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Thread: Free Form & Independent Labs

  1. #1
    Rising Star
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    Free Form & Independent Labs

    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?

    John Z.
    John Zimmerman
    Sales Manager
    Tri-City Optical Laboratory

  2. #2
    OptiBoardaholic hip chic's Avatar
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    John Z~


    OK...you've definitely got MY attention. I love anything that I can customize. While you mention specific measurements that will be needed in order to customize the PAL, you don't mention exactly what we will be customizing. Will we (the optician) determine corridor length? reading width? I'm curious.

    I, for one, will pay the extra dollars to have something that is customized for my customer. My customers will also pay...of this I'm sure. I'll never forget my customer that loved a particular titanium frame but, wanted it in a color that was not made. I called the manufacturer, who agreed to "custom" color the frame. The customer loved the idea of having something that was truly unique and made just for her...to the tune of over $1,000. (nearly twice what the frame sold for in one of the "standard" colors). This is still a great customer and she often comments how much she loves that frame.

    So, anyway, back to the PAL...can't wait to hear more!

    hipchic

  3. #3
    Rising Star
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    Hip chic

    Too soon to know more details, most of the info I received this week.
    There appears to be a debate amount the manufactures on placement of the add. Putting the add on the back or on both front and back surfaces, which is better?

    The Definity apparently always has .75 add on the back surface of the lens with the balance of the add on the front surface.

    The 2 schools of thought are;
    1, splitting the add between the front and the back allows for unwanted astigmatism to be reduced or eliminated.

    2, Putting the add on the back combined with High Tech surfacing give the best vision. the extra cost of putting the add on both surfaces out weighs any benefit.

    John Z.
    John Zimmerman
    Sales Manager
    Tri-City Optical Laboratory

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    OptiBoardaholic hip chic's Avatar
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    John Z.

    Thanks for the info.

    Keep us posted. Don't you love that there is always something new on the horizon in this industry? I know I do.

    hip chic

  5. #5
    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter karen's Avatar
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    hipchic, it is my understanding that what the optician themselves is responsible for is measuring pantoscopic tilt and vertex distance. (there is a nifty tool they gove you to do it with) We don't get to customize (yet) but the lab itself takes all that data along with dist/near etc and is able to make a lens optimized for each patient. If it is like the Zeiss technology (and I believe it is) these lenses are going to perform best for people with high sphere and/or high cyl or prism. Someone with a -.50-.50 x 180 is not going see any real improvement over a regular Shamir or Zeiss lens but someone with a -3.00 cyl or a +5.00 sph won't be put into a base curve that isn't able to optimize the Rx. As a lab, we can even get the lenses without having to put in any equipment, although it does take a few weeks to do. The Zeiss has a short corridor as well as a more standard corridor option. In all honesty I can't remember if the Shamir lens corridor is adjustable-I don't think it is but I could be wrong. Do you know who your Shamir rep is? If not, tell me where you are and I can hook you up with whoever that person is.
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  6. #6
    Master OptiBoarder Jeff Trail's Avatar
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    This has been floating around for almost a year and it is the DAC Lathe system you are talking about John? I would think so since you mentioned the Shamir line as the lens that is used, if memory serves me it is the Piccilo to be exact.
    I saw a demo of this Lathe and had the total price break down as well as the cylinder machines with the bladder tool system.. it also sets on a 2,500lb. slab to stabalize it..YIKES this is not one that is going to go into a second floor shop :)
    You were correct in posting this Lathe is not an inexpensive investment.. I don't know but the thing I did not like is the thing you mentioned where they attach a "counter" and than you down load it once a month and get a charge from shamir for uing the design, my questions would be what if you had a breakage in the Lathe, or a non adapt of a screw up.. how exactly would anyone be credited or no matter what everytime it clicks you pay that fee?
    Anyone heading to the OLA this weekend will most likely see the DAC Lathe being shown..as for it being "overly" complicated in fitting etc., etc. .. I don't think it may be as daunting as some people think, it is not "custom" fit per se', for person to person as much as it is a backside ground PAL that is a duplicate of a Shamir design (I think they are the only ones so far) being ground on the ocular (base/cross/add) you most probably have a less degree of axial abberation and a smoother transition of power along the divergent axis, that is my "opinion"..
    If anyone contacted a DAC rep I bet they would send you the demo CD or DVD that shows it.. that is the waty I got to see it in my office originally.

    Jeff "slice me and I'll spew resin" Trail

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    The Super Proceed Internal from Seiko is also a back-side progressive. It has to be fabricated in Japan.
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