(19)
(11)EP 3 224 591 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
22.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/17

(21)Application number: 15797101.1

(22)Date of filing:  19.11.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01M 11/02  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2015/077035
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/083221 (02.06.2016 Gazette  2016/22)

(54)

CUVETTE SYSTEM AND METHODS FOR THE INSPECTION OF OPHTHALMIC LENSES

KÜVETTENSYSTEME UND -VERFAHREN ZUR INSPEKTION VON OPHTHALMISCHEN LINSEN

SYSTÈME DE CUVETTE ET PROCÉDÉS D'INSPECTION DE LENTILLES OPHTALMIQUES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 25.11.2014 US 201462084150 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
04.10.2017 Bulletin 2017/40

(73)Proprietor: Alcon Inc.
1701 Fribourg (CH)

(72)Inventors:
  • FECHNER, Susanne
    63743 Aschaffenburg (DE)
  • KESSLER, Daniel
    63589 Lützelhausen (DE)
  • BIEL, Roger
    63743 Aschaffenburg (DE)
  • STUTZ, Michael
    63839 Kleinwallstadt (DE)

(74)Representative: Bohest AG 
Holbeinstrasse 36-38
4051 Basel
4051 Basel (CH)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-03/016855
US-A- 5 847 819
US-A- 4 415 076
US-B1- 6 259 518
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] The invention relates to a cuvette system for use in the inspection of ophthalmic lenses, to a method for the inspection of ophthalmic lenses, and to a lens inspection module for the optical inspection of ophthalmic lenses.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] It is known to produce ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses such as soft contact lenses, in an automated production process with reusable molds. Such automated production of hard and soft contact lenses is very efficient and allows the mass production also of contact lenses, which are worn only once and then replaced with new contact lenses. In order to ensure a high and constant quality level of the contact lenses, the produced contact lenses are optically inspected.

    [0003] However, ophthalmic lenses, in particular soft contact lenses, are difficult to inspect using mechanical means for holding them during inspection. It is known to hold the contact lenses immersed in a liquid, for example water, in a cuvette for the purpose of optical inspection. The cuvette comprises a receptacle which may be made of a light-transmitting material either entirely or at least along the optical axis of the optical inspection system, and an inspection window arranged in an opening of the receptacle. To create the conditions required for such optical inspection of contact lenses, it is on one hand necessary to ensure that the liquid, the inspection window and the walls of the receptacle which are arranged in the optical path during inspection, are clean. On the other hand, there must not be a free boundary surface of the liquid which may adversely affect the image, and no air bubbles must be present between the inspection window and the liquid. Accordingly, the underside (lower surface) of the inspection window is immersed in the liquid contained within the receptacle.

    [0004] For inspection, the cuvette containing the contact lens to be inspected is placed in the optical path of the optical inspection system in a manner such that an image of the contact lens may be recorded by a camera, which may comprise a suitable image-resolving sensor.

    [0005] In a known cuvette, the receptacle and the inspection window are fixedly preassembled to form a one-piece cell, with the inspection window closing an upper opening of the receptacle. In order to be able to fill the cell with liquid and to insert and remove the contact lens from the cell, the one-piece cell is provided with a lateral extension forming a handling channel, which is arranged inclined with regard to a longitudinal axis of the cell by an angle of about 45°. A bottom of the one-piece cell is shaped in such a manner, that the cell may be tilted from a stable handling position in which the cell can be filled with liquid and in which the lens can be inserted and removed from the cell, to a stable inspection position in which the inspection window is aligned with the optical axis of the and back again. For optical inspection of the contact lens, the one-piece cell first is filled with a liquid, usually water, in a filling station. To perform the filling action, the cell is arranged in its handling position, with an axis of the handling channel extending about parallel to the optical axis. Subsequently, the cell is loaded with the contact lens to be inspected at a lens loading station through the handling channel. Thereafter, the one-piece cell is tilted to its inspection position and transported to an inspection station. After the contact lens has been optically inspected, the cell is transported away from the inspection station, whereupon the cell is tilted back again to its handling position. In this handling position, the contact lens is removed from the one-piece cell, the liquid is removed from the cell, and the cell is transported back again to the filling station. The above-described cycle can then start anew.

