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Top-of-the-Line Features for Multifunctional Edging Systems

Editors of 20/20 and Vision Monday


Multifunctional edging systems can do just about everything but “sell” today’s popular eyewear. In fact, since these systems enable your staff to spend less time edging and more time selling and servicing patients, they even help the selling process.

Cost Vs. Benefits

To understand the capabilities of a fully-integrated finishing system, think about the steps required to take an uncut lens from its oversized state down to the shaped lens that fits perfectly in a selected frame. The more steps a machine performs automatically, the higher the equipment cost. But the investment is offset by a reduction in the time and skill needed to finish jobs, which lowers your cost of doing business significantly.

Fully integrated edging systems perform all steps using one, two or three machines linked by software. They automatically trace frames, center and block lenses, bevel or groove, apply a safety bevel, drill rimless and polish, all with minimal operator input. They can do optical calculations automatically and process lenses with impressive speed and precision.

Features That Payout

Here’s a rundown of features available on the higher end of the technology spectrum:

TRACING: Frame tracers may be combined with blockers or integrated with edgers. Features to look for include:

  • Automatic clamping of the frame to avoid operator error
  • Multiple trace measurements, including frame size, shape, curvature, thickness and bevel angle
  • creen display of the traced frame shape to aid lens centering and blocking

CENTERING AND BLOCKING: The machines that perform these functions automatically eliminate what was once a very labor intensive process. Top-of-the-line equipment can:

  • Read lens power automatically without a lensometer
  • Detect lens type automatically (i.e., bifocal near-vision segment, progressive lens markings)
  • Identify the optical center automatically
  • Apply the edging block automatically

EDGING, GROOVING and SAFETY BEVELING: In the view of one veteran optician, even the best of his peers could not produce by “the old edging methods” the consistent level of accuracy that today’s automatic equipment can produce, at high speed, day in and day out.

Features that help achieve consistent accuracy include:

  • Automatic tension controls to edge all lens materials (all plastics, polycarbonate and glass) with special settings for Trivex, fragile and hydrophobic AR lenses
  • Bevel size and placement controls to optimize aesthetics
  • Screen display to confirm or adjust bevel placement prior to edging
  • Multiple groove width and depth selections, partial groove
  • Angled grooving for curved lenses
  • The ability to edge very small lenses, sharply curved lenses and everything in between
  • Front and rear safety bevel settings with pressure adjustments

DRILLING: Drilling technology has advanced dramatically with the popularity of fashion rimless eyewear. Some systems integrate the drill with the edger to eliminate lens handling between steps. Others offer a separate drill and special software that links the systems seamlessly. Even new operators can learn to drill expertly with these high end machines.

Key drilling features include:

  • The ability to easily select multiple holes and notch configurations on a work screen that displays the holes on an outline of the lens before drilling
  • Automatic tilt control and adjustment of the drill angle for high base curves
  • Imaging technology to capture demo lens shapes
  • Memory and recall capabilities for multiple jobs and shapes
  • The ability to modify lens shapes to customize rimless eyewear, a unique selling benefit

To learn more, talk with each of the major manufacturers at an industry conference, or set up meetings in your office. Consider the skill level of your employees who will be edging. Then compare the functions and benefits of each system to determine which can best support your practice.

— Compiled by the editors of 20/20 and Vision Monday

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