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Thread: Setting up a Lab

  1. #1
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    Blue Jumper Setting up a Lab

    Being the only Optician out of a staff of 4 who knows how to edge lenses, I was asked to set up a lab in a new location of our building. The doctor boss wants to have a full service lab in the future. What advice does anyone have in setting up this lab? Right now we have an edger, cs7 blocker, lensometer, lens groover, and a stone wheel. What about the layout of the equipment? Any rules of thumb?

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    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Check the websites.........................

    Quote Originally Posted by mochagelato
    What advice does anyone have in setting up this lab? Right now we have an edger, cs7 blocker, lensometer, lens groover, and a stone wheel. What about the layout of the equipment? Any rules of thumb?
    Check out my website at http://optochemicals.com it contains a lot of information.

    When you scroll down to the bottom of the main page you will find a menu, look for the link to the listing of optical websites and you will find just about every website of all major companies that can answer your questions.
    Chris Ryser
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    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    OptiBoardaholic Thumbs's Avatar
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    Blue Jumper

    To setup a full surfacing lab in the future plan as many details as you can today, especially concerning space, plumbing and electrical requirements. At the minimum, you should have 240 square feet of space, 100 amps of electricity (most equipment is 220 volts) and plumbing to install a good size sink (i.e. lauhdry sink) and supply lines and drains to any equipment that you will want to operate on direct water vs. pump/tank recycle system. Keep in mind that you need to allocate space if you plan on stocking laps vs. making foam laps for every job and also how much semi-finished and finished lense inventory you are going to stock.

    I've worked closely with GerberCoburn in the past and they where great at advising, doing the lab layout (including all electrical/plumbing requirement), working with contractors to make sure everything was installed as planned, and then installing and training all staff. I highly recommend them to anyone thinking of taking on this project.
    Good Luck!!

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    Blue Jumper Re: lab set up

    :hammer: Thank you! I work with smart Ophthalmologists who know nothing about the optical lab side of the business. They want to set the lab up in one room of the large basement. That room has no sink or windows and the last time I looked, I didn't see any outlets. There is a sink in the kitchen across the hall, though. The Dr. boss says the plumber can create a line going from the room to the little kitchen. I feel like I really need a sink. What do you think of that?

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    Old Optician to New OD Aarlan's Avatar
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    Oftentimes the doctor's expectations exceed the realities of a situation. As thumbs mentioned, the planning stage is critical. You are not going to have an realistic lab set up with no outlets and a single plumbing line. Just out of curiosity, how many square feet is the room? Also, does your doctor have a realistic expectation on the cost of this little venture?

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    Confused re: Aarlan's post

    I don't know the size of the room. I need to find out. No, I don't think anyone knows the costs involved. I will look into all the info that I received in previous posts and present it to the Dr. on Monday!

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    Underemployed Genius Jacqui's Avatar
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    Get some quotes from different manufacturers and let your boss see them, he may change his mind.
    Proud Member of the ABE Club!
    Don't feed the Beast...

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    Old Optician to New OD Aarlan's Avatar
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    I am absolutely not saying that this is a bad idea by the way. I think the cost savings in the long run (AS LONG AS IT IS SET UP CORRECTLY THE FIRST TIME!) will be worth it, however, I have too often seen the 'boss' think that it is a simple quick endeavor. There is a time and financial investment that initially is a bit much for some to stomach. If you can make the original investment though, it will probably pay off in the mid to long term especially if you are pushing the volume.
    Another question...How many units are you pushing through weekly? A full service lab may not be practical if the office is smaller, as your return on investment may take too long to be realized.

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    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Not to worry...............................

    Quote Originally Posted by Aarlan
    Another question...How many units are you pushing through weekly? A full service lab may not be practical if the office is smaller, as your return on investment may take too long to be realized.
    That would be the last of my worries. The Dr MD makes enough money to invest in his own lab. Give it to the tax man or use it for your own purpose.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    OptiBoard Professional Karlen McLean's Avatar
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    Finishing lab tips

    Checkout www.eyecarebusiness.com. There's a story in November 04 archive about setting up an in-office finishing lab. There's also going to be another one in May 05, but that won't be up until about mid-May.

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    Something often overlooked is the importance of work flow. Just because there's the proper outlets for your blocker and back side coater next to each other doesn't mean that you want to put them together. Consider how the product will flow through the lab, consider things like contamination of cutting fluid or coating chambers.

    A good way to get a handle on this is draw outlines of the equipment on the floor and walk a 'tray' through the 'process' prior to making any final decisions. If there are going to be more than a couple of people working the lab then get extra bodies in there when you're doing it. This may well help you decide where the drain lines get placed, where electrical service should be dropped, etc.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Old Optician to New OD Aarlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser
    That would be the last of my worries. The Dr MD makes enough money to invest in his own lab. Give it to the tax man or use it for your own purpose.
    I respectfully disagree. If you are pushing through too few units a week, having a full surfacing lab, plus finishing, plus drill, plus tinting, plus maintenence and repairs to said equipment, plus additional labor (if the staff is already too darn busy), plus training is simply not practical. If this MD ends up wasting money on an inefficient and unprofitable money pit due to lack of calculating a cost/benefit analysis, where are the country club dues and yacht payments going to come from?

    AA

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    OptiWizard
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    Invest in a patternless edger so you can more easily cross-train other staff to edge.

    Basement is good in that it doesn't have to be pretty, patients won't see it. Old kitchen cabinets (including sink) work great.

    Convince your doctors wife to remodel her home kitchen and get her old cabinets/counters/sink. And there might be a way for the doc to write it off.

    Harry Churchill
    Plymouth, MA

  14. #14
    Old Optician to New OD Aarlan's Avatar
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    Harry,
    Which patternless do you use? I'm looking at a Santinelli, an AIT, or an Optronics (all their least expensive ones...I don't need a whole bunch of bells and whistles that will cost me more money in the future when they all break down and need to be fixed by a $225/hour technician). Any suggestions?

    AA

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    Underemployed Genius Jacqui's Avatar
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    Mochagelato: You may want to consider hiring an experienced lab tech. Someone who understands new technology and how to best use it. It may save you money in the long run.
    Proud Member of the ABE Club!
    Don't feed the Beast...

  16. #16
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Ventilation...................

    Should you use a conventional tinting unit, a ventilation hood over it and outside ventilation is required. The unit will have to be placed on an outside wall or window.

    The chemicals used in these units are very toxic when hot and the fumes hihgly damaging to liver and kidneys.

    You can also use one of the new tinting systems that do not require ventilation as they are not toxic.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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