    [0006] Once the contact lens is inserted into the liquid contained in the one-piece cell and is allowed to settle down, a certain time period elapses until the lens has settled down to its rest position at the bottom of the cell. As the one-piece cell is tilted from the loading position into the inspection position, the liquid inside the cell is agitated. This results in the contact lens leaving its rest position again and floating in the liquid. Thus, before the lens can be optically inspected it must be allowed to settle down to its rest position again. The time period that elapses until the contact lens has settled down to its rest position at the bottom of the cell is generally comparable to the time period for the initial settling down after the loading of the contact lens. When the one-piece cell is tilted back to its loading position after the optical inspection of the contact lens, the liquid inside the cell is agitated again and, as a result, the lens floats in the liquid again. Before the lens can be removed from the cell, for example with the aid of a suction gripper which is inserted through the handling channel of the cell, it must again be waited until the lens has settled down to its rest position at the bottom of the cell. The time period that elapses each time until the contact lens floating in the liquid inside the cell has settled down into its rest position at the bottom of the cell may, for example, amount from about fifteen seconds to about twenty-five seconds, in order to be sure that the lens has completely settled down. During this time period neither an optical inspection of the contact lens can be performed, nor can the contact lens be removed from the cell. It is evident that such 'waiting' periods are inefficient in an automated contact lens production process. Accordingly, one object of the invention is to avoid such 'waiting' periods in order to further increase the efficiency of the production process.

    [0007] When the contact lens is optically inspected the optical inspection system may also obtain positional information about the contact lens which is in its rest position at the bottom of the one-piece cell. Such positional information may, for example, be used for the positional control of a suction gripper or similar device used for the removal of the contact lens from the cell. However, in the afore-described case where the one-piece cell is tilted after inspection and, accordingly, the contact lens leaves its rest position and settles down again to a new rest position, such positional information is not accurate, because the contact lens usually will not settle down at the identical rest position at the bottom of the cell. Accordingly, another object of the invention is to be able to make use of contact lens positional information which has been obtained during optical inspection of the contact lens in order to improve the accuracy of the lens gripping process.

    [0008] Known inspection modules for inspection of contact lenses are disclosed e.g. in US 6 256 518, US 5 847 819, US 4 415 076 and WO 03/016855.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0009] In one aspect, the present invention relates to a lens inspection module as defined in claim 1, for use in the optical inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses.

    [0010] In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, the tubular housing is biased towards the free end thereof.

    [0011] In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, for biasing the tubular housing towards the free end thereof a helical compression spring is arranged in between the flange and a mounting panel to which the tubular housing is mounted.

    [0012] In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, the cuvette system further comprises a drainboard arranged underneath the linear configuration of the inspection windows and extending parallel to the mounting panel.

    [0013] A further aspect of the invention relates to a method for the inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses. The method comprises the steps of:
    • providing an inspection module according to the invention as described above;
    • filling the at least one receptacle of the cuvette system with a liquid;
    • loading the at least one receptacle with an ophthalmic lens;
    • transporting the at least one receptacle loaded with the ophthalmic lens to an inspection station;
    • in the inspection station joining the at least one receptacle with the at least one inspection window such, that the inspection surface of the at least one inspection window is immersed in the liquid contained in the at least one receptacle;
    • in the inspection station optically inspecting the ophthalmic lens within the liquid in the at least one receptacle;
    • after inspection of the ophthalmic lens in the inspection station, removing the at least one inspection window from the at least one receptacle; and
    • transporting the at least one receptacle away from the inspection station.


    [0014] In accordance with one aspect of the method according to the invention, the at least one inspection window is joined with the at least one receptacle with an infeed speed of the inspection surface of the at least one inspection window in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s. The at least one inspection window is removed from the at least one receptacle with a retracting speed of the inspection surface of the at least one inspection window in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s.

    [0015] In accordance with a further aspect of the method according to the invention, the inspection surface of the at least one inspection window has a leading edge. During joining of the at least one inspection window and the at least one receptacle the leading edge of the inspection surface encloses an angle with a surface of the liquid contained in the at least one receptacle in the range of 7° to 21° at the time the leading edge contacts the upper surface of the liquid to get immersed in the liquid.

    [0016] The invention is related to a lens inspection module for the optical inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular of contact lenses. The lens inspection module comprises a cuvette system according to the invention as described above, and a lens inspection station comprising at least one optical inspection system.

    [0017] According to the invention, the lens inspection module comprises a plurality of the receptacles arranged in linear configuration. The lens inspection station further comprises a corresponding plurality of the inspection windows arranged stationary and separate from the plurality of receptacles in the inspection station in a linear configuration corresponding to the linear configuration of the plurality of receptacles. The lens inspection module further comprises a transport system for transporting the plurality of receptacles arranged in linear configuration to the inspection station and away from the inspection station, with each of the inspection windows of the corresponding plurality of inspection windows being associated to a different individual receptacle of the plurality of receptacles. Each of the inspection windows of the plurality of the inspection windows is adapted for being positioned in the opening of the associated individual receptacle of the plurality of receptacles such that the inspection surface of the associated inspection window is immersed in the liquid in the associated individual receptacle. Each of the inspection windows of the plurality of the inspection windows is further adapted for being removed from the opening of the associated receptacle. The at least one optical inspection system is movably arranged in the inspection station along the plurality of receptacles arranged in linear configuration and joined with the associated inspection windows.

