3D Printed Ophthalmics: Fact or Fiction?

Last week, I have had the honor to support Luxexcel – the company I proudly served during the early start-up stages – once again from my next position at Luminous Concepts. Being part of the event team for the Vision East Expo in New York City, I witnessed the launch of Luxexcel’s rapidly evolving 3D printing technology towards an audience of eyewear specialists including optical laboratories, eyewear brands, software firms and designers. The inaugural eyewear event was an overwhelming success and clearly confirmed the future strategy and refined business model for Luxexcel. Now, the opthalmics industry needs to wake up, it’s getting VERY serious. Moreover, it needs to prepare for a different future, and below is why.

Next Quality Level – Novel Focus!

After reaching imaging optics quality by the end of last year, the corporate Luxexcel governance decided to bring enhanced focus to its activities. After acting as a ‘multi-market service provider’ for printed optics over the last couple of years, the business strategy was thoughtfully taken over the last months to a next level: providing 3D printing equipment with ophthalmics quality. After several years of hard pioneering work and test marketing, the company decided to go out and share the achieved ophthalmics performances with the rest of the market. Vision East NYC was the launching event for this groundbreaking optics 3D printing technology.

From ‘Manufacturing-as-a-Service’ to ‘Pay per Use’

Luxexcel will provide the users with a full set-up including the hardware (3D printer), consumables, software and full service and maintenance support. The complete value package will exclusively be available to ophthalmics labs and companies in very specific, high-end market niches (ophthalmics specialties).

Seamless Lab Integration

Meanwhile, Luxexcel is preparing the outplacement of its first opthalmics 3D printers in optical laboratories around the globe after summer. After gearing up for launch in the last year through an iterative learning process in various ophthalmics laboratories and test market niches, the company is now getting ready to take a next challenge!

Illumarco_3D printed opthalmics_Luxexcel_seamless lab integration.jpgThe Luxexcel Opthalmics 3Dprinting equipment seamlessly fits in the actual opthalmics laboratory set-ups

WANTED: Independant Ophthalmics Laboratories!

Luxexcel actively seeks the cooperation with (independant) optical laboratories to spread it’s core technology in a variety of eyewear market niches and applications. Interested labs are strongly encouraged to reach out to Luxexcel and discover the value for their business.  Also, joint development programs are offered to potentially strategical technology users with upwards potential to enrich their portfolio and open up new ways of fabrication in a much more flexible and sustainable way!

Enabling Eyewear Technology

The ultimate goal of Luxexcel is not just to economize the actual supply chain, to ‘green’ it and to make it more efficient. Intentionally, the enabling Luxexcel technology opens doors to novel products and applications in high end market niches. This is where Luxexcel want’s to open up doors to applications that were never available before, for example because conventional fabrication technologies lack.

Embedded (secondary) materials, such as electronics and thin-films, VR and AR applications, can now be foreseen with custom focal power. Those and many other new possibilities are now getting within the reach of any lab. Luxexcel launched an amazing set of inspirational showcases at Vision East, just to show its users what can be achieved today, and in the future!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Showcases launchAt Vision East, Luxexcel introduced a variety of inspiring showcases created by its new eyewear technology.

Inspiring Concepts for Today and Tomorrow

3D printed lenses, in ophthalmic quality, are a game changer in the ophthalmic industry. Luxexcel technology is enhanced every day, aiming to make its enabling technology available to the market in 2017. The availability will open up new possibilities in design, process optimize todays processes and allow eyewear developers and designers to create new and unique concepts.

More specifically, eyewear laboratories will soon have the possibility to work with Luxexcel hard- and software directly from their position in the actual supply chain and start to create new and inspiring eyewear concepts, inspired by designers from various backgrounds. Assembled in Europe, the optical 3D printers are ready to be outplaced soon and enrich the laboratories’ offering.

Freedom of Design

3D printed opthalmics come with absolute design freedom. With Luxexcel technology, not only the lens surfaces can be freeform, there are virtually no limitations any longer to the design of the lens shapes as well. As frames now can be embedded (encapsulated) in the lens itself, there is no physical boundary anymore, designers can work easily around it.

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Decorative_Tattoo_ShowcasesEyewear specialties, such tattoo lenses, can now be tailored to the users’ needs.

Also, decorative elements such as images, alignment marks, logo’s and brand names can now easily be added to the lens surfaces, in one single process. It provides designers with new tools to customize their next generations of eyewear. On the contrary to customizing the frames, the design revolution of the last decade, they can now start to be creative with the lenses and their clarity itself!

Wrap Up and Future Expectations

After the inaugural launch at the Vision Expo East 2017, functional 3D Printed Opthalmics are now within the reach of every eyewear professional. I am thrilled to see how the company is starting to make a real difference in the eyewear world. The technology has enormous potential in this field, and the need for change and diversification is huge.

What we’ve seen at Vision East last week, is just a glimpse of what the company is working on. Luxexcel is finally getting ready for a next stage of growth, and it’s technology – with its disruptive power – is ready for it!

 

Fully 3D Printed Glasses – New York City Trial

User Testimonial

Along with the Vision East Expo, I had the honor to be part of a selected user group wearing world’s first FULLY 3D printed glasses. Both the frame, sourced from Monoqool, a trendy eyewear brand, and the glasses provided by Luxexcel, were fabricated using novel additive manufacturing processes.

After wearing my customized pair of 3D printed lenses for over three showdays (and nights), I can confirm that it’s quality is pure and unequalled. Both for operational tasks and going around at the show and in New York City, the glasses performed to my satisfaction. The view, both near and far, is of proper quality and I faced no serious problems when going around, reading signs (including the glare at Broadway) or doing concentrated task work.

The lenses as used for this test case had zero focal power, but the clarity and uniformity of the lenses were satisfactory. Both the outside – that’s been hard coated and AR coated – and the ‘lookthrough’ were of excellent quality!

Even as a ‘non-eyewear’ user, I can confirm the glassess are fine for all-day use. I am looking with great interest and expectations forward to the further roll-out of Luxexcel’s Technology in the US and European ophthalmics markets!

Illumarco_Luxexcel_Vision East Expo_Testimonial fully 3D printed glassesUltimate ‘design freedom’: Lady Liberty through printed glasses, as clear as crystal… fenomenal!

Pictures in this post are property of either the author or Luxexcel. All rights reserved.