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Thread: Putting AR on a gradient tinted lens

  1. #1
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    Putting AR on a gradient tinted lens

    It seems the labs we use have a hard time doing this, taking more than 2 months and we still do not have it in our office. If a lab guy could help me with understanding the process that might help. I've worked in a small lab where we tinted lenses as part of in house finishing but never have worked in a lab where AR was put on lenses. Is this just a really bad idea to begin with?

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    Exactly what problem are they having because the AR coating does not care if the the lens is tinted or not. I would guess one of two issues the tint is changing during the wash cycle before ar coating provided they use a tintable hardcoat, or they use a non tintable hardcoat which means the lens material has to take the tint and some materials won’t allow that to happen and tint could leach out of the lens during hard coat. If you give more details like lens material and tint color I might be able to offer some suggestions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lensman11 View Post
    Exactly what problem are they having because the AR coating does not care if the the lens is tinted or not. I would guess one of two issues the tint is changing during the wash cycle before ar coating provided they use a tintable hardcoat, or they use a non tintable hardcoat which means the lens material has to take the tint and some materials won’t allow that to happen and tint could leach out of the lens during hard coat. If you give more details like lens material and tint color I might be able to offer some suggestions.
    1.67 gradient brown tint, thank you for the response.

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    Ghost in the OptiMachine Quince's Avatar
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    Maybe a heat issue? I've had issues in the past with tinting 1.67 but don't recall any having AR. Maybe the AR isn't the problem but instead the tinting process?

    I'm not sure how your system is set up, but are you getting notified at a certain point during processing that they have had to start over? Personally, I like to ask why if they are having multiple redos- that way you can have a know scenario to add extra time when quoting if your lab has difficulty with a particular type of order.
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

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    1.67 is a tintable material you should have no issue getting what you want. If they are dip coating and thermal curing the process should be
    1. Tint the lenses a little darker than required as the tint changes during degassing and curing of the hard coat
    2. Dip coat the lenses and cure the coating
    4. AR NORMAL PROCESS
    5. If you are spin coating even easier as you skip the thermal cure that somewhat alters the tint
    Ask what problem they are having maybe we can help them get you your lenses.

  6. #6
    OptiBoard Professional Mauro.Airoldi's Avatar
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    we use tintable HC (deeping), colored the lens, soft cleaning by ultrasonic tanks (no color change) and AR coat, we send to customer in 2 days.

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    Let me take a stab at this. The 1.67 material is not to be dyed over 185 degrees so that creates a problem as the tints needs a 200 plus for a good covalent bond. Over temping the 1.67 material causes warpage especially on 1.5 centers.
    Next the cleaning process using ultra-sonic, and chemicals leaches out the dye at disproportionate levels with red being the least effected. This makes the color lighter and with a hue change.
    Labs are reluctant to say no to these jobs for fear of offending an account which is exactly what eventually happens. They will occur multiple breakages and then send out a poorly made job.
    Everybody looses in the end. Tints and AR are not good bed fellows. Also the best AR stacks start out with un-coated blanks and apply a hard coat dip process that won’t tint.
    Last edited by ChrisBowers; 04-06-2021 at 11:56 AM.

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    OptiBoard Professional Mauro.Airoldi's Avatar
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    there are 2 commercial types of 1.67, l0MR7 which dyes very quickly but has problems with heat (softening temperature 74 ° c-165 f °) and MR10 which has no problem and you can treat it as CR39 at 93 ° c- 200f °. It is less colorable.
    the HC we lay it for deeping, and it is tintable with primer.
    Dyes specially designed for high index lenses must be used and the washing must be very soft so as not to lead to color change.
    We produce several dozen a day and we have no particular problems

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    Let me try a different approach. I will try to explain the live cycle of a U.S. lab lenses journey in the Rx you describe. What I describe is only a fraction of the horrors that can happen. You order the Rx in electronic form with a note in special instructions to match tint sample to follow. Rx as follows:
    R -2.00-1.00 x 90
    L -2.00 -.25 x 45
    ADD 2.00 some digital design with Crizal™ AR.

