Since 2006, SPARK has maintained a partnership with National Optronics to help design and develop their market-leading line of eyeglass lens processing machines. SPARK has, and continues, to work closely with National Optronics’ engineering team to provide ground-up designs to enclose their advanced mechanisms and circuitry, exude their brand image, and satisfy their end customer’s needs.
“SPARK has been a trusted and reliable partner for National Optronics for years and through many projects, both large and small.”
-Fred Dewees (Mechanical Engineering Manager, National Optronics)
CREATING A FAMILY
National Optronics initially tasked SPARK with designing the structural framework and exterior enclosures for several new products. SPARK placed an emphasis on the industrial design phase, allowing these products to become the basis for a brand language that modernized the appearance of the National Optronics product line. Aesthetic features and material selections were established to create a unified “look” across their product line that reflects the high precision technology packaged inside.
“We chose SPARK because of their expertise, their pricing, and their range of services. We have used other design firms, but always go back to SPARK because of the quality of their work. They’re easy to work with, accessible, and work with you throughout the project” – Dan Andrews, Former Mechanical Engineering Manager, National Optronics
The success of SPARK and National Optronics’ initial collaboration lead to the redesign of their existing flagship products. The new brand language was applied to their 7Ex Edger, 3Bx Blocker, and 4Tx Tracer to complete the line of revamped products.
Machined metal side plates provided structure and emphasized the machine’s durability and precision, while softer edges and a white-gray color scheme allow the products to appear at home in a laboratory environment. User-friendly touchscreen displays were prominently incorporated for improved UI and clarity of operation.
FORM MEETS FUNCTION
SPARK worked closely with National Optronics’ engineers to marry the industrial design vision with the internal component package created by National Optronics. SPARK also provided mechanical design services, devising creative methods for splitting up parts for manufacturing efficiency, developing internal chassis for mounting key components, and ultimately modeling the enclosures and working with manufacturers to create the final production parts.
To highlight the continued success of this partnership, the latest addition to the National Optronics line is the QM-X3 machine, which was selected as an opportunity to unveil a further refined and updated brand language.
Once again, SPARK designed an entirely new machine which exudes a cutting edge appearance that can be carried into future National Optronics products. The QM-X3 features a more self-contained aesthetic with less exposed mechanics, flowing curves and color breaks, and integrated touchscreen controls for a sleek and refreshing appearance that fits within a minimal footprint for seamless integration into the lab environment.
As with previous projects, SPARK worked around the high precision mechanisms developed by National Optronics. Developing an exterior form, mounting structures for all mechanical and electrical components, access doors, and safety features, SPARK helps to build the machines that implement assemblies such as the one shown here (from the QM-X3).
SPARK’s careful mechanical design maintained a strong industrial design vision while precisely aligning large, hinged Reaction Injection Molded (RIM) plastic parts, sheet metal side panels, and a cast aluminum base plate with no exposed fasteners.
SPARK designed the entire front door assembly, which includes an automated sliding polycarbonate window. This window arrangement provides an unobstructed view of the cutting process and easy access for loading parts, while keeping the operator safe by incorporating safety interlocks.
A four-bar hinge design allows the compound-curved front door to open 180-degrees. The top cover can be easily lifted with an integrated gas-assist cylinder, and the internal cutting mechanisms are all mounted on a hinged chassis plate that can also be rotated up for visibility.
SPARK will continue to collaborate with National Optronics as they develop more user-focused, flexible, and efficient lens processing equipment. This trusted relationship exemplifies SPARK’s ability to provide design services for established companies and work closely with their team as a consistent and reliable partner.