Optician2020 has developed distributed manufacturing assets in mini-factories clustered in urban areas combining short series manufacturing technologies and ICT tools for design, process automation and on-line real time delivery management of personalised spectacles, a fashionable product combining health prescription, functional performance and aesthetical requirements.
The key enabling technologies deployed are:
- additive manufacturing, for polymeric and metallic frames
- advanced coating technologies, for short series lens coating
- automated procedures, for personalisable frames catalogue design
- scanning devices, for end-user anthropometric data capture
ICT tools are used to improve the efficiency, adaptability and sustainability of the production systems and their integration within the proximity mini-factory business model. It requires continuous change of processes related to the management of distributed manufacturing assets and to the personalised manufacturing of spectacles in which the consumer can select frame materials and also finishings both in frame and lenses.
Optician2020 has demonstrated the feasibility of this business model based on close-to-optician mini-factories by showing:
- The spectacles personalisation flexibility, developing a catalogue of at least 12 models in spectacles for 450 users.
- The mini-factories flexibility and re-configurability with an agile procedure for adding new local manufacturing facilities to the open virtual network.
- The time-to-market reduction up to 65% and production cost reduction of 40% with respect to conventional methods.
The exploitation will start one year after the completion of Optician2020. A maximum initial impact of 25.000 spectacles can be obtained with two initial clusters of networked minifactories working efficiently for a group of 12 opticians in each cluster. It is expected to expanding the number of mini-factories with 10 more EU-based clusters.