The Scottish Region visited Bausch & Lomb Scotland at Livingston and were given a presentation by Mike Pacitti, Operations Manager followed by a tour of the plant. Bausch & Lomb is one of the world's leading healthcare brands and is based in Rochester, New York. The company can trace its origins back to 1853 when John Jacob Bausch, a German immigrant, set up a tiny optical goods shop in Rochester, New York.
Borrowing money to expand the business from Henry Lomb who became a partner, the business grew and by the early 1900's the company was at the forefront of optical equipment design. In 1971, Bausch & Lomb introduced the first soft contact lenses and is still the largest global provider of eye care products.
In the early 1990's a small Scottish company, Award plc, based in Livingston, had developed a method of manufacturing daily disposable contact lenses using a unique moulding method. Bausch & Lomb acquired this business in 1996 and has since then expanded production.
The company now has two manufacturing sites in Livingston operating on a 24 hour a day basis as well as a distribution facility. The product line has grown from the original daily disposable contact lenses to include "planned replacement products" such as two weekly or monthly lenses, mainly for the export market. The company exports lenses to Europe, Asia and the USA.
During the tour of the plant, for which members had to don protective headgear and white coats, Mr. Pacitti explained the various processes undertaken to manufacture contact lenses and members were able to see contact lenses in production at all stages of manufacture. The use of automated equipment helps keep the process cost effective and the latest computerised equipment was seen in operation.
Having seen the lenses in production, members were then shown the packaging department, where again automation plays an important part given the volumes of lenses produced. The company distributes lenses through it's European, Asian and US distribution centre, from where products are shipped around the world.
The Scottish Region would like to express its thanks to Mike Pacitti for enabling the visit to take place and to all of the production staff at Bausch & Lomb who assisted in showing how contact lenses are produced.
Report by John Fender.
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