What has Lab's so interested in Free Form is the possibility of taking a S.V. blank that is very inexpensive and turning it into a Progressive lens.
Our lab is looking at this early next year. As it stands to date, Shamir is the only lens company that is willing to sell the Computer Technology to a lab to produce such a product.
My understanding of the current setup is, The lab needs a "lens Lave" and polisher, a laser lens engraver, a separate computer with software supplied by Shamir. Each lens produced will create a "click" which is how the lab is charged for using the lens companies software. The cost is about 30% more that buying a molded semi finished blank with a premium progressive design.
The advantage is a "customized to the patient" progressive lens.
That will sell to an optician for about 25% more than a current premium progressive.
This new "Customized Pal" will need special measurements like Vertex distance and panascopic tilt along with the accurate PD's and height.
Most lens manufactures have little faith in opticians providing the normal measurements let alone special measurements.
Oh and one last thing, this new Customized Pal will only come with A/R, so it helps if the lab can do A/R as well.
As a lab we thought adding A/R was expensive! this could cost a lab over a million dollars in new equipment.
So the big question is are we ready for this?
Do Independent optical retailers feel they need this to offer better products than the chains?
Will the independents pay for the special measuring equipment?
Will the public pay for higher Tech Pal's?