Australasia's largest provider of eyewear recently installed a FlexLink solution for automating its optical lens processing line, while reducing labour cost and doubling production capacity at the new EyeBiz laboratory in Sydney.
The challenge facing OPSM has been the upgrade and expansion of its production capacity. Firstly, this required combining the existing 16 supply centres throughout Australia and New Zealand and then redesigning manufacturing systems and procedures to improve efficiency. A system was required to transport job trays from the warehouse, through the grinding and fitting processes to the dispatch area.
It had to accommodate increased volume in the limited space available, with enough flexibility to handle three job types.
Prior to its installation, trays of product were loaded manually onto trolleys and wheeled between workstations, causing frequent bottlenecks and increasing the probability of error. As the laboratory produces each pair of glasses to prescription, the ability to identify and trace the product was also critical.
FlexLink supplied the system as a complete turnkey solution, comprising elevators/lowerators, conveyors, diverters and line control. The lowerator conveyor uses friction top chain to lower job trays through the ceiling of the grinding room. Trays are then transferred onto four accumulation conveyors, which provide 45 minutes of curing time between the blocker and the generator, allowing the blocker to set between machines.
In the fitting room, trays are diverted selectively into one of three sections, depending on job type. FlexLink's control system interfaces with the existing software program, allowing operators to trace the product throughout the process. Overall the system has doubled capacity to 4000 lenses a day, while achieving a continuous product flow and virtually eliminating manual handling operations.
As well as enhancing productivity and output the system allows products to be quickly and accurately traced and delivery time estimated. It has also improved product quality by limiting variance caused by human error.