LBC Optics
New Berlin, Wisconsin

Synopsis: LBC Optics services Wisconsin Vision’s 38 stores. The regional retailer was ranked 31st in Vision Monday’s 2020 Top Retailer ranking. LBC’s reengineering project was two-fold. The first was constructing a new conveyor line that could transfer job trays automatically using existing equipment that has the capability to function in this capacity. Second was installing a new control stacker and two new auto polishers to complete a line that produced 100 lenses/hour from blocker to final wash station.

Lab Owner’s Report: Andy George

“The project took three weeks to install. Testing began at week four and we were running at full capacity by the end of that week. During these weeks we were able to outsource for ‘uncut’ work from a non-competing lab. This gave us a true clean slate to build the line from scratch.

Since the installation in 2018, we replaced one older lens generator with a new one which seamlessly integrated into the line and increased production to 125 lenses/hour. The line itself has the capability to produce as much as 175 lenses/hour through future machine upgrades. Overhauling the surface line, including a switch from manual to automated polishers, significantly boosted the lab’s productivity.

We had an immediate need to upgrade our lab, but we also saw the advantages for a system that could grow through small upgrades without a complete redo. We installed a Schneider Modulo in 2018, and the line was set up for 100 lenses per hour. Fast forward three years. With one machine upgrade the line is now producing 130 lenses per hour with possibilities in the future of increasing to 160 lenses per hour.

Without the capabilities of the new surface lines to increase production over time we probably wouldn’t have done it. So, the new technologies were certainly a huge decision-making factor, given the fact that over the years, even a decade or more, they can grow with you.

In order to keep the lab running during the installation, we outsourced our uncuts to a partner lab. Our surface line was completely down for three weeks, and it took another week until we were operating at 100 percent.

Our vendor, Schneider, played a huge role in planning and executing the project. They were ‘on point” with a detailed plan. They have a great team, and planning is one of their strengths. However, the lab has a huge responsibility to ensure the best use of time. Electrical, plumbing, water, air lines and drain hookups were all done ahead of installation. Machinery was uncrated and unpacked. Those were big time savers for the installation teams.

We’ve continued to make upgrades. Earlier this year, we replaced an older free-form generator for a latest and greatest model, and that alone resulted in a 30 percent increase in hourly production.”