MEI: new developments in the sector of lens cutting machines at Mido
President Sonzogni: "the challenge? Maintaining technical supremacy and quality service"
Stefano Sonzogni, MEI president and technical director, has no doubts:
"For us" – he said - "Mido is the most important exhibition appointment of the year. Thanks also to its geographical closeness, we can exhibit our entire range of machinery for the lens cutting sector. Primarily, we are interested in knowing how our customers perceive our products and service. Above all, the exhibition is a unique occasion for meeting the firms that are already our customers. Obviously, we expect to increase our contacts and we hope that we will bring ongoing negotiations to a positive conclusion.
Again this year we have some new products to present and we hope that our proposals will contribute to improving our customers' productivity.
Lastly, we hope to find out what our competitors are doing and look for indications that will help us to keep the research and development of future projects on the right track.
- Your perspective is slightly different, but how do you evaluate the expectations for the eyewear industry in 2014 and, above all, what are your company's expectations?
"Although our products do not cover all the aspects of the eyewear world, in our opinion and despite the general downturn that all manufacturing sectors are enduring, the eyewear industry is still quite lively. Based on news published in the trade press and the flow of orders for our machines, we can say that it is obvious that at a time of economic crisis like the present, the market that revolves around eyewear has suffered from the unfavorable economic situation only to a limited extent.
Naturally, this does not apply to all the operators involved. Those who had the strength and farsightedness to change their ways and think about eyewear have prospered. Those who were unable to follow the change in wind direction (but also to head into the wind) had the biggest losses.
As far as we are concerned, thinking upwind is almost pathological but so far it has been in our favor and has opened up new market opportunities. Without a doubt, in 2014 we will stubbornly continue to drive our machines toward objectives of greater productivity, reliability and ease of use. And frequently in our search for excellence, some new ideas come up that will open up new possibilities for growth".
- Some have felt the backlash of the crisis while others have escaped, what is your situation?
"Thanks to the considerable changes made to the lens cutting process, so far our company has not seen a decline in the flow of orders. Of course, in the future we could see saturation, especially because the end-user market is not growing at all due to the economic situation in general; moreover, our product lasts for a long time. Then there are the competitors who certainly won't be twiddling their thumbs. However it has to be said that we ourselves instigated many changes in the lens cutting process and this continues to give us a significant competitive advantage. But this situation could change very soon given the active presence of strong international competitors. The challenge facing us today is the maintenance of our technical supremacy and the quality of our service; despite the increase in the number of machines installed and the growth of the company itself, we want to continue to be close to end users and share their needs.
For us, maintaining a competitive advantage by manufacturing in Italy, where we know that costs are not low, means expressing unparalleled technological supremacy".
- It's difficult to ask you what new developments you'll present at MIDO this year because your segment targets technicians. But...
"We will be presenting the very first preview of the automatic inspection and loading unit with TBA technology also for the Mei641, our mid-range solution for small and mid-sized assembly laboratories.
TBA technology permits the simultaneous control of power and cutting without the help of centering blocks; it has been fully tested on the double-head Bisphera, so much so that the fairly jocular term TBA (Throw the Block Away) has become a part of the regular lexicon in the corrective lens world. Making it available for the Mei641 was a must.
We will be presenting the final version of the new EzFit, the prototype of which was exhibited last year. It represents the completion of our range of edgers for the segment of small laboratories and high-end or large volume outlets. We have established a single aim for this machine: to demonstrate that cutting lenses with machines equipped with a grinder is obsolete and that only if you change to milling technology will you survive in the future.
Lastly, we will present ShapeFinder 2.0, a contact-free complex lens shape and hole detection system. Based on a camera and optimized optics, it is supported by a software that analyzes the images developed in our R&D department. The detection of lens shape is very precise and it integrates with and supports the creation of special projects for sports frames.
In addition to these new products we will of course display our standard machines BispheraTBA for high volume corrective lens cutting, Sphera2plusXL for cutting sun lenses and goggles of all types, and Sphera3, our high productivity shaper for sun and presentation lenses".