It is a cost-effective and compact finishing system that easily integrates edging, blocking, and tracing over two machines. The system features customized lens edging, and when combined with the EZ tracer/blocker can deliver cost-effective, high-quality lenses.

The Exxpert system is also a dual-machine setup, with an edger unit and tracer/blocker unit (with water bucket or direct-connect). The Exxpert 8000 edger (23 in. H x 19 in. D x 21 in. W and 113 lbs.) seamlessly finishes plastic, high-index, polycarbonate, and Trivex material lenses and offers the widest range of bevel options available, according to the company. With accelerated long-life milling technology, super hydrophobic axis twisting is eliminated, and with the optional drill unit, virtually any lens shape or hole pattern is possible. The 8000’s bevel options include standard, mini bevel, asymmetric, semi-u, and, for high-curved frames, customizable beveling, all adjustable to 0.01mm increments. The larger capacity of the machine allows tracing, blocking, edging, and drilling jobs to be carried out simultaneously. The tracer/blocker (22 in. H x 19 in. D x 12 in. W and 51 lbs.) is capable of reading and digitally filtering 16,000 points of shape data on a screen that sizes the lenses in real time and real size.

For an ECP just getting started in new premises and keeping an eye on costs, Essilor Instruments USA’s Triplets system is a very compact, complementary, three-unit modular set-up that is simple to use and affordable. The Tess, Jess, and Iness units function as tracing, edging, and blocking devices, respectively. Tess offers accurate binocular tracing in seconds; Iness’ centering and blocking are simple, clear, and easy to use; and Jess’ edging cycle takes a mere two minutes. The three-unit system takes up less than 10 sq. ft.

Occupying an even smaller footprint of about 6 ft. is Optek’s Topcon ALE-5100SG High Speed Edging System that includes an edger, blocker, and frame reader. “The system will fit in even the smallest of offices,” assures Alan Hodges, CEO. “But, don’t let the compact size fool you: this is a highly reliable system that is easy to operate and maintain.” The Topcon FR-50 Frame Reader comes in at a tidy 7 in. H x 11 in. D x 11 in. W weighing only 18 lbs., and with a measuring range of 90mm in diameter, it can measure frame, pattern, sample, and beveled lenses.

The ALE 5100SG edger (17 in. H x 21 in. D x 20 in. W and 110 lbs.) can handle all materials including photochromic glass and thinner hyper-high-index lenses. 3D tracing is incorporated into the edger’s calculation for bevel position at the thinnest and thickest edge and the unit has high-speed and multi-task functionality, allowing for most efficient use of the device in its small space. The ultra-compact Topcon DS-5000 Integrated Blocker accepts the PD and height settings from the ALE-5100SG and instantly displays the correct lens blocking position.

Santinelli International, Inc.’s range of supplies should be the final stop for outfitting a new workspace. An ECP can avail of the company’s extensive tools and supplies, including a wall-mounted magnetic tool bar, which is a great space-saver unit, small screw and nut driver set in a swivel base, small plier tool kit, manual lensometer, handheld deblocker, hot air frame warmer, hand edger, and a progressive lens marking identifier.

The company also offers equipment, including its new all-in-one LE-700 Edging Station (13.6 in. H x 19.3 in. D x 21.4 in. W and 72.8 lbs.), which features “tracer-free” technology with demo lens and pattern measurement, an optional front-loading tracer, and an “intelligent” integrated CAD locker with camera and color display.

The compact LFU 220 Filtration System reduces the need for frequent cleaning in a small area, and Santinelli’s super-slim LED-200 deodorizer is a great addition to a space-conscious lab-especially one without a window.

Once you know your premises’ dimensions, there are a range of options for kitting it out adequately and economically with modular units. Manufacturers and suppliers are keen to provide working solutions for all levels of businesses, so it’s a buyer’s market out there.

Paul Power is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City.


AIT Industries
800-729-1959 •

Coburn Technologies, Inc.
800-262-8761 •

Essilor Instruments USA

National Optronics
800-866-5640 •

Optek International
727-522-2301 •

Santinelli International, Inc.
800-644-3343 •


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