Two-Man Startup Automates Eyewear Production

Lowercase Eyewear needed a cost-effective way to produce eyewear in the United States. A Robotiq gripper on a UR5 collaborative robot arm enabled repeatable, consistent production so employees could work on more labor-intensive projects.


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robotic arm with gripper

Automation is important to Lowercase Eyewear because the process of making eyewear is labor-intensive. Automating some of the process with the Robotiq gripper and robotic arm frees up the company’s small staff for other work while maintaining the quality of the product.

At what point does it make sense to automate production? The founders of a startup eyewear company in New York City decided that even with relatively small production volumes, the benefits of automation far outweighed the cost of robotic integration.

The main benefits swaying their decision were the repeatability and consistency that the UR5 collaborative robot from Universal Robots USA Inc. and gripper from Robotiq brought to the process. “We have 17 different styles of eyeglasses now,” says Brian Vallario, who started Lowercase Eyewear with his friend Gerard Masci. “We really needed something that was easy to program and that we could manipulate on the fly. If I make a change on a design, I have to be able to apply the change quickly. And since we are competing against bigger, high-end eyewear manufacturers, we have to deliver the highest quality, even if we do quite smaller productions.”

Read more about how the men devised an automation solution and integrated it into their production process.