Ball Screws

Make manufacturing more efficient

Italian machine builder MEI System benefits from the high quality of NSK's ball screws. MEI develops and manufactures machines that make the high-precision production of eyeglass lenses more efficient. The ball screws are used in a series of innovative machines for the edge processing of ophthalmic lenses.

MEI System has transformed production processes in the optical industry: The company, headquartered near Bergamo, has replaced the grinding machining of the edges of ophthalmic lenses, which had long prevailed, with a milling process. This has enabled MEI to significantly increase both the productivity of its equipment and its flexibility with regard to a wide variety of spectacle shapes. Even the most complex shapes requested by the increasingly demanding eyewear market can be machined with the highest precision and quality.

In addition, MEI has developed equipment that, among other things, enables integrated quality control during the milling process and also offers different automation options. According to Daniel Ponti, the company's global operations director, "Our different types of machines open up new possibilities for different users: the world's largest ophthalmic lens manufacturers, as well as smaller, specialized manufacturers and local opticians producing customized glasses in batch sizes of one."

Among the company's industry-renowned inventions is its "No Block" system, which allows lenses to be fixed during processing without the centering blocks that are otherwise common. From the user's point of view, this creates the conditions for considerable streamlining of the manufacturing process with substantial savings in resources, time and costs.

As a technology leader in the milling of ophthalmic lenses, MEI produces the machines itself and sources all main components from renowned suppliers. The ball screws are an essential machine element to ensure the extreme precision and smoothness of the motion sequences. They come from the NSK range and create an important prerequisite for ensuring that the edge processing of the lenses in particular is carried out with the highest precision and quality.

Daniel Ponti: "Our technicians see NSK as a reference in the field of linear technology. Our many years of cooperation document the absolute quality of NSK components. However, from our point of view, the trusting relationship based on partnership is at least as important, both in terms of technology and logistics. For example, we have concluded framework agreements that give us flexibility on the one hand, but on the other hand ensure that the supply chain is not threatened by delays or interruptions. This is beneficial for both sides."  

On the technical level, MEI is working, among other things, on the development of a new generation of machines for the production of corrective safety glasses, i.e. glasses with compensation for a defective vision. Here, too, the company's technicians expect nothing less than a revolution. This is because milling is intended to shape not only the contour of the lenses, but also their surface, in order to produce the individually desired correction factor of the lens.

Daniel Ponto: "With such lenses, the demands on the quality and precision of the milling are even higher. The tolerances are minimal because even the smallest deviation would cause irritation to the user." Here, too, MEI engineers use NSK ball screws to convert rotary movements of the drive into linear movements of the milling tool, achieving maximum positioning accuracy.

SPS – Smart Production Solutions