    Most of the errors to follow are do to the highly automated labs of today. First error is the LMS (lab mgmt. system) cannot pick lenses by AR stack. It sees digital design and AR and selects a non-coated 1.67 semi-finished blank. It also cannot delimit by which Mitsui monomer to use. The job proceeds through the surface lab and stops at the dye area and returns to the office to be mated with the tint sample to follow. Its journey continues back to the tint station where it spends hours in cue only to find that it will not take a tint.
    With luck we are on day three. The lab posts a breakage pulls the same blanks and reruns the process and to no surprise, the same results. Now a multiple breakage it ends up in the hands of a supervisor who write a note to customer service that this Rx is incompatible with the AR process. This jobs life has now fallen on a weekend where no customer service can reach customer for follow up.
    Day seven: Customer oks job for a lessor AR stack that can use a tintable coating. Job goes to lens pick where a supervisor forces a tintable lens through the LMS but neglects to input the correct front curve. Job goes through surface and rejects for power (the LMS punishes the lab for cheating). These multiple errors can happen over and over.
    Day eleven: You call the lab looking for your order. This job is now designated as the job from hell and assigned one person to hand walk this through the highly automated lab. So, we get this to the tint area and start the brown gradient tint. To do this one half of the lens is submersed in a hot bath conversely the other half is not. I need to remind this good reader that these lenses are thermally sensitive. Lenses should never be in a tint bath for more than 15 min and no more than 3 times. These are best tint practices. Yet this ****** is resisting tint as only one surface is truly tintable. So, we let this soak for hours. Quite likely we will break this job a few more times before settling for a mediocre tint job.
    We had to decide earlier as to do this in uncut form or cut and edged. Both methods have serious disadvantages. In and uncut form it is difficult to make the gradient in the final location and after edging the tine will appear much lighter. In an edged form we stand the particularly good chance of clamp marks from the AR rings.
    Ok so we severely abused the thermal properties of this lens, the chances of future AR stack failure are highly likely. If your lab had this job for 2 months their likely thousands of dollars in arears in lens cost, opportunity cost and customer ill will. As a side note our industry seldom considers opportunity costs. They are the silent killers of profit both wholesale and retail.

  10. #10
    OptiBoard Professional Mauro.Airoldi's Avatar
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    you are right, in Italy it is very different and such an approach would not be accepted. I must deliver a PAL freeform, colored, with hard coat and AR (or mirrow or both CX mirrow and cc AR) in 3 day max from the order and we colored with our standard color or like a your sample. Maximum transmission error 2%.
    The production differences are many, we never use semi-finished products with already hardened convex side, hard coat is always performed for deeping, we have at least 3 different types of Hard coat available (tintable, not tintable, Hight index ...
    and in the choice of semi-finished products I decided not to use the MR7 for mechanical / thermal deformation problems (i'm coating manager).
    Experimentally, a 1.67 lens hardened with tintable HC we get it with an 85% gradient in 1-1.30 'hours at most.
    They are different technical approaches, they have advantages (time) and disadvantages (costs).

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    Chris, if what you are describing was happening at a lab I used, I would look for a new lab the next day.

    Mauro, what you are describing is much more what I would expect from any lab I would use as an independent retailer in the US. If there was a lens I couldn't or didn't want to tint in house, I would expect it to add 1 day to delivery. 3 days seems very fast, I would be happy with 5.

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    Lets simplify this.
    As picky as the patient can be about color being to dark or to light and it being sent back to the lab for remakes, no lab wants to put up with that headache so therefore it will get put on the shelf to set until they get caught up with the orders that are making them money......cg

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCGREEN View Post
    Lets simplify this.
    As picky as the patient can be about color being to dark or to light and it being sent back to the lab for remakes, no lab wants to put up with that headache so therefore it will get put on the shelf to set until they get caught up with the orders that are making them money......cg
    Let's simplify it more.

    If they don't want to do the work, and it doesn't make them money, don't take the job. I turn down work when people come in and ask me for stupid things or things I don't think are worth my time. Labs should do the same. If they say they can do it but put it on the back burner as a non priority, they aren't getting any more of my money, for any jobs.

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    Most labs will not tell you these things or are restricted by HR to speak in this or other forms like it. It’s embarrassing to speak of failures.

    What I speak to is that a new technology is often inadvertently abused. The tint and AR are one example. Let me speak to other examples and maybe a couple of old timers can chime in on other things.

    With the advent of polycarbonate and in the early stages inventing the surface and finish techniques we seldom got a job out the first try. And when we did, .25 off power and less than 4 carbon deposits was the cat’s meow. Enter the facets. Every -8.00 myopic gal wanted a 62 eye Tura 178A. Double faceted. We are talking about lenses that weight ounces not grams.

    Another would be wrap frames. Labs just can’t say no to a -4.00 64 eye wrap. We all have done it with multiple breakages again because “the customer is always right”. Even using wrap calculations, we made horrible eyewear with poor optics.

    Aspheric lens design is another technology jump where we charge more for a lens thinning design that ends mostly in the edger bucket.
    The root cause(s) are the deskilling of surface, finish, and dispensing opticians all to satisfy cost savings. Our labs are crammed with high-speed automation run by computers. If you made widget this would be fine but optical labs mass-produce custom made products. This is kind of diametrically opposed to automation and it results in spoilage.

