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Coburn Technologies, SDC Technologies Launch Photochromic Lens Processing System for Optical Labs

Leveraging synergy within the Mitsui Chemicals Group to accelerate growth in the vision care business

New product: CrystalChrome photochromic lens processing system
New product: CrystalChrome photochromic lens processing system

Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. (Tokyo: 4183; President & CEO: HASHIMOTO Osamu) announced that its U.S.-based group companies SDC Technologies, Inc. (Irvine, California; President & CEO: Richard CHANG) and Coburn Technologies, Inc. (South Windsor, Connecticut; President: Alex INCERA) have launched a new photochromic lens*1†processing system for optical labs as of September 2023.

The new system is the first product created as a collaborative effort between Coburn and SDC, combining the formerís coating equipment know-how with the latterís coatings expertise.

*1 Photochromic lenses utilize photochromic technology to alter their light transmittance based on the amount of UV rays present. This allows them to serve as sunglasses in outdoor environments with strong sunlight and as clear lenses in indoor environments protected from UV rays.

Optical labs currently maintain a large inventory of photochromic lenses to ensure compatibility with various materials and colors, allowing them to supply glasses retailers with products that meet their needs in a timely fashion. Now, however, the introduction of this new system will make it possible to produce photochromic lenses on demand, helping optical labs to downsize their inventories and improve their productivity. Photochromic lenses created using this system also darken and lighten quickly, and offer excellent performance in metrics such as abrasion resistance.

Comment from Alex INCERA, President, Coburn:

Representing a fusion of SDC and Coburnís strengths, the new system will provide customers with innovative solutions for processing lens materials. Going forward, we will continue to provide new value for optical labs around the world by augmenting our portfolio of products that leverage the partnership between our two companies.

As a leading manufacturer of ophthalmic lens materials, Mitsui Chemicals provides lens manufacturers worldwide with a variety of refractive indices and properties, including the MRô series high-refractive index lens materials. Mitsui Chemicals has intensified its position in the field of coating materials essential for ophthalmic lens, following several key acquisitions including SDC Technologies in 2008, and SDCís acquisitions including FSI Coating Technologies permanent anti-fogging coating materials; acquired to the group in 2010; UV-curable hard coatings material producer, LTI Coating Technologies acquired in 2014 and fully integrated into SDC in 2017; and hydrophobic and anti-reflective coating expert COTECģ acquired in 2020; and then Coburn, which develops, manufactures and sells ophthalmic lens processing equipment, in 2022. Together these complementary technologies provide a complete end-to-end solution of products that contribute to the long life and high functionality of ophthalmic lenses.

Mitsui Chemicals Vision Care Materials Business initiatives to continually focus on contributing to improve the health and comfort of the peopleís eyes around the world by providing high-performance, high-quality products and services that drive innovation in ophthalmic lens.

Company overview:


Established in 1986, SDC is focused on the Manufacture, sale and research of hard coatings, anti-fog coatings and coating equipment.


Established in 1954, Coburn is focused on the Ophthalmic lens processing and coating equipment, manufacture, sale and research of various consumables and optometry equipment.

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