The ZEISS UVClean is a powerful, yet simple UV disinfection tool for eyecare professionals. The uncomplicated one button process initiates a cycle of UV light to effectively disinfect up to 7 eyeglass frames and lenses in seconds. This innovative device uses no liquids or chemicals and produces no waste due to its use of 4 germicidal UVC bulbs that coat each frame in powerful UV light. The ZEISS UVClean has been certified to be 99.999% effective, making it a fast and safe for eyewear retailers to keep their customers protected.
The recent rise of COVID-19 throughout 2020 has caused nearly every industry to evaluate their practices and make changes to better protect their employees and customers. Sometimes a small change is all it takes, while others have required more innovation to efficiently keep people healthy. The new awareness of easily transmissible germs and viruses has exposed challenges in the eyewear industry of serving numerous customers each day along with the plethora of frames and lenses being touched during visits. New standard practices would require every single pair of frames to be set aside for extended periods of time until an employee becomes available to thoroughly disinfect them. This means a large amount of inventory is unavailable after each visit - validating the need for a fast and safe cleaning method to keep those pieces available for the next customer.
Having previously collaborated on projects, Trig and Voxelight LLC worked together to develop the UVClean product for ZEISS. With Voxelight being experts on UV light from their Sunscreenr product, and already having a relationship with ZEISS, it made sense to partner on the UVClean product to transition it from concept to manufactured product. Trig assisted with design & development tasks such as concept illustrations, prototype CAD, Design for Manufacture and product rendering. As a leader in the eyewear profession, and attentive to the recent need for efficient disinfecting, ZEISS was on board from the beginning of Voxelight’s product pitch to move forward with development of the UVClean.
As one can imagine, the need for rapid UV disinfecting is at a high point right now. COVID-19 has caused numerous changes, and the need to keep people safe is at the forefront. This project was on a fast track to get prototypes developed, issues resolved, and products manufactured. Trig and Voxelight worked closely with almost daily check-ins to resolve the challenges that arise with such quick development. Trig provided early concept design illustrations to get a sense of form, function and size before we started into prototype development. Once a design form was selected to fit with current ZEISS products, we were able to focus on the details of creating necessary volume requirements, arranging internal electronics and separation of product body components.
Our partnership with Voxelight helped the process move quickly, due to their expertise and knowledge regarding UV light. They were able to focus on component sourcing and UV lamp requirements for sufficient disinfecting, which was necessary to pass laboratory & university testing for safety. This freed up Trig to focus on the CAD development of the device enclosure to quickly produce 7 full scale prototypes for testing. After procuring the internal components and 3D printed parts for the full scale prototypes Trig met on site with Voxelight to observe and support with assembly. Valuable lessons learnt during this process helped us to simplify assembly, more efficiently arrange internal components and re-design the enclosure for future servicing. In just weeks, we were on our way to producing another generation of CAD to be used for manufacturing.
While the ZEISS UVClean is simple to use, its development wasn't void of complexity. The final design is a combination of numerous manufacturing processes and materials. The enclosure is injection molded plastic, while the internal structure is composed of steel sheet metal, CNC machined parts, laser cut steel and high reflectivity aluminum sheet metal reflectors to ensure every section of eyewear is disinfected. This required us to evaluate numerous interaction points between different materials. Choosing the right attachments, interlocking features, and fasteners was crucial to forming a robust and compact product. Yet, once this is all assembled together, it takes only a single button to initiate and run a cleaning cycle. Integrated side-emitting fiber optic lighting around the lid indicates all necessary information: power on, cleaning in process, and cycle completed.
One of the larger challenges to solve was the function of the lid. The device is composed of a main body and an upper lid, which is connected through hinges at the back. With a lid length of 20in and a need to open fully in order to load up to seven frames, we spent a large amount of design time at the hinge location. Function of the hinge was determined to require strength, over 100 degrees of motion, and slow-close function for safety. Multiple rounds of testing sourced hinges resulted in a suitable product, which we then designed around to discreetly route the necessary wiring from the body to the lid. The goal through this complex process was to create a visually and functionally simple product to be used efficiently by eyecare professionals. While there is a lot happening on the inside, it only takes one push to quickly get a clean set of frames for a new customer to try on.
The UVClean is designed for health and safety through and through. As we've seen, there is a current need for effective disinfection as well as a growing awareness of how small changes can help keep people safe in the years to come. The UVClean is a tool for eyecare professionals that has the ability to drastically improve their ability to serve people in a safe way for years to come. It efficiently eliminates the need for employees to risk their own health by cleaning dozens of, possibly contaminated, frames everyday between customers. After each visit, it is extremely easy to lift the UVClean lid and load up to 7 glasses ranging from kids to oversized frames. With the cycle-start button intentionally placed on top of the lid, it becomes impossible to accidentally initiate a cycle of powerful UV light. With the ability to disinfect 7 frames in 40 seconds, the UVClean becomes a critical device helping eyewear retailers to continue business as usual while confidently keeping customers safe.