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HomemiequipmentEco -Friendly Green Machines

Eco -Friendly Green Machines

When you use equipment and consumables that are not only ecological, but economical as well, going green can represent saving money as well as the environment.

We all know that reducing waste and conserving water and energy are necessary for the health of our planet and its inhabitants, but eye care professionals who operate in-house labs should also be aware that following these practices could also directly translate into saving money.

The majority of the machines and supplies below can do all of the above and are available overseas with a few available locally.

Naturally Green

Some equipment simply by its design is environmental. This is the case with the 7E HLP Edging System edging system developed in the United States by National Optronics. Their dry-cut technology is inherently environmental because it requires no water or filtration system. “Large labs can save thousands of gallons a year with our system,” according to the company.

Another edger from the States, Super System Optical’s Fastgrind, designed for the small to medium size practice, does use tap water but doesn’t use any slurries or lead or wax, so there are no environmental concerns and no hazardous materials to go down the drain or be filtered out before they do.

Where to Find It

Local Australia and New Zealand Distributors

Briot-Weco Australia

P: (AUS) 1300 667754 or

W: briot-weco.com.au

Gerber Coburn

P: (AUS) 1800 888 266 or (AUS) 08 8382 1699

W: www.gerbercoburn.com.au

Overseas Distributors

AIT Industries

W: www.aitindustries.com

National Optronics

W: www.nationaloptronics.com

Practical Systems Inc. (PSI)

W: www.looktopsi.com

Santinelli International Inc.

W: www.santinelli.com

Super Systems Optical

W: www.superoptical.com

Universal Photonics

W: www.universalphotonics.com

Water Conservation

For equipment that uses water, along with hazardous materials, there are devices that can filter and recycle the water.

A company from the United States, Practical Systems Inc. (PSI), a manufacturer and distributor of optical machinery, supplies and services for wholesale optical laboratories and retail optical dispensers for the last 30 years, offers several options for recycling, filtering, and maintaining water, polish, and coolant in retail labs.

All of their options filter contaminants from the liquids so they can be used over again, saving money on consumables and water as well as reducing the amount of liquids going back into the sewage system. When connected to a chiller, these devices will enable labs to maintain consistent temperatures across all areas of processing, reducing lens reworks and damage.

If your cylinder machine is hooked up to fresh water, you’re sending a minimum of four litres of water through the machine every minute. That’s 1,920 litres for one machine in an eight-hour day. Instead of running water through the machine and down the drain, a recycling and filtration system like the one from PSI (model 952a) can be hooked up to the drain line of a generator or edger so it can filter and recycle the water (or coolant) back through the system, saving tens of thousands of litres of water a month.

Another filtration system available locally, Gerber Coburn’s Euro Aquasave, constantly filters out solids to allow for the recirculation of water or coolant. For further recycling and subsequent savings, the filtration media are washable and reusable. Also from Gerber Coburn, the Euro Kleenchill Polish System’s filtration and refrigeration technology can extend polish life up to 12 months, according to the company. The filtration system removes waste matter and debris and reduces polish waste disposal from once a week to once a year.

Universal Photonics, with labs and distribution facilities throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East, has been a world-leader in surfacing and polishing technology for 75 years. The company has an environment policy that drives its research and development to conservation, preservation and recycling. The company has a complete line of water treatment systems to help keep you as green as possible.

The Edgemate coolant filtration system from Universal Photonics eliminates harmful contaminants from recirculating edging fluids by removing all suspended solids and allows the edger coolant to be recycled for six months or longer. This reduces progressive and AR coated lens rejects.

For complete wastewater treatment, Universal Photonics has an ‘evaporator’. The company says the (rather aptly named) Megavap Liquid Elimination system is “specifically designed to handle wastewater too concentrated for traditional evaporators” and it can reduce waste disposal costs up to 90 per cent in typical situations.

Green Consumables

The transfer fluids, dyes, and solvents used in conjunction with dyeing units all have the potential to be hazardous waste, which is not only unhealthy but also expensive to discard. Brain Power, Inc.’s (BPI) dry, on-demand, infrared-heated Turbo Tinters system distributed by Gerber Coburn locally, cleverly uses direct infrared heat in ceramic heating chambers instead of heat transfer fluid. The Turbo Tinters’ energysaving digital controls provide the precise temperature regulation needed for today’s modern lens materials.

PSI’s Cad-Con 1000 is a treatment for cadmium and lead disposal for labs using alloy blocking. Cad-Con 1000 treats alloy reclaim tank water and polish wastewater for non-hazardous disposal. It separates lead and cadmium from wastewater and settles it so that the water can be poured down the drain. It provides a sealant on the cadmium and lead particles that makes them inactive and safe for solid disposal.

Environmentally friendly consumables from Gerber Coburn include Freebond, LC CleanerPlus, Sonic Cleaner, and Freeblock, which are all biodegradable. Freebond is a blocking medium for surface blocking, Freeblock is a blocking mediumfor finish blocking, LC CleanerPlus is a lens cleaner for use prior to hardcoating, and Sonic Cleaner is a cleaning device for anything from frames to lenses.

Gerber Coburn has also released an eco friendly surface blocking system. The E2G uses onyx-bond which is reusable, biodegradable, alloy and wax-free.

Clearing the Air

To make your in-house lab as environmentally friendly as possible, it’s necessary to clean the air as well. In the U.S., edging technology company, AIT Industries’ ‘AIR Mini’ features an air filtration system that eliminates the obnoxious smell that emanates from highindex edging. In addition to freshening the air this filtration system also reduces the overall level of dust in the lab.

Another product from the U.S. is Santinelli International Inc.’s LED-200 (which stands for lens edger deodoriser). This machine connects to any edger and features a builtin vacuum and activated charcoal filter to remove odours and small particles.

From a local perspective, Briot-Weco Australia produce edgers that are environmental in a number of ways. They catch the swarf through a filter to eliminate drainage into the sewer system, shut the wheels off between cuts to reduce energy use, offer re-circulating water as an option to reduce water usage, and offer three water-delivery systems into the edger chamber to eliminate fumes and odours.

When used in conjunction with Briot- Weco’s Eco Clean filtration system, both solid waste and slurry gets double filtered before entering a settlement tank, making for easy cleaning of the reticulation water system.

Cleaning the air, filtering and recycling the water, and using biodegradable consumables all contribute not only to the health of the planet but to your bottom line.

Key Points
  • Important to conserve energy and water; reduce waste.
  • Environmentally-aware practices lead to saving money. Look out for:

• Design: the design of equipment that is good for the environment.

• Filtration systems: for recycling water and to clean the air.

• Consumables: that are environmentally friendly.

John Sailer is Senior Editor of Vision Care Product News. This article has been adapted by mivision magazine for reproduction in Australia and New Zealand and published with kind permission. It originally appeared under the heading ‘Eco-Friendly Green Machines’ in Vision Care Product News, the flagship publication of First Vision Media Group U.S.A. Vision Care Product News is published monthly (except December) and reaches over 37,000 vision care professionals.