    [0018] In accordance with another aspect of the lens inspection module according to the invention, the at least one optical inspection system on one hand and the at least one inspection window or each inspection window of the plurality of inspections windows on the other hand are arranged in spatial vicinity and aligned with respect to each other, to allow for taking an optical image of the ophthalmic lens contained within the at least one receptacle or of each ophthalmic lens contained within each individual receptacle of the plurality of receptacles through the inspection window or through each inspection window of the plurality of inspection windows, respectively.

    [0019] In accordance with still a further aspect of the lens inspection module according to the invention, the at least one optical inspection system comprises an image-resolving sensor.

    [0020] By providing a cuvette system comprising a receptacle having an opening at one longitudinal end of the receptacle, typically at the top of the receptacle, and an inspection window, which is kept separate from the receptacle and which is arranged stationary within an inspection station, the need for tilting the receptacle from a handling position to an inspection position and back is eliminated. As a consequence, waiting times allowing the ophthalmic lens (in the following only contact lenses are referred to by way of example) to settle down as described in the context of the prior art one-piece cells are eliminated, because due to the no longer existing tilting action the contact lens remains in its rest position at the bottom of the receptacle of the cuvette system. In addition, any positional information about the contact lens within the receptacle of the cuvette system which may have been obtained during optical inspection of the contact lens remains valid and may be subsequently used for controlling the position of a removal device (e.g. a gripper) for removing the contact lens from the receptacle. Unlike the one-piece fixedly assembled cell of the prior art, the inspection window is arranged separate from the receptacle and stationary at the inspection station. Only at the inspection station the receptacle and the corresponding inspection window are joined with each other. Thus, one and the same inspection window may be used in combination with different receptacles. Due to the fact that the individual receptacle does not have an inspection window permanently mounted thereto, the filling and emptying of the receptacle with liquid, usually water, as well as the loading and unloading of the receptacle with the contact lens are facilitated. Also, the cleaning of the receptacle may be accomplished much easier than with the one-piece cell of the prior art. The inspection window may be made, for example, from glass, quartz glass, or acrylic glass.

    [0021] The inspection trough in the bottom of the receptacle ensures that the contact lens maintains its rest position for the optical inspection. The inspection trough may be provided in a transparent bottom, which allows an easy illumination of the contact lens from beneath for the optical inspection thereof.

    [0022] The abutment lugs protruding from the upper longitudinal end of the receptacle may facilitate the correct and well-defined placement of the inspection window with respect to the liquid filled receptacle. For example, three such abutment lugs may be provided around the circumference.

    [0023] The tubular housing serves as a carrier element for the inspection window. In case it is necessary to replace the inspection window, the inspection window can be easily replaced while the tubular housing can be further used. The tubular housing is open at the longitudinal end opposite the free end of the tubular housing from which the inspection window protrudes, and thus allows the optical inspection system to have a free view through the inspection window.

    [0024] The rotational arrangement of the tubular housing to which the inspection window is mounted results in short movement distances and saves space. The radially outwardly extending flange of the housing at a side closer to the opening of the receptacle may radially protrude outwardly from the tubular housing a smaller distance than on an opposite side of the tubular housing. Thus, the tubular housing may be arranged spatially closer to an inspection position of the receptacle in the inspection station, without a rim of the receptacle obstructing the rotational movement of the tubular housing to which the inspection window is detachably mounted towards the receptacle. The radially extending flange ensures a proper alignment of the inspection window relative to the opening of the receptacle. The receptacle containing the contact lens is filled with a liquid, usually water. Thus, the protruding lugs arranged at the top end of the receptacle and the radially extending flange of the housing to which the inspection window is mounted ensure that during inspection of the contact lens the inspection surface of the inspection window is properly immersed in the liquid. By having the inspection window properly immersed in the liquid, faulty optical inspection results which may result, for example, from movements of the surface of the liquid within the receptacle can be avoided. By mounting the tubular housing in a biased manner, for example spring-biased, it is made sure that the inspection surface of the inspection window is arranged at a defined immersion depth in the liquid. Differences of the lengths of the abutment protrusions at different receptacles can thus be compensated for. A helical compression spring may be a simple and well-working mechanical element which may be easily mounted for achieving this function.

    [0025] In mass production of contact lenses usually a number of contact lenses are manufactured simultaneously. Consequently, also a number of contact lenses may be optically inspected simultaneously or successively. For that purpose two or more receptacles are arranged in linear configuration and are adapted for being simultaneously transported. A corresponding number of inspection windows are arranged separate from the receptacles and stationary in corresponding linear configuration within the inspection station. The inspection windows are adapted for being simultaneously positioned in the openings of the receptacles and for simultaneous removal from the openings of the receptacles.

