MoldSolutions, a recently established Swiss company, is raising from 300 to 900 units the daily production rate of its Axxess molds for the production of spectacle lenses, adding two production lines in response to high demand from lens casters for an OEM product that holds out a claim to the best progressive designs on the market and excellent accuracy. The company's 900-square-meter factory at Kriens, which employs only 9 people, has been working on a 24-hour schedule lately.

Rudolf Suter, former owner and CEO of Satis Vacuum and chairman of MoldSolutions, reports on a strong business at the Vision Expo West fair in Las Vegas earlier this month. He says many clients have probably been turned off by his company's main competitor, Shamir Insight, because it has been selling lenses in addition to the molds lately.

Suter, who recently failed in a previous lens casting equipment venture, partly because of quality control problems, is investing a lot on quality control for his glass molds, which can handle all sorts of materials. They are produced by grinding and polishing the glass through expensive new free-form technology, instead of the classical method of slamping ceramic compounds.

The new progressive design of Axxess has been developed in cooperation with an important lens manufacturer whose name is being kept secret for the moment, but it's not Essilor, which had a legal dispute with Suter before, and not Carl Zeiss, which gave its own progressive designs to Suter for its previous venture. Axxess molds, which license this progressive technology, have asymmetrical aspheric segments that provide different degrees of asphericity for the far and near vision zones. MoldSolutions claims on the basis of clinical tests that its designs offer the biggest far vision zone, the widest corridor, the longest reading zone and the lowest unwanted rate of astigmatism for cast lenses.