Printheads for lens marking

As Océ explores industrial printing opportunities, they are discovering that their ink and printhead technologies are suitable for applications far beyond the company’s traditional business areas. In a new collaboration between Océ and German coatings company, COTEC, Océ ink and printheads are helping manufacturers manage logistics in eyeglass production.

COTEC: coatings experts

COTEC is an independent business that specializes in physical and chemical coatings for industrial use in different market segments. These include the automotive, consumer goods and ophthalmics sectors.

The supplier-customer connection

Before becoming a customer, COTEC was actually a supplier, providing non-stick coatings for Océ. Hylke Veenstra, Process Architect, Océ R&D 1, explains how COTEC became a customer too. “A COTEC client is an international ophthalmic lens manufacturer. This customer was eager to find a way to apply logistics marks to eyeglass lenses, so that the marks would stick, but would also be removable. COTEC knew about our Océ TonerPearl technology, from their position as a supplier, and thought it might be the perfect ink for the job. It is!”

When COTEC needed printheads for a lens-marking printer, Océ was an obvious supplier. With Océ ink and printheads, COTEC’s printer can apply a removable coating containing logistics marks, so that the lens manufacturer can digitally print the marks on eyeglass lenses.

Eyeglass lenses with markings using Océ inkjet technology

Lens logistics

How do lens production logistics work? After testing your eyes, the optician sends your prescription to the lens manufacturer. COTEC’s printer prints the logistics specifications for your eyeglasses on a lens.

These marks tell the optician how to mount the lens for your specific needs. Once the lenses have been mounted in the frames, the ink is removed, without leaving any residue.

Printheads as a product

This is an example of Océ selling its printheads for use in industrial printing. This business opportunity arose out of an existing relationship, but it’s clear that the potential of inkjet is huge. “While it may be difficult to predict which application will be the next big market,” says Hylke, “it’s clear that partnering is a key part of our growth strategy for industrial printing.”

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