Covering the Land of Lincoln

Maui Jim is committed to sustainable management

The city of Peoria, Illinois is home to eyewear maker Maui Jim, known for its fashionable approach to sunglasses and prescription eyewear.

The company’s sustainability goals add value to its products to modern consumers as Maui Jim has taken steps to implement green practices during production and recycling initiatives for its end-of-life products.

Production of by-products

The process of making custom lenses involves loose, airy waste and cutting fluid. Each lens begins as an 11 millimeter thick piece of plastic that is machined and polished to the correct shape and thickness.

“When we start the entire manufacturing process for eyeglass lenses, they are transferred to what is known as an orbit lens generator,” says Paul Ponder, vice president of eyeglass lens manufacture at Maui Jim. “It creates chips when it cuts the lens to the prescription shape and thickness. These chips are rinsed out with a liquid that is used to cool the lens during the cutting process. It is also used as a wetting agent to flush it through the evacuation tubes. This liquid, which removes the waste, is cleaned again and then comes back into the machine for reuse. “

Bazell Technologies has partnered with Satisloh to provide the industry-leading coolant delivery equipment that Maui Jim uses to make lenses. Bazell engineers worked with Weima, a German company with a US sales and service office in Fort Mill, South Carolina, to select the right briquette press for the job – in this case a Vario model – to process the lens chips compress and separate the cutting fluid for reuse.

The chips separated from the cooling lubricant are then conveyed by the cleaning unit to the Weima briquette press. The machine is in its own dedicated space right next to the production hall. Its footprint is minimal, but its presence in the process allows the liquid and chips to be recycled.

“It takes the waste off the production floor and saves space,” said Paul Dick, president and general manager of Bazell Technologies, Concord, California. “That creates space for more lens generators in the production hall.”

Photo courtesy of Weimar

Briquettes made from scrap from the manufacture of glasses

Advantages of briquetting

With a compression ratio of 12: 1, Maui Jim saves space by processing the scrap generated during production shifts instead of storing it in its original form. The briquette press compresses these chips into round, puck-shaped briquettes, which are then picked up by a recycler and processed into post-consumer resin, or PCR for short, and integrated into other material flows.

Maui Jim found that the cost of disposing of this scrap for the recycler was comparable to the landfill fees incurred. The value of this landfill diversion contributed to the reasons Maui Jim chose to recycle this material instead.

Recycling partner

Maui Jim’s recycling efforts don’t stop there. The lifetime warranty on all Maui Jim glasses extends to the lenses and frames. Every time glasses are sent in for minor repairs, the frames and / or scratched lenses are also picked up by a recycler and processed into new items. The consumer receives flawless glasses and the damaged frames or scratched lenses leave the facility for a second life.

“Of course we want to be environmentally friendly and do everything we can to prevent everything from ending up in landfills,” says Ponder. “All of our lens waste, all of our frame waste, all defects or rejects – everything is recycled. Our frame designers are always looking for ways to be environmentally friendly. “

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