Internationally acclaimed as one of the masters of the game, Satisloh has firmed its place in the ophthalmic industry with its innovation and excellence
For a company that will complete 100 years since its original inception, in less than a decade from now, dedication, perseverance and innovation are not merely words, but a way of life. Satisloh is one of the foremost machine manufacturers for ophthalmic and precision optics as well as for reliable high-tech equipment, worldwide. Today headquartered in Switzerland, its presence is stamped in USA, Canada, EMEA, India, Middle and South America, Asia and Australia. Its expertise lies in providing customised cutting-edge solutions and a large variety of surfacing, centring, polishing, coating and finishing equipment, consumables and tools.
Satisloh offers complete lab solutions for manufacturing optical components, and then teams it up with excellent back-up support. The fact that it can provide immediate technical support because of its omnipresence places it in an enviable position in the world lens market.
With its inception in 1922, in Wetzlar, Germany, the company started operations for the production of sheet-metal cans, spindles and equipment for micro-lens work. The company was started by Wilhelm Loh and called the ‘Mechanical Workshop, Toolmakers & Locksmith’. Twenty eight years later, on Wilhelm Loh’s death in 1950, his son Ernst Loh took over the company and, with his continuous efforts, put LOH up on the world map as one of the leading manufacturing brands of optical machinery.
In 1965, in a small apartment in Italy, a gentleman by the name of Delio Ciparisso set up a company called Satis Vacuum and started manufacturing coating machines for the ophthalmic industry with a small unit for just 6 lenses. A small start, but a huge beginning for a company today recognised as a specialist in surfacing in the ophthalmic industry.
Soon, Satis Vacuum started building Box Coaters, while LOH had developed the first lapping and polishing machine – LPT, and the first ophthalmic polishing machine – Toro-X. The rise of the company was fairly meteoric after that.
In 1980, Satis Vacuum Germany was founded. By the nineties, the company’s fortunes were smiling happily. Essilor was the first major account. Box Coater 1200, the biggest high volume vacuum coater was launched, and subsidiaries were opened in Great Britain and Singapore. Meanwhile, LOH too established new sales departments in Europe and South America.
In 1998, Satis Vacuum was sold to Schweiter Technologies AG. With this, there was a huge boost in the manufacturing and sale of vacuum coating systems based on high vacuum deposition, single-target reactive sputtering, and plasma impulse chemical vapour deposition (PICVD). In 2000 LOH developed the first industrial edging machine for ophthalmic lenses ES-2.
Meanwhile, LOH started to work with an agency in India. Finally, in 2005, LOH and Satis Vacuum merged and Satisloh was formed and became a full range supplier for the international optical industry, offering surfacing machines for ophthalmic and precision optics labs as well as coating machines.
Several milestones were added in the next few years. In 2008, Satisloh became a part of the world-class brand for corrective lenses, Essilor International. It also took over the management of National Optronics, an ophthalmic lens and edging equipment manufacturer. Thereafter, two high-tech machines were launched in the market. VFT-orbit, the new ophthalmic generator for all kind of lenses, and Nucleo-Blocker, the first alloy-free blocker and first of the On-Block Manufacturing line.
Soon the company felt the need for expansion in Brazil, and the South American agency became Satisloh do Brazil. The same year a new ‘X’ generation of box coaters – MC-380-X and 1200-DLX was launched.
By now the company had grown into a formidable player in the ophthalmic industry. And finally, two years ago, CM of Brazil joined the Satisloh Group and was renamed CMSatisloh. That year was extra special for the company as it also marked the launch of the smallest digital lens surfacing machines, ‘Micro Line’, consisting of VFT-micro generator and Micro-FLEX polisher. For precision optics the next generation of centring machines C-50 and C-300 were launched and it soon captured the market.
With over 950 employees spread over five production centres and subsidiaries worldwide, the Satisloh Group has now emerged as a key player in the ophthalmic industry. Either manually operated or fully automated, Satisloh provides complete, modern system solutions for state-of-the-art ophthalmic lens manufacturing. The offering comprises high-tech machines and process solutions for all lab sizes, for protecting, blocking and deblocking, generating, polishing, coating and finishing lenses.
