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Opchat Magazine Industry NewsIndustry News, October to December 2017

Innovation and Excellence in Optics for 100 years
IFB Solutions Will Be First to 3D-Print Lenses, Using Luxexcel’s Platform.
Grafton Optical publish new equipment catalogue to coincide with great available deals.
World Diabetes Day: Imcyse continues patient enrolment in its Phase 1b trial in type 1 diabetes.
Heidelberg Engineering expands the Customer Experience team.
Innovation and Excellence in Optics discussed at latest FMO meeting.
Practice of the Future is Essilor Bespoke.

Innovation and Excellence in Optics for 100 years.

December 2017

FMO held its AGM and annual Christmas Luncheon on Friday December 1 at the Amba Charing Cross Hotel in London. Vice Chair Krysten Williams read a message from Chair Andy Yorke, sending his sincere apologies for not attending due to unforeseen work commitments, and commenting on his first year as Chair in the 100th year of the FMO which he described as ‘a challenging but extremely invigorating year’.

Said Andy ‘The process of change is well underway at FMO, change which is necessary to modernise the organisation so it is equipped to deal with the challenges that it will undoubtedly face in the coming months and years.’

Members received a presentation from Ms Williams which captured the modernisation process, especially in relation to communicating with members via a new website and social media, and ensuring that FMO’s trade show Optrafair continued to develop as the ‘go to’ optical event in the UK in line with its strategic plan. A lively debate about the optical trade show scene in the UK followed, and members were urged to attend the next General Meeting on 21 February to discuss this in more detail.

After the AGM, representatives from across the optical sector joined FMO members to celebrate with a reception and Christmas lunch in the hotel Ballroom. FMO invests its share of Optrafair income in the sector, and during the luncheon Ms Williams made a presentation of a donation to the Optical Workers' Benevolent Fund, accepted by Professor Mo Jailie on behalf of his fellow Trustees.

FMO awards 2017Following lunch Barry Dibble, Immediate Past Chair of FMO, presented Kingsley Sleep, with an engraved photo frame in recognition of Mr Sleep’s long service on the Board.

Mr Sleep had been a Director of FMO since its incorporation in 2002 but prior to that he was actively involved in the unincorporated organisation as Chair from 1996-1998 and from 2000-2001.

Mr Dibble paid tribute to Mr Sleep’s many years of work for FMO as a key figure in the former OFIMA (the forerunner of the Frames Focus Group) and also in FMO’s standards work. Latterly, as a co opted Director, Mr Sleep had taken on the enormous task of drafting new Articles of Association, and has been a great source of information about FMO for his fellow Directors.

Mr Dibble then presented Honorary Life Membership to former Chair John Conway, in recognition of Mr Conway’s outstanding contribution to the work of FMO and his many years of loyal service.

IFB Solutions Will Be First to 3D-Print Lenses, Using Luxexcel’s Platform.

November 2017

Luxexcel and IFB Solutions are preparing to commercialize the 3D printing of ophthalmic lenses, a technological feat that is an industry first.

IFB has recently taken delivery of a 3D printing platform, developed by Luxexcel, at its optical laboratory in Winston-Salem, N.C. A new era of eyeglass manufacturing will begin when the first lenses come off the production line expected at the end of this year.

Guido Groet, chief commercial officer of Luxexcel, commented, “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.”

Dan Kelly, chief operating office for IFB Solutions, told VMail that he believes that embracing the new technology is essential for remaining competitive. “In all industries today, the trend is toward additive manufacturing,” said Kelly, using the technical term for 3D printing. “We want to be ahead of the curve. You don’t want to be the guy in the darkroom when everyone else has moved to digital photography.”

Kelly said the IFB lab produces about 1,100 pairs of spectacle lenses a day, including a significant number of special lenses such as slab-offs and prism lenses for low vision patients. Being able to print these custom lenses in-house instead of relying on conventional lens surfacing technology will allow IFB to slash its turnaround time, he noted. “Our turn time will be a few days rather than a few weeks, which is comparable for standard eyeglasses. That’s a huge competitive advantage.”

Another advantage to the Luxexcel technology is ease of use for the lab technician. It replaces several pieces of conventional lens processing equipment, such as generators, blockers, tapers and polishers. The simpler operation is especially important for IFB Solutions, which 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 work force. 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 Luxexcel platform consists of industrial grade optical 3D-printers, lens-design software and workflow integration tools which enables 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.

IFB has been working with Luxexcel for the past 18 months, testing lenses that Luxexcel produced at its facility in Belgium both in the lab and with customers. During that time, Luxexcel has steadily improved the optical quality of the lenses, which Kelly said is now quite good. “Our opticians and inspectors are extremely comfortable with the progress they’ve made,” he said.

IFB Solutions is a nonprofit 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 U.S.

As the largest employer of people who are blind or visually impaired in the U.S., 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.

Luxexcel, has received an equity investment of €4 million ($4.7 million) from Innovation Industries, a Netherlands-based venture capital fund. Luxexcel said the investment will enable it to accelerate the next-gen development of its 3D printing platform for prescription lenses for use in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications.