    The original question was "Is this just a really bad idea to begin with?” my best answer to that is visit a large lab take a tour and ask questions as to which things cause them to poorly service you. Good lab rats love to share.
    Others, please chime in. This is an opportunity to learn from all parties. Goodness knows our industry have lost a lot of talent in the past decade(s).

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    I guess I qualify as a lab rat with 5 decades owning and running different labs. I both agree and disagree with Chris’s statement. I was GM for one of the largest labs in the US doing 3000 orders per day. When I was hired there was not one person in the facility that knew every process let alone have the ability to complete any order from start finish. They had a system of putting a clothes pin on any tray with a breakage the reason was to prevent anyone from putting trays on top of that tray and it would always be on the top of the stack. This had good intentions except some trays had 10 clothes pins on them. No one looked into why it failed or even knew how to correct the problem. Lab people were factory workers who wanted to handle every order the same way but we know that does not work. With today’s automation it is easy to accomplish the required specialization needed for every job the trick is building a data base and software system that is flexible and upgradable on an as needed basis when circumstances arrive. Fortunately for me my job before retirement was with a central lab servicing about 60 stores. We controlled the frame inventory and had the ability to limit material choices by frame and power ranges by frame and base curve restriction this reduced dispenser error to almost zero and saved the customer coming back for restyle because the first pick could be fabricated. We would never except outside Plano sunglasses to be rx’d as most could not. We would never except outside three piece mounts because often times we didn’t have parts nor the desire to figure hole positions. In reality we were saying no to certain orders before it became a problem. We had high automation in our lab and it worked perfectly. We had no employees you call old time lab people nor were any of those skills required. We were the first independent lab to be Certified to do Zeiss free form when most people didn’t know what that was. Part of the process involved Zeiss engineers certifying your process. When they arrived the first question I was asked was where is your engineering department and who is the chief engineer. That gives you some idea of the skill sets that are needed today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NAICITPO View Post
    It seems the labs we use have a hard time doing this, taking more than 2 months and we still do not have it in our office. If a lab guy could help me with understanding the process that might help. I've worked in a small lab where we tinted lenses as part of in house finishing but never have worked in a lab where AR was put on lenses. Is this just a really bad idea to begin with?
    Have you asked the lab why this is delayed? UV cured spin coatings already leave a lot to be desired with 1.67 in that they never really adhere as good as they do to other materials. Add in tinting which just induces heat/stress and it is very easy to compromise the integrity of the hard coating even further. Gradient tints often times end up getting bleached as well which just makes this even worse. I ran an independent AR and mirror coating lab for over 15 years and I always tried to stress the importance of avoiding bleach if possible to tint jobs that were needing to be AR or mirror coated. The coating would often times craze and it was always a serious roll of the dice. It is important to remember that even the best AR coatings on the market will only ever be as good as the foundation they are placed upon. This is a generalized summation but I would try and get some details if possible.
    Last edited by Aceso Optics; 04-08-2021 at 07:10 PM.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
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    To piggyback. Today’s reality with online frame sales and pricing, it is difficult to just say no to the variety of POFs coming in. Even with “at your own risk” disclaimers, the squeaky wheel will generally get the proverbial oil. if only opticians were versed enough to spot the Ookleys and Roybans. If they were versed enough to spot the counterfeit Gucci’s, et al. Us “lab rats” wouldn’t have to reject so many frames, but that is another discussion.

    Lensman11 was one of the first non-Zeiss labs to be qualified for Zeiss. We were not too far behind, once we upgraded our surfacing equipment. His previous lab is a Zeiss qualified lab. Mine is also a Zeiss qualified lab. In today’s world, when Zeiss pulls licensing from independents, I would say that it is an achievement.

    These decisions are up to each lab. Sure, there are costs associated with producing “out of the box” eyewear. There are specialty labs, but you will pay more for their knowledge, expertise and craftsmanship, which many accounts are not willing to pay for. But really, most labs process basic “bread and butter” eyewear at costs that are acceptable for insurance work, which is a constraint that most eye care businesses are forced to comply with.

    Due to cost overruns, TAT, CSAT, and other metrics, we too, need to consider our decisions based on this. Tint+AR is a money losing enterprise, no matter what, unless the owner has deep enough pockets to absorb the spoilage and redo costs. As long as pretinted lens options are available, this would be a no brainer. And that is how I approach this as a non-profit entity.

    As a manager, this is my conundrum. Can we do it? Sure. Is it worth it? No. Not for the redo rates based on CSAT for those “particular” consumers.
    I bend light. That is what I do.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter ak47's Avatar
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    Yes, pre-tinted is the way to go. However, I am not aware of any lab using these for vsp jobs?

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