The Japanese company claims that its international launch of a new Hoyalux ID technology, which was made at the MIDO show in Milan last month after its earlier introduction in Japan, sets the stage for a new generation of progressive lenses for a more demanding consumer. Using equipment installed at Hoya's German facilities in Mülheim, the new lenses are being delivered to European opticians as of this month at a slight premium over competing lenses from Rodenstock or Zeiss and slightly below Essilor's new IPSEO range.

Using PPG Industries' new Trivex material (story on it in the next issue), which is called PNX by Hoya in Europe, its new lenses use free-form techniques to polish and grind them on the front and back sides, sharply reducing any vision distortion and creating a larger field of distortion-free vision. The distribution of the progressive components on both sides is finely calculated to adapt them to individual characteristics.

Hoya has carefully avoided calling this a ?double progressive? technology in order not to hurt Johnson & Johnson, which launched earlier a similar two-surface design for progressive lenses in the USA. Called Definity, it's now sold by its sales reps in 20 percent of the country but it has not been offered elsewhere until now. Company officials at the recent Vision Expo fair in New York said the availability of the product had been delayed by a transition from cast molding to free form techniques, which took about one year and a half.

Meanwhile, Hoya has announced the shutdown of one of its two plants in France. The factory at Pont de l'Arche, which had been taken over together with other assets of the Buchmann Group a few years ago, will be closed, leading to the elimination of 86 jobs. Another 43 employees on the site will be transferred to its other plant at Emerainville.