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Institutes of Technology Ireland
Research & Innovation

Automated Inspection of Optical Surfaces

Alcon is the world’s largest ophthalmic company. Its facility in Cork manufactures the company’s leading surgical product, the AcrySof® intraocular lens (IOL). This is a prosthetic lens that replaces the natural lens following cataract surgery. The AcrySof® IOL is implanted in 6 out every 10 cataract patients worldwide.

The Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis (CAPPA) is an applied photonics research centre based at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). CAPPA has extensive capabilities and expertise in the areas of process analysis and optical metrology.

Although the optical performance and quality of Alcon’s IOLs is determined during the early stages of manufacturing, quality inspection to identify rejected lenses does not happen until the end of the process. To facilitate the early prediction of lens quality and allow the removal of reject lenses at the start of the process, Alcon engaged with CAPPA in research that was co-funded by Enterprise Ireland.

As a result of the research, an advanced optical inspection system that improves the manufacture and production line testing of IOLs was handed over by CAPPA to Alcon in March 2010. The system has passed all pre-validation testing and is ready to enter the equipment validation stage, including FDA approval. The technology license is under negotiation. Once licensed and validated, the technology will be implemented in Alcon’s Cork facility and rolled-out world-wide. The successful technology will increase line yield and lens quality while freeing resources within the Production Group at Alcon.

This project was Alcon’s first R&D collaboration outside of the US. It has had direct benefits in terms of yield, quality, through-put, resourcing and process knowledge and has raised the profile of the Irish facility within Alcon’s company structure.

Testimonials

“‘A successful relationship has been forged with the group (at CIT) which is now bearing fruit’ and the company ‘recognised the capability of CAPPA to provide value for money expertise in the area of process analysis and optical metrology’. Alcon hope to build on the relationship with CAPPA by exploring ‘a follow up on the Innovation Partnership currently being undertaken with another metrology based project this year’ and by continuing ‘to make use of the analytical capabilities at CAPPA in ongoing process investigations’”.
Mr. Barry Walsh, Process Engineering Manager, Alcon Laboratories Ireland Ltd.

“The collaboration with Alcon has been extremely successful for both parties. Alcon have been very supportive at all stages of the relationship including promoting the work of the centre. The Alcon partnership has been a spring board for the centre in attracting new partners and projects in the Medical Device sector. Through our collaboration with Alcon, other industrial partners in this sector could immediately see the relevance of CAPPA’s photonics research to many of their product or process issues.”
Dr. Eamonn O’Neill, CAPPA Centre Manager

Client: Alcon Laboratories Ireland Ltd
Institution:
Cork Institute of Technology
Industry: Medical Devices
National Priority Area: Diagnostics

Head of Research
Dr. Niall Smith
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown, Cork
Ireland
T: +353 (0)21 432 6369
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Industry Liaison Managers
Carole O’Leary/Josette O’Mullane
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown, Cork
Ireland
T: +353 (0)21 432 6697
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Centre Manager
DR. Eamonn O’Neill
Centre for Advanced Photonics & Process Analysis
Cork Institute of Technology
Bishopstown, Cork
Ireland
T: +353 (0)21 433 5338
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.cappa.ie