The additional €4 million ($4.7 million) investment will be used for rapid expansion of the Luxexcel platform-functionality through dedicated co-development programs and partnerships in the AR and VR categories. AR and VR applications include smart glasses that provide the user with real time information for professional and personal use, gaming applications including control consoles for drones, sensors and cameras integrated in eyewear.

“AR/VR applications have become a hot topic in the industry,” said Hans Streng, chief executive officer of Luxexcel. “We add the ability to 3D-print ophthalmic-quality prescription lenses to these applications. This enables the AR/VR headset manufacturers to offer fully personalized smart eyewear in an attractive frame design. The ability of our platform to 3D-print ophthalmic lenses in any shape or form and the possibility to embed new functionalities in the lens triggers entirely new dimensions in terms of user-experience and business opportunity.”

Nard Sintenie, founding partner at Innovation Industries BV, remarked, “We believe that with the technology of Luxexcel it will be possible to combine AR/VR applications with Rx eye correction, which is an essential component in bringing smart eyewear to the mainstream market. We are excited about leveraging the high tech network in the Netherlands to enable this unique breakthrough.”

Recently, Luxexcel announced a €8.5 million ($10 million) investment for its core activities in the ophthalmic industry. The first industrial grade 3D printing platforms for ophthalmic lenses are being installed this year in the U.S. and Europe.

Find out more about 3D printing here

Grafton Optical publish new equipment catalogue to coincide with great available deals.

November 2017

Grafton Optical

A newly updated and comprehensive optical equipment catalogue has recently been published by Grafton Optical.

Contact Grafton Optical for the updated catalogue containing the broad range of equipment that they are renowned for providing.

In need of a new lensmeter, autorefractor, testchart or anything else for you’re practice, Grafton have some fantastic deals this time of year!

Grafton Optical help us provide your free Opchat News pages by sponsoring your site. Read about Grafton here and connect direct to their website.

World Diabetes Day: Imcyse continues patient enrolment in its Phase 1b trial in type 1 diabetes.

November 2017

Imcyse continues patient enrolment in its Phase 1b trial in type 1 diabetes

The current trial is recruiting up to 40 patients in four European countries

The specific immunotherapy could be used at the very early stages of diabetes to stop the destruction of pancreatic cells

Imcyse, is a biotechnology company developing active specific therapies for the treatment of severe chronic diseases, today announces that it began recruiting patients into its multicenter Phase 1b clinical trial in insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes in September. The trial is now recruiting patients at 15 clinical sites in four European countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom) and should open soon in France.
Information on recruitment.

Imcyse’s unique Imotopes™ are specific modified peptides that induce a unique type of T-cell. Known as cytotoxic T-cells, these actively and specifically kill immune cells involved in destroying the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Treatment with a specific Imotope™ has the potential to disrupt the undesirable immune response that drives the process of destruction of the pancreas. Preclinical studies showed a prolonged effect after just a few subcutaneous injections.

“We are delighted to have been the first to enroll a patient into Imcyse’s Phase 1b trial,” said Henrik Ullits Andersen, chief physician at the Steno Diabetes Center, Copenhagen (Denmark), cooperating closely with DanTrials ApS at Bispebjerg Hospital. “Imcyse’s technology is very promising as the Imotope therapy could be ideal for the treatment of patients with type 1 diabetes at very early stages. We are looking forward to recruiting further patients.”

“Entering the clinical phase is a major milestone for a young biotechnology company like Imcyse,” said Pierre Vandepapelière, CEO of Imcyse. “We are very much looking forward to enrolling many more patients with recent onset type 1 diabetes into our first trial. We believe that our unique approach could bring a major breakthrough in addressing type 1 diabetes.”

The incidence of type 1 diabetes is rapidly increasing, with the disease increasingly occurring in younger children. It affects more than 40 million people worldwide. Currently, the only available treatment is to control the blood glucose level with multiple daily insulin injections.

The enrollment phase is expected to finish by the middle of 2018 with results expected at the end of 2018.

Imcyse’s Phase 1b trial received European funding under the EXALT program supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development.
Founded in 2010, Imcyse is a spin-off from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), Belgium. The company is based near the Belgian city of Liège.

Heidelberg Engineering expands the Customer Experience team.

November 2017

Heidelberg Engineering support teamHeidelberg Engineering’s Customer Experience team has expanded to ensure the highest level of support for the growing number of users enjoying advanced ophthalmic scanning technology with SPECTRALIS®. With a commitment to provide support within minutes of a call to the Hemel Hempstead centre, Heidelberg Engineering has pledged to resolve customer queries quicker than ever.

Emily Malbon has been promoted to Marketing Manager following five years with Heidelberg Engineering.

Knowing the sector well, and familiar to many Heidelberg Engineering customers, Emily is well placed to lead the expanded team which brings marketing and customer experience together to deliver a strong brand, “Heidelberg Engineering is well known for the gold standard Customer Experience in the service we offer. We have doubled the number of staff that make up our customer experience team in a commitment to continue to provide the high quality support and tailored education that our increasing number of private ophthalmology, NHS and optometry customers have come to know and expect,” she said.