    [0026] In order to avoid the spillage of water a drainboard may be mounted underneath the linear configuration of the inspection windows, and this drainboard extends about parallel to the mounting panel to which the tubular housings carrying the inspection windows are mounted.

    [0027] As regards the method according to the invention and as already described in connection with the cuvette system according to the invention, tilting or re-positioning the cuvette system is not required anymore. Accordingly, a contact lens contained within the receptacle remains in its rest position. Any additional waiting time until the contact lens has settled down again in its rest position after tilting of the receptacle, as is required in the method of the prior art, is therefore eliminated. Due to the fact that the contact lens remains in its rest position within the receptacle after the optical inspection has been finished, any positional information about the contact lens, which may have been obtained during the optical inspection, remains valid and may be used, for example, for a more accurate positioning of a removal device (e.g. a gripper) for the removal of the contact lens from the receptacle. Due to the inspection window or the inspection windows being arranged and joined with the receptacles in the inspection station, only one inspection window or one set of inspection windows must be provided which is arranged in the inspection station and which is/are joined with the one or more receptacles moved into the inspection station, which is/are removed from the receptacles after inspection of the contact lens contained in the respective receptacle, and which is then reused again with the next one or more receptacles moved into the inspection station.

    [0028] In order to avoid any undue agitation or even splashing of the liquid (e.g. water) within each receptacle, each inspection surface of the respective inspection window may be joined with and/or separated from its corresponding receptacle with an infeed speed in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s, and is removed from the receptacle with a retracting speed in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s. By controlling the speed with which the inspection surface of the respective inspection window is immersed into or removed from the liquid also a formation and entrapment of air bubbles at a front surface of the inspection window may be avoided.

    [0029] Each inspection surface of the respective inspection window may have a leading edge which during joining of the inspection window with the respective receptacle encloses an angle in the range of 7° to 21° at the time the respective leading edge contacts the upper surface of the liquid to get immersed in the liquid. At these angles any air bubbles are prevented from occurring beneath the inspection surface of the respective inspection window upon immersing the inspection surface of the respective inspection window in the liquid contained in the respective receptacle.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0030] Further details and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description of exemplary embodiments thereof, reference being made to the schematic drawings, which are not to scale, in which:
    Figs. 1a and 1b
    show a side view and a sectional side view of a lens inspection module comprising a receptacle and an associated inspection window in retracted configuration and a lens inspection system;
    Figs. 2a and 2b
    show the lens inspection module of Figs. 1a and 1b with the receptacle and the associated inspection window in an intermediate position, both, in a side view and in a sectional side view;
    Figs. 3a and 3b
    show the lens inspection module of Figs. 1a and 1b with the receptacle and the associated inspection when they are joined, both, in a side view and in a sectional side view; and
    Fig. 4
    shows a perspective view of a lens inspection module having a plurality of receptacles and a corresponding plurality of associated inspection windows in retracted position.

    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0031] In Figs. 1a and 1b there is shown in a side view and in a sectional side view, respectively, an inspection module 100 for the inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses, which may be arranged in an inspection station of an automated lens manufacturing line. Inspection module 100 comprises one or more receptacles 2 of generally cuplike shape (only one receptacle 2 being shown in Fig. 1a and Fig. 1b visible) having an opening 20, and an inspection window 3, which, taken together, form part of a cuvette system 1. Inspection module 100 further comprises an optical inspection system 90. The optical inspection system 90 comprises at least one image-resolving sensor, and may in particular comprise at least one CCD-camera. In an inspection position, receptacle 2 extends along an optical axis of the optical inspection system 90. While a plurality of receptacles and a corresponding plurality of inspection windows may be provided in the inspection station (see further below with reference to Fig. 4), the following description of Fig. 1a, Fig. 1b, Fig. 2a, Fig. 2b, Fig. 3a and Fig. 3b only refers to one single receptacle 2 and one single inspection window 3 for the sake of simplicity.

