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Before the First Cut

By Emily Ballmaier

November 22, 2017

Before the First Cut

By Emily Ballmaier

November 22, 2017

Go behind the scenes with Chaundra Austin, Supply Chain Manager & Lens Quality Expert to learn what goes into creating the highest quality lenses.

Portrait of Chaundra next to Lens Edger Chaundra and our Revant lens edger at our production facility in Portland, OR.

Long before you receive precision cut Revant lenses for your eyewear, your lenses begin as unshaped, injection molded “lens blanks” made of optical grade polycarbonate.

We spoke with our Supply Chain Manager, Chaundra, who gave us a glimpse into the world of lens blanks and our process to ensure each one meets our quality standards before they are engineered into lenses for your frames.

Q. What are your primary responsibilities as Supply Chain Manager?

A. I establish and maintain strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our lens blank suppliers. I also manage quality assurance with the suppliers and our internal team, as well as establish guidelines and procedures for testing to ensure product quality.

Q. Can you provide some insight into the process of selecting the highest quality lens blank and why it is important?

A. The first step involves reviewing the lens blank’s mirror coating, color, and view-through quality. We check optics (polarization axis, refractive properties, and prismatic imbalance) as well as coating durability and the VLT (visual light transmittance) to ensure our lenses meet or exceed our extremely strict quality control standards. We then run a series of tests through the lens edger, the machine that cuts and shapes the lenses, to check for compatibility with our in-house manufacturing.

After the lens blank passes our standards testing, we make sure the suppliers are reputable, organized, and clean; have proper processes in place; are able to provide us with visibility to production, and source excellent raw materials.

Chaundra and Caleb in lens blanks FactoryChaundra and our COO, Caleb, on a factory visit.
Caleb checking lens blanks standards in fatoryEach individual lens blank is checked for quality.

Q. Are there any other standards we have to ensure our customers receieve the highest quality lenses?

A. Bringing our optics lab in-house was a game changer for how we test and check standards. We now have much more insight into how we can better control and improve the quality of our products. We use American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, which sets the standards for eyewear performance across the industry, as a baseline. We test all of our lenses for impact resistance, and they meet or exceed ANSI standards. We then further refine those standards through monitoring returns and customer feedback.

These standards are essential because they guarantee that our customers will be getting the best product for their eyes. We’re focused on eye health and minimizing eye strain as much as possible, which is what bad or inconsistent optics and quality can lead to. Our guidelines also make sure that the lenses fit the frame well, have excellent clarity and optics, and the aesthetic meets our customers’ expectations.

Lens testingRevant lenses being tested for polarization alignment with our Polarization Axis test.
Lens Blanks on tableA selection of uncut lens blanks under review.

Q.How many quality checks do our lenses go through before a customer receives them?

A. From start to finish, seven total. Each order is reviewed upon receipt at our warehouse to make sure it meets our standards. Through our internal manufacturing, we review lens blanks before they are blocked and edged. Then, the cut lens is reviewed before it is packed and shipped. There are six rounds at the factory from testing samples to the final edging, and one more at our warehouse before we release inventory to our customers.

Q.What do you enjoy most about bringing quality lenses to our customers?

A. I love working on a product that I personally enjoy wearing and testing. I had a handful of family members that had been putting up with incredibly scratched lenses for way too long. Switching the lenses out for them and showing how such a simple solution makes a huge difference in their everyday life is so rewarding.

Chaundra inspecting lens blanksChaundra inspecting a pair lens blanks.
Chaundra inspecting lens blanks in binder

Revant lenses being tested for image warping with our Prism Test.

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