As a one-stop supplier for equipping ophthalmic labs, Satisloh also offers a wide range of matching consumables and tools which are an integral part of high quality lens production. To complete the product portfolio, accessory equipment like an automation solution or coolant management systems, lens design and lab management software are provided as well.
Satisloh, along with Crossbow’s Custom free-form design, offers a fantastic range of designs across the board and in all popular indices. A wide range of corridor lengths are provided by the progressive range of lenses. Moreover, the range is equipped to fit a large variety of frame sizes and shapes. There’s a special curve control in the reading area for flatter, more cosmetically appealing lenses.
Tray-Express: Satisloh’s Modular Automated Solution
Satisloh’s partnership with NCC Automated Systems has resulted in a modular solution that the company has every right to feel proud of. In an industry that is still grappling with the understanding of the term ‘Lab automation’, Satisloh has gone several steps ahead and prides itself for having evolved a methodology for automation. They call it Tray-Express, a plug and play system that is ideal for a quick production system in a start-up with the ability to offer expansive support with the increase of production in the future. Pre-assembled and pre-engineered modules make it easy to automate a single process or the entire lab procedure. The added benefit of this system is that it also consumes less power. Satisloh also offers consultancy service for the automation process and takes up assignments on existing and customised solutions on a turnkey basis.
Accessorise with Satisloh
Whether it is high precision laser engraving system for marking ophthalmic progressive lenses or coolant management equipment, Satisloh offers a wide range of accessories for machines and applications. The CO2 laser system, for instance, is prepared to engrave semi-visible and visible markings on organic lenses.
Satisloh has ventured into the digitalised process management market by launching several software for the different processes in the entire spectacle lens manufacturing production. The Windows based software system has several modules for the automatic calculation and handling for various processes in the manufacturing of ophthalmic lenses. The modules process data and throw up results that aid in the production of all kinds of lenses and also in the surfacing, engraving and finishing equipment. The system also provides an interface to customer HOST systems, Satisloh software modules and surfacing equipment.
Awards and Recognition
Satisloh’s ART/Nucleo blocking process has won the German Federal Ecodesign Award 2014, in the ‘Products’ category. This award recognises products, services and concepts that have an outstanding ecological quality, an innovative approach and quality design.
In the innovative production process ART/Nucleo, the ‘Alloy’ is replaced with a largely environmentally friendly organic adhesive. Also, the lens holder is now made of plastic. The entire process is further integrated into a fully automated system, so that virtually no manual operations are necessary. Thus, the technology replaces heavy metals and rare earths which are needed in the production of optical lenses, thereby improving both the occupational safety and the environmental impact of the production of ophthalmic lenses.
Satisloh’s Training Academy
Satisloh also conducts in-depth training by Satisloh factory trained personnel to provide users the necessary knowledge to run Satisloh equipment at optimum capacity.
1922: The ‘Mechanical Workshop, Toolmakers & Locksmith’ is formed by Wilhelm Loh.
1950: Ernst Loh takes over the management after his father’s death.
1965: Foundation of Satis Vacuum by Delio Ciparisso.
1970s: Satis Vacuum starts building Box Coaters.
1980: Foundation of Satis Vacuum Germany and United Kingdom subsidiary.
1990s: Essilor becomes the first key account of Satis Vacuum, while LOH opens sales offices in Europe and South America.
1998: Schweiter Technologies AG buys Satis Vacuum.
2000: LOH develops the first industrial edging machine for ophthalmic lenses ES-2.
2005: LOH and Satis Vacuum merge. A new production place in Zhongshan, China, is founded.
2006: The first educational and networking event, Slugfest – a Satisloh User Group Meeting takes place in Germantown (Wi/USA). Since then, Slugfest has been a regular event for Satisloh.
2008: Satisloh becomes part of Essilor International, the world leader for corrective glasses, headquartered in Charenton-le-Pont, France.
2010: The first On-Block Manufacturing line (OBM) is installed, thereby initiating automated ophthalmic lens production.
2012: CM in Brazil joins the Satisloh Group and is renamed CMSatisloh. The year also marks the opening of Satisloh’s new sales and service facility in Danyang in China.
2014: Satisloh’s ART blocking process wins the German Federal Ecodesign Award 2014.