    [0032] Receptacle 2 and inspection window 3 of cuvette system 1 are only joined in the inspection station. For that purpose, inspection window 3 is arranged stationary in the inspection station, while receptacle 2 may be transported to and from the inspection station. For the transport of the receptacle 2, the latter is mounted to a carrier 4 which is transported by a suitable transport system (not shown). The bottom 21 of the receptacle 2 may be transparent. Carrier 4 may be provided with a receiving bore 41 for receiving a lower portion of receptacle 2 to allow for the mounting of receptacle 2 to carrier 4. Receiving bore 41 in the inspection station allows for illumination of the transparent bottom 21 of the receptacle 2 from beneath, which in Figs. 1a and 1b is the side opposite to the side where the optical inspection system 90 is arranged relative to the receptacle 2. The bottom 21 of the cuplike receptacle 2 may be provided with an inspection trough 22 for accommodating a contact lens to be inspected. A contact lens, when inserted into a bath of liquid, such as water, always orients itself with its concave side facing upwards. This is made use of in the optical inspection of the contact lens. Accordingly, before inserting a contact lens into the receptacle 2 the latter is filled with liquid, typically water, in a filling station upstream of the inspection station. In a loading station the contact lens is loaded into receptacle 2 where the contact lens is allowed to sink down and settle in its rest position in the inspection trough 22 at the bottom 21 of receptacle 2. At that longitudinal end of the receptacle 2 having the opening 20 abutment lugs 23 are provided which protrude axially upwards.

    [0033] Inspection window 3 is arranged stationary in the inspection station. More particularly, in the embodiment shown inspection window 3 is detachably mounted within a tubular housing 5, with inspection window 3 protruding from a free end of tubular housing 5. Tubular housing 5 is mounted to a mounting panel 6, which bridges two levers 7a, 7b. Tubular housing 5 is biased towards the free end thereof by means of a helical compression spring 52, which is arranged between mounting panel 6 and a flange 51 extending radially outwardly from the tubular housing 5. The two levers 7a, 7b are connected to a drive, which is accommodated in a housing 8. When a receptacle 2 is detected within the inspection station in a proper position for inspection, the drive rotates levers 7a, 7b and mounting panel 6 together with tubular housing 5 and inspection window 3 from a retracted position (Figs. 1a and 1b) to an inspection position (Figs. 3a and 3b), in which the inspection window 3 is positioned within opening 20 of the receptacle 2, and back again. It should be noted, that only one single lever may be sufficient for carrying and rotating mounting plate 6 together with tubular housing 5 and inspection window 3 protruding from tubular housing 5 from the initial retracted position to the inspection position, and back again. Tubular housing 5 is open at its longitudinal end opposite inspection window 3 and allows the optical inspection system 90 a free view through inspection window 3. A drainboard 9 may be mounted underneath the free end of tubular housing 5 from which inspection window 3 protrudes. For example, drainboard 9 may be fixedly attached to housing 8 which accommodates the drive for the levers 7a, 7b.

    [0034] In Figs. 2a and 2b receptacle 2 and inspection window 3 are shown in an intermediate position during movement of inspection window 3 towards receptacle 2. As can be seen, the radially outwardly extending flange 51 at a side closer to the opening 20 of the receptacle 2 extends radially outwardly a smaller distance than on at an opposite side of tubular housing 5. Thus, it is possible to arrange tubular housing 5 spatially closer to an inspection position of the receptacle 2 in the inspection station, without a rim of receptacle 2 obstructing the rotational movement of tubular housing 5 to which inspection window 3 is mounted towards receptacle 2.

    [0035] The speed of the movement of inspection window 3 towards the opening 20 of receptacle 2 is selected such, that any undue agitation of the liquid within the receptacle can be avoided. While during a first phase of the movement of the inspection window 3 to the inspection position (no contact between the inspection window 3 and the liquid contained in receptacle 2) the movement may occur at a higher speed, at least during a second phase of the movement of the inspection window 3 to the inspection position (starting shortly before the first contact between the inspection window and the liquid contained in receptacle 2) an infeed speed of an inspection surface 31 (front surface) of inspection window 3 into the receptacle 2 filled with liquid may be in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s until the inspection surface 31 is completely immersed in the liquid. The same range for the speed can be selected for the retraction of inspection surface 31 of inspection window 3 from the liquid. Thus, any undue agitation of the liquid can be avoided, ensuring that a contact lens remains in its rest position within inspection trough 22 at the bottom 21 of the receptacle 2. By controlling the infeed speed with which inspection window 3 is immersed in or removed from the liquid also the formation and entrapment of air bubbles at the inspection surface 31 of the inspection window 3 can be avoided. Immersion of the inspection surface 31 of the inspection window 3 into the liquid is also performed such, that when a leading edge 32 of inspection surface 31 of inspection window 3 dips into the liquid contained within receptacle 2, inspection surface 31 and the surface of the liquid at filling level L enclose an angle α in the range of 7° to 21°. At these angles, air bubbles which may be present at the inspection surface 31 of the inspection window 3 may be displaced from the inspection surface, and formation of such air bubbles is also prevented. Once inspection window 3 has been retracted out of the liquid contained in the receptacle 2, the speed of rotation of the levers 7a, 7b back to the initial retracted end position may be increased again (similar to the first phase of the movement of the inspection window 3 towards the receptacle).

