Luxexcel and IFB Solutions have signed a contract for the first 3D print platform for ophthalmic lenses. The platform will be integrated into IFB’s optical operations in Winston-Salem, N.C. which is one of the top 10 independent labs in the country. The Luxexcel platform consists of industrial grade optical 3D-printers, lens-design software and workflow integration tools which enable customers like IFB Solutions to manufacture 3D printed ophthalmic quality lenses that meet all industry standards. The technology is initially focusing on difficult-to-manufacture medical specialty lenses.
“In IFB Solutions we found a partner that is keen to adopt this unique technology and develop the market for the unique products possible with 3D printing. It is our intention to overcome today’s challenges in the ophthalmic world by making lenses outside the mainstream, enabling eye glasses with new capabilities compared to the existing product offerings. The Luxexcel Vision Platform represents the next level of lens manufacturing solutions for ophthalmic labs and provides an opportunity to differentiate and develop unique ophthalmic products,” said Guido Groet, Chief Commercial Officer of Luxexcel.
The decades of optical experience and innovative spirit of the IFB Solutions lab were an ideal fit.
“We recognize that 3D printing is the future of the optical industry, and we want to be early innovators and adopters of this emerging technology. With the Luxexcel platform, we can now deliver specialty lenses to our customers in a matter of days, and that’s a huge advantage for our organization that is known for exceptional service and quality,” said Says Dan Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for IFB Solutions.
Another significant advantage to the Luxexcel technology is ease of use for the lab technician. IFB Solutions is the largest employer of individuals who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S., including more than 75 percent of its optical lab workforce. IFB plans to have individuals who are blind or visually impaired operate the Luxexcel machinery. The Luxexcel platform will be delivered to IFB Solutions on a pay per use model.
“The specialty lenses that we will produce with the Luxexcel technology are often needed for patients with low vision, which is a specific area of expertise at IFB Solutions,” says Kelly. “Not only do we employ many individuals with low vision but we also provide low vision services through our Community Low Vision Centers in North Carolina and Arkansas.”
The Luxexcel technology combines hardware, consumables, and design-software, in one 3D printing solution. Ophthalmic labs receive the complete platform, which includes a printer, resins, support and software solutions in return for a click fee payment. Lenses produced with the 3D print solution are ISO compliant and compatible with today’s industry coatings and customary processes like edging and frame mounting. The Luxexcel platform can be integrated into today’s proven ophthalmic lab workflow.
Luxexcel is the only company in the world with technology that can 3D print ophthalmic lenses. The company started in 2009 and has fully optimized its 3D print technology for the ophthalmic market. The unique and highly accurate technology allows manufacturing lenses without the need for polishing. Key benefits of the technology are the ability to eliminate operational inefficiencies and the creation of new and perfectly customized products.
IFB Solutions is a non-profit corporation that provides employment, training, and services for people who are blind or visually impaired. In 2000, IFB began producing eyeglasses for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a customer partnership that remains today with IFB supplying eyeglasses to nearly 40 VA locations in the United States. As the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the United States, IFB operates the optical lab and a large-scale manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, N.C., along with manufacturing facilities in Asheville, N.C., and Little Rock, Ark. Through its operations and community support, IFB Solutions funds programs for adults and children who are blind or visually impaired.