Maui Jim says ‘Hallo’ to Germany with the opening of a state-of-the-art lab.

Europe VP Hans-Jürgen Penseck and President Mike Dalton.

Built to service the European market and expedite delivery times, Maui Jim’s new 24,000 square-foot lab in Braunschweig, Germany, is the result of a $10 million investment to further the company’s presence there.

Initially established in Braunschweig in 2004 with a distribution center, Maui Jim now has the capability to produce Rx ophthalmic and sunglass lenses for its frames at the Braunschweig lab.

Production began at the end of June, and the lab, modeled after Maui Jim’s Peoria, IL, location, took one year to build, said Paul Ponder, senior director of Rx manufacturing, who commuted to Germany from Peoria for two years to oversee the lab’s design and construction — all while managing the U.S. lab at the same time.

“With this space in Braunschweig, we used our 12 years of experience and learning in Peoria — combined with a year of planning — to make some improvements and modifications,” he said.

Paul Ponder

While the Peoria lab contains environmentally conscious systems, so too does the German location. Ponder said the lab incorporates the HC6 waste and fluid management system by Bazell Technologies, a closed loop system that cycles fluids to generators and cleans fluids in the process. In addition, the company is “taking every initiative to recycle the liquid and solid waste products as we do in Peoria.” The lab also utilizes Bazell’s Weima briquetter system that compresses solid waste to make it “more attractive for recycling,” Ponder added.

In addition to systems from Bazell, the lab is equipped with machines from Satisloh, Schneider Optical Machines, MEI System, Practical Systems, Inc. and Coburn Technologies. The Braunschweig lab also utilizes a Flexlink computerized conveyor system to help produce about 350 jobs per day.

The bottom line for Maui Jim, said Ponder, is that a European location will enable it to realize a 30% reduction in turnaround time for orders. (A typical turnaround from the Peoria lab for a North American order is about three to five days and several days to weeks for a European order coming from Illinois).

Hans-Jürgen Penseck, Europe-VP, told OLP the German lab gives the company more flexibility as the demand for Rx sunglasses in Europe increases.

“Over the coming years, we are planning to meet our growing demand and in turn expand lab operations to second and third shifts as well as supplying markets outside of Europe.”

Maui Jim’s Braunschweig lab utilizes the following equipment:
• Practical Systems, Inc. Autotaper
• Schneider Optical Machines, Inc. CCU Modulo autoblocker
• Flexlink Stacker/Destacker
• Satisloh VFT- Orbit 2 generators with mechanical engraver
(to produce Maui Jim proprietary free-form digital lens designs)
• Bazell Technologies/Satisloh HC6 waste and fluid management system
• Satisloh Multi-FLEX polishing system
• Schneider Optical Machines, Inc. DBA Modulo auto deblocking system
• Schneider Optical Machines, Inc. TSA Modulo auto tape stripping system
• Coburn Technologies Duality auto lens washing system
• Coburn Technologies Velocity auto hardcoat system
• MEI System TBA Bisphera auto edgers
• Satisloh 1200-DLX-2 coating chambers with auto fan mask

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