    [0036] Figs. 3a and 3b show the cuvette system 1 with receptacle 2 and inspection window 3 being joined for inspection. Levers 7a, 7b have been fully rotated to their end position, in which inspection window 3 is positioned in its inspection position in the opening 20 of receptacle 2 in which inspection surface 31 of inspection window 3 is completely immersed in the liquid (e.g. water) contained within receptacle 2. As can be seen from Fig. 3a, radial flange 51 of the tubular housing 5 rests against the abutment lugs 23 at the rim surrounding the opening 20 of receptacle 2. Tubular housing 5 is biased by helical compression spring 52 towards abutment lugs 23. From Fig. 3a and Fig. 3b also the smaller outward radial extension of flange 51 at the side of the tubular housing 5 facing the levers 7a, 7b can be seen. Drainboard 9 extending between the two levers 7a, 7b is located in close vicinity of the receptacle 2 such that any liquid, which may adhere to inspection window 3 and which may drop down upon retraction of the inspection window 3 from the receptacle 2 can be collected by drainboard 9 to avoid water spillage in the inspection station.

    [0037] In Fig. 4 an arrangement of a plurality of receptacles 2a, 2b, 2c,...,2n and a corresponding plurality of associated inspection windows 3a, 3b,...,3n is shown. The pluralities of receptacles 2a - 2n and associated inspection windows 3a - 3n again constitute a cuvette system 1. The plurality of receptacles 2a - 2n are arranged in linear configuration and are mounted to carrier 4, as has been described above. The associated inspection windows 3a - 3n are detachably mounted to tubular housings 5a - 5n which are mounted in a corresponding linear configuration to mounting panel 6, which bridges levers 7a, 7b. Levers 7a, 7b are shown in their retracted end position.

    [0038] Drainboard 9 extends in the direction of mounting panel 6. Above levers 7a, 7b and mounting panel 6 an optical inspection system 90 is arranged. Optical inspection system 90 comprises at least one image-resolving sensor, which may form part of a CCD-camera which may be displaceable along the linear arrangement of receptacles 2a - 2n such that during its travel it is at least temporarily placed directly above each receptacle 2a - 2n and associated inspection window 3a - 3n when the inspection windows 3a - 3n are joined with their associated receptacles 2a - 2n, so as to successively inspect the contact lenses contained within the receptacles 2a - 2n. Alternatively, the optical inspection system 90 may comprise a plurality of image-resolving sensors which corresponds to the plurality of receptacles and associated inspection windows, so that the image-resolving sensors do not have to be displaced but can be arranged stationary within the inspection station. With such an arrangement all contact lenses contained in the plurality of receptacles may be inspected simultaneously. In another embodiment of the invention the optical inspection system may comprise more than one image-resolving sensor, but the number of image-resolving sensors is smaller than the number of receptacles of the linear arrangement of receptacles (for example, two or more CCD-cameras). By an appropriate linear displacement of the optical inspection system all contact lenses in all receptacles may then be optically inspected, but the time needed for inspection of all contact lenses is shorter when compared to a single image-resolving sensor.

    [0039] While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, it is evident to the person skilled in the art that these embodiments represent only examples of the general teaching underlying the instant invention, and that various changes and modifications are conceivable without departing from the scope of the claims.


    Claims

    1. A lens inspection module for the optical inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses, the lens inspection module comprising a cuvette system (1) and a lens inspection station comprising at least one optical inspection system (90),

    wherein the cuvette system comprises a plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) arranged in linear configuration, each receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) being adapted for accommodating an ophthalmic lens and for containing a liquid, and further being adapted for being simultaneously transported, each receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) having a longitudinal extension and an opening (20) arranged at one longitudinal end of the receptacle ,

    and wherein said lens inspection module further comprises a transport system for transporting said plurality of receptacles arranged in linear configuration to said lens inspection station,

    wherein said lens inspection station further comprises a corresponding plurality of inspection windows (3a-3n) arranged stationary in said inspection station in corresponding linear configuration, with each inspection window (3a; 3b;...; 3n) of said plurality of inspection windows (3a-3n) having an inspection surface (31) and being associated to a different receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n), and with each associated inspection window (3a; 3bn;...; 3n) being adapted for being joined to the associated receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) at said opening (20) of said associated receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) such that said inspection surface (31) of said associated inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) is immersed in said liquid, and with each associated inspection window (3a; 3b;...; 3n) being further adapted for being removed from said opening (20) of said associated receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n),

    and wherein further said at least one optical inspection system (90) is movably arranged in said inspection station along said plurality of receptacles (2a-2n) arranged in linear configuration and joined with said associated inspection windows (3a-3n),