Joining Emily is Elizabeth Taylor, who has been promoted to Marketing Communications Coordinator and is ensuring customer communications, educational events and exhibitions are all of a high standard. Recently appointed are Debi Robson and Emma Wyles, who oversee the help desk, servicing and installations.

Roma Givane takes care of the customer relationship management system and Mark Foyle, Stock and Logistics Coordinator, ensures timely delivery of new SPECTRALIS orders and develops innovative clinical work station solutions.

Debi Robson, Customer Experience Coordinator, says there is great unity within the company, “We are working very well together as a team and I really enjoy the business. I am passionate about delivering solutions and making our customers happy. I have a family member with glaucoma and I have been amazed to learn about the SPECTRALIS and how the level of patient care can be improved with this diagnostic tool,” she said.

Picture above shows back row: Mark Foyle, Elizabeth Taylor, Roma Givane, Emma Wyles. Front: Emily Malbon and Debi Robson

By supporting us at PHN Heidelberg allow us to publish Opchat News free and independently to the Optical Community. See Heidelbergs page here

Innovation and Excellence in Optics discussed at latest FMO meeting.

October 2017

FMO supports members with advice on the new General Data Protection Regulations

FMO General MeetingFMO Chair Andy Yorke welcomed members to the six monthly Members’ Meeting at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Wednesday 18 October, focusing on the new GDPR which will come into force in May next year.

During the first part of the meeting, FMO’s three Focus Groups for Equipment, Frames and Lenses met to enable members to share views, and to decide on priorities.

The Equipment Focus Group, chaired by Krysten Williams, CEO of Heidelberg Engineering, is developing plans to accredit training in the use of ophthalmic equipment, the Frames Focus Group, chaired by James Conway, CEO of Millmead Optical Group, is looking at how to identify and meet the trade body needs of the fashion frames industry, and the Lens Focus Group, chaired by Andy Hepworth, Professional Relations Manager for Essilor, is working with the Optical Consumer Complaints Service to develop accredited training to help to reduce the incidence of varifocal lens non-tolerance, which is a cost to FMO’s members who guarantee these lenses and a major source of consumer complaints to OCCS.

After lunch FMO Chief Executive Bryony Pawinska gave a presentation of the aims of the GDPR, key features of the new regulations which will affect FMO members, and went through some frequently asked questions. A round table discussion followed and members asked FMO to provide support for them on GDPR on an ongoing basis.

GDPR is one of a raft of new regulatory changes that will affect FMO members and it was agreed to focus on the new Medical Devices Regulations for harmonising CEN standards at the next general members meeting to be held in March 2018.

FMO members present were reminded that FMO is the UK member for Eurom1, which will be actively involved in this work.

Wasim Hamid, Sales Manager for Optrafair, attended the meeting and updated members on how the 2018 show is developing, with additional support for exhibitors from the exhibitions team, and exciting new features for attendees.

Coincidentally the experienced team from Mark Allen Exhibitions were at the Ricoh at the same time as FMO, presenting the Engineering Design Show.

PHN has provided a full briefing on GDPR on its business briefing page which can be downloaded here.

Practice of the Future is Essilor Bespoke.

October 2017

Essilor Bespoke teamEssilor Ltd announces the launch of its Bespoke programme, a new strategy aimed at independent businesses with the desire to embrace the digital age and actively use new technology to create a completely unique and new patient experience.

As consumers we know that digital technology permeates every facet of our everyday lives, with new innovations being released at an expediential rate. This is shaping the expectations and shopper habits of consumers in all walks of life. Our own industry is not excluded from this movement.

The independent sector needs future proofing and there has never been a better time for business owners to take a leap of faith into the new era. It is time to act differently in order to get noticed.

It’s time to listen to what consumers want and to make the suggested changes to meet their needs. There is a growing appetite for personalised products and consumers are actively seeking places to buy them but most independents simply aren’t in a position to fulfil these needs and are therefore not tapping into the potential.

The latest Foresight report highlighted need for change and the necessity for independents to move away from the traditional model of clinical dispensing to one that is driven by innovation and differentiation.

Essilor Bespoke is a business transformation programme that helps independents move to where they need to be to prosper and grow, it delivers financial success and positively changes the face of the business.

Successful practices will not only be equipped with the latest digital technology including the Visioffice 2 measuring system and digital advertising displays they will also be equipped with new skills that will give them a competitive advantage.

The patient will enjoy the highest visual performance and a complete in-store experience that they will come back for. Essilor has invested in a new dedicated team to work in parallel with the existing account management team. The Bespoke consultant works directly with the practice team to implement growth driving strategies which impact directly on the bottom line. Bespoke partners will also have their own marketing consultant to help them take their practice to the next level.

Randeep Gill, Commercial Director comments; “The Bespoke experience is not just about the patient having the best visual solution but the most remarkable experience of their eye examination.
By becoming an Essilor Bespoke practice, opticians will be able to complement their current care with enhanced commercial training and highly innovative technology. This will help them to dispense the best in class Bespoke lenses.

“The 70 businesses that have already embarked on the journey show that the Bespoke programme has boosted competitive advantage and resulted in revenue growth.”

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