We follow The Spectacle Shoppe’s team of lab artisans as they surface, edge, and tint
lenses are often works of art, customized to meet challenging visual demands or crafted to complement spectacular frames. The Spectacle Shoppe, with three retail locations servicing the Twin Cities, has invested mightily in the art inside its frames, creating a central lens surfacing and edging lab in its New Brighton, MN, location.
The lab hosts a team of artisans who work together on a variety of surfacing, coating, edging, and tinting equipment to truly keep all work under its own roof. The lab typically produces about 50 lens jobs a day.
Want to know how they do it? EB asked Lab Manager Kristina Savoren to take us through a typical day in this very busy lab, from dawn to dusk.
5 a.m. The surface lab opens. Joe Egginger, our surface technician, does the startup process on our Schneider DSC Prolab. He manually calibrates this piece of equipment every morning to ensure accuracy. The surface lab opens early to make sure lenses are fully generated and hard coated before our edging lab opens. One pair of lenses can take anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes to reach the edging lab.
6 a.m. Bobby Klaers, our surface technician, completes opening procedures for our Ultra Optics Hard Coating machine. While that machine is warming up he assists Joe in blocking lenses to prep for surfacing our custom house-branded lenses.
The designs of our lenses come from the ProView Series by Schneider. These include both standard and high wrap, single-vision designs, and standard and digital plotted progressive designs. With the combined software and hardware, we can input and design custom-fitted lenses based upon the frame’s vertex, pantoscopic tilt, and face form, and even customize progressive corridors and insets.
8-9 a.m. Our finishing lab opens. We have three Santinelli edgers that we use to custom-edge the lenses that come out of our surface lab. Depending on the intricacy of the frame design, the lenses are edged to shape within eight to 25 minutes. Specialty jobs are handled by edging technicians Maurice “Moe” Strong, Joe Morehead, and me. Much of this work involves manual grinding and finishing of custom, shelf-bevel, and semi-bevel shapes.
10 a.m. The Spectacle Shoppe retail locations open for business. When the store opens, the surface lab will start getting new lens jobs submitting electronically by our opticians.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. We continue to edge jobs and send them out to our Seiko anti-reflective coating lab. This process takes 24 hours to complete, so we receive a shipment of AR-coated jobs back to us Monday-Friday between 1:30 and 2 p.m. After getting AR coated, the lenses go through our lab final inspection process.
2 p.m. The surface lab closes. Lenses are delivered to our other stores by Bobby or David Ulrich, the owner. The other stores have their own finishing labs, too, and our opticians are cross-trained in finishing. Sometimes they’ll handle the custom jobs they sold to their patients.
3-6 p.m. Moe works on a wide range of specialty jobs. Everything from custom tints and shapes to high-wrap shooting glasses and vision therapy tints. A recent specialty job involved a Mikli frame design. Moe had to hand grind, polish, dye tint, and paint a horizontal shelf across the rear lens surface to match the rear-mounted plate attached to the eyewire. This basically had us programming the curvature of the frame’s eyewire as close to the lens front as possible. I’m happy to say the gentleman enjoys his -8.00D gold and watermelon- red frame/lens combo!
6 p.m. Finish lab closes. — as told to Susan Tarrant
You can read more about the specialty edge jobs that require Kristina Savoren and Moe Strong to work their optical magic at our website: eyecarebusiness.com/web-exclusives . Hint: One involves a Green Lantern cosplay mask and one put an avid motorcyclist back on the road!