    wherein each receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) is of cuplike shape having a bottom (21) which is arranged opposite to said opening (20), and wherein an inspection trough (22) is provided in said bottom (21) for accommodating the ophthalmic lens,

    wherein further each receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) comprises abutment lugs (23) arranged at said longitudinal end of said receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) (where said opening (20) is arranged, said abutment lugs (23) protruding axially away from said receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) at said longitudinal end,

    wherein each inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) is detachably mounted within a tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) having a free end, with the inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) protruding from said free end of said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n),

    wherein said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) comprises a flange (51) extending radially outwardly from said tubular housing,

    and wherein said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) is rotatably arranged between a first end position, in which said inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) is removed from said at least one receptacle (3a; 3b; ...; 3n), and a second end position, in which said flange (51) of said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) abuts against said abutment lugs (23) arranged at said longitudinal end of said receptacle (2a; 2b; ...; 2n).


     
    2. Lens inspection module according to claim 1, wherein said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) is biased towards said free end thereof.
     
    3. Lens inspection module according to claim 2, wherein for biasing said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) towards said free end thereof, a helical compression spring (52) is arranged between said flange (51) and a mounting panel (6) to which said tubular housing (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) is mounted.
     
    4. Lens inspection module according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a drainboard (9) arranged underneath said linear configuration of said inspection windows (3a - 3n) and extending parallel to said mounting panel (6).
     
    5. Lens inspection module according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one optical inspection system (90) on one hand and each inspection window (3a; 3b;...; 3n) of said plurality of inspections windows (3a - 3n) on the other hand are arranged in spatial vicinity and aligned with respect to each other to allow for taking an optical image of the ophthalmic lens contained within the respective receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) through the respective inspection window (3a; 3b;...; 3n) of said plurality of inspection windows (3a - 3n).
     
    6. Lens inspection module according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said at least one optical inspection system (90) comprises an image-resolving sensor.
     
    7. Method for the inspection of ophthalmic lenses, in particular contact lenses, the method comprising the steps of:

    - providing an inspection module according to any one of the preceding claims;

    - filling each receptacle (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) of said cuvette system with a liquid;

    - loading each receptacle (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) with an ophthalmic lens;

    - transporting said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) loaded with said ophthalmic lenses to said inspection station;

    - in said inspection station joining each receptacle (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) with said associated inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) such, that said inspection surface (31) of said associated inspection window (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) is immersed in the liquid contained in said receptacle (2a; 2b; ...; 2n);

    - in said inspection station optically inspecting said ophthalmic lenses within said liquid in said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n);

    - after inspection of said ophthalmic lenses in said inspection station, removing said associated inspection windows (3a - 3n) from said receptacles (2a - 2n); and

    - transporting said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) away from said inspection station.


     
    8. Method according to claim 7, wherein said associated inspection windows (3a - 3n) are joined with said receptacles (2a - 2n) with an infeed speed of said inspection surface (31) of said inspection windows (3a - 3n) in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s, and wherein said associated inspection windows (3a - 3n) are removed from said receptacles (2a - 2n) with a retracting speed of said inspection surface (31) of said inspection windows (3a - 3n) in the range of 0.05 m/s to 0.16 m/s.
     
    9. Method according to any one of claims 7 or 8, wherein said inspection surface (31) of each of said associated inspection windows (3a - 3n) has a leading edge (32), and wherein during joining of said associated inspection windows (3a - 3n) and said receptacles (2a - 2n) said leading edge (32) of said inspection surface (31) encloses an angle (α) with a surface of said liquid contained in each receptacle (2a; 2b;...; 2n) of said plurality of receptacles (2a - 2n) in the range of 7° to 21° at the time said leading edge (32) contacts the upper surface of said liquid to get immersed in said liquid.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Linseninspektionsmodul zur optischen Inspektion von ophthalmischen Linsen, insbesondere von Kontaktlinsen, wobei das Linseninspektionsmodul ein Küvettensystem (1) und eine mindestens ein optisches Inspektionssystem (90) umfassende Linseninspektionsstation umfasst,
    wobei das Küvettensystem mehrere Gefäße (2a-2n), die in einer linearen Konfiguration angeordnet sind, umfasst, wobei jedes Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) dafür ausgelegt ist, eine ophthalmische Linse aufzunehmen und eine Flüssigkeit zu fassen, und weiterhin dafür ausgelegt ist, gleichzeitig transportiert zu werden, wobei jedes Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) eine Längserstreckung und eine an einem Längsende des Gefäßes angeordnete Öffnung (20) aufweist,
    und wobei das Linseninspektionsmodul weiterhin ein Transportsystem zum Transportieren der mehreren in linearer Konfiguration angeordneten Gefäße zu der Linseninspektionsstation umfasst,
    wobei die Linseninspektionsstation weiterhin mehrere entsprechende Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) umfasst, die stationär in der Inspektionsstation in einer entsprechenden linearen Konfiguration angeordnet sind, wobei jedes Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) der mehreren Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) eine Inspektionsoberfläche (31) aufweist und einem unterschiedlichen Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) assoziiert ist und wobei jedes assoziierte Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) ausgelegt ist, um an der Öffnung (20) des assoziierten Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) mit dem assoziierten Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) derart verbunden zu werden, dass die Inspektionsoberfläche (31) des assoziierten Inspektionsfensters (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) in die Flüssigkeit eingetaucht ist und wobei jedes assoziierte Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) weiterhin dafür ausgelegt ist, von der Öffnung (20) des assoziierten Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) entfernt zu werden,
    und wobei weiterhin das mindestens eine optische Inspektionsfenster (90) beweglich in der Inspektionsstation entlang der mehreren in einer geraden Ausbildung angeordneten Gefäße (2a-2n) angeordnet und mit den assoziierten Inspektionsfenstern (3a-3n) verbunden ist,
    wobei jedes Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) von tassenartiger Form ist mit einem Boden (21), der gegenüber der Öffnung (20) angeordnet ist, und wobei eine Inspektionsmulde (22) in dem Boden (21) vorgesehen ist zum Aufnehmen der ophthalmischen Linse,
    wobei weiterhin jedes Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) Anschlagsvorsprünge (23) umfasst, die an dem Längsende des Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) angeordnet sind, wo die Öffnung (20) angeordnet ist, wobei die Anschlagsvorsprünge (23) von dem Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) an dem Längsende axial vorstehen,
    wobei jedes Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) abnehmbar innerhalb eines rohrförmigen Gehäuses montiert ist (5a; 5b; ...; 5n), das ein freies Ende hat, wobei das Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) von dem freien Ende des rohrförmigen Gehäuses (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) vorsteht,
    wobei das rohrförmige Gehäuse (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) einen Flansch (51) umfasst, der sich von dem rohrförmigen Gehäuse radial nach außen erstreckt,
    und wobei das rohrförmige Gehäuse (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) drehbar angeordnet ist zwischen einer ersten Endposition, in der das Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) von dem mindestens einen Gefäß (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) entfernt ist, und einer zweiten Endposition, in der der Flansch (51) des rohrförmigen Gehäuses (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) an die Anschlagsvorsprünge (23) anstößt, die an dem Längsende des Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) angeordnet sind.
     
    2. Linseninspektionsmodul nach Anspruch 1, wobei das rohrförmige Gehäuse (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) zu seinem freien Ende hin vorgespannt ist.
     
    3. Linseninspektionsmodul nach Anspruch 2, wobei zum Vorspannen des rohrförmigen Gehäuses (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) zu seinem freien Ende hin eine spiralförmige Druckfeder (52) zwischen dem Flansch (51) und einer Montageplatte (6) angeordnet ist, an der das rohrförmige Gehäuse (5a; 5b; ...; 5n) montiert ist.
     
    4. Linseninspektionsmodul nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, weiterhin umfassend eine Abtropfplatte (9), die unter der linearen Konfiguration der Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) angeordnet ist und sich parallel zu der Montageplatte (6) erstreckt.
     
    5. Linseninspektionsmodul nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei das mindestens eine optische Inspektionssystem (90) einerseits und jedes Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) der mehreren Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) andererseits in räumlicher Nähe angeordnet und relativ zueinander ausgerichtet sind, um das Aufnehmen eines optischen Bildes der innerhalb des jeweiligen Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) enthaltenen ophthalmischen Linse durch das jeweilige Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) der mehreren Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) zu erlauben.
     
    6. Linseninspektionsmodul nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche, wobei das mindestens eine optische Inspektionssystem (90) einen bildauflösenden Sensor umfasst.
     
    7. Verfahren zur Inspektion von ophthalmischen Linsen, insbesondere von Kontaktlinsen, wobei das Verfahren die folgenden Schritte umfasst:

    - Bereitstellen eines Inspektionsmoduls nach einem der vorangehenden Ansprüche;

    - Füllen jedes Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) des Küvettensystems mit einer Flüssigkeit;

    - Beladen jedes Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) mit einer ophthalmischen Linse;

    - Transportieren der mit den ophthalmischen Linsen beladenen mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) zu der Inspektionsstation;

    - in der Inspektionsstation Verbinden jedes Gefäßes (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) mit dem assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) derart, dass die Inspektionsoberfläche (31) des assoziierten Inspektionsfensters (3a; 3b; ...; 3n) in die in dem Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) gehaltene Flüssigkeit eingetaucht ist;

    - in der Inspektionsstation optisches Inspizieren der ophthalmischen Linsen innerhalb der Flüssigkeit in den mehreren