Adlens opens new factory in Oxford

Posted on 22 Nov 2013 by The Manufacturer

Eye wear manufacturer Adlens has opened a new factory in Oxford for the production of its variable power optics technology, Focuss.

The new facility represented a £1.2m capital cost to Adlens and was funded using company cash.

Around 19 highly skilled employees now work at the Oxford site. Several production line operatives have post graduate qualifications and all were recruited locally. The site is led by the Adlens’ vice president of operations, Frank Lavety.

Recruitment for the new facility takes Aldens’ global employments footprint to around 90, with approximately 80 being based in the UK – predominantly at the company’s Innovation Centre in north Oxford.

Adlens also manufactures spectacles in Asia, but chose to locate production of its recently unveiled FAdlens Focuss technology in the UK due to the demanding combination of materials, process and technology involved in creating a quality product at volume, according to Mr Lavety.

Adlens Focuss is a first-of-kind eye wear technology which Adlens hopes will revolutionise the world of progressive lenses.

The technology is targeted at users of progressive lenses aged 40 years+ and, in the first instance will be retailed exclusively in the USA where Adlens has struck a distribution agreement with LensCrafters, the largest optical retailer in the country.

The Adlens Focuss USP is the small mechanical dial on the side of its spectacles’ frames which allow the wearer to adjust their prescription lenses for optimum near and near-immediate vision.

This is achieved by flexing the lens which is coated with a layer of tensioned polyurethane (TPU).

The TPU coating also encases a bubble of silicon oil which acts in a similar way the fluid in a human eye.

Adlens anticipates the US market for Adlens Focuss to be in the region of $100m. There are 54 million US citizens who use progressive lenses today, almost 80% of whom are unhappy with their eye wear for a variety of reasons according to a study conducted by the research company GfK.

The new Adlens facility in Oxford has the capacity to produce around 30,000 pairs of glasses a year based on one shift.

The manufacturing process is semi-automated with advanced in-process quality checks at every stage in order to assure standards for compliance and an uncompromised user experience are maintained.

The Oxford facility was built and equipped using UK companies and the supply chain for the manufacture of Adlens Focuss is also largely UK-based. The prescriptions lenses used on the products, for example, are made by Carl Zeiss Vision in Birmingham.