Aston and Optimec project receives top grade from Innovate UK

Optimec
A member of the Optimec team using the is830


A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project between Aston University and innovative optical instruments firm, Optimec, has been given the highest possible grading by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Optimec Limited, based in Malvern, entered into a two and a half year KTP with Dr Kate Sugden from Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and Dr Thomas Drew from the School of Life and Health Sciences, in order to develop a new generation of innovative soft contact lens measuring instruments that can be used for quality control in areas such as bespoke lens fabrication. 

Optimec has over 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of soft contact lens measuring instruments, and has a strong presence in the market, with the company’s instruments considered as the standard for geometric inspection of soft contact lenses. Optimec entered into the partnership in order to to develop its knowledge of new and emerging optical measurement technologies, and to evaluate their potential application to the measurement of hydrated soft contact lenses whilst immersed in saline solution. 

The result of the partnership is Optimec’s newly released instrument, the is830, which has a sleek and modern design. The is830 allows users to find comprehensive contact lens data, giving measurements that previously would have only been found out by using several different pieces of metrology instrumentation. The is830 is fast, taking less than a second for each measurement, accurate, and compact. It quickly caught the eye of potential customers at the European Federation of the Contact Lens and IOL Industries (EFCLIN) Congress Exhibition 2016, which was held in Valencia, Spain. The is830 was such a popular attraction that Optimec needed to take advance bookings for demonstrations, which were carried out by Dr Ben Coldrick, Optimec’s Head of Technical Development and the KTP Associate for the project. 

Dr Ben Coldrick, Head of Technical Development and the KTP Associate said: “This project between Aston University and Optimec was a fantastic demonstration of how a KTP can benefit an SME. As the associate, being given the chance to develop all aspects of a product from concept to production was a unique opportunity. The reception of the Optimec is830 within the market was a great reward for the effort put into the project by all involved. For the project to also receive an outstanding grade from Innovate UK has been the icing on the cake!”

Colin Richards, Director of Optimec said: “Being awarded the highest grade of "Outstanding" by the KTP Grading Panel for meeting the KTP's Objectives was just reward for the work and dedication demonstrated by Ben and the teams at Aston University and Optimec. From a commercial perspective, the project was a complete success resulting in a ground breaking new product, and has enabled Optimec to position itself at the forefront of technology based metrology in the contact lens industry.”

Dr Kate Sugden, Associate Dean for Enterprise at Aston University said: “This was a very rewarding project to be part of, as it resulted in an excellent new product that pushes the metrology of contact lenses forward significantly. The knowledge transfer process worked extremely well and will have a marked impact on the company going forward as the team develops this new product line.”

If you would like to find out more about how KTP can help your business grow, please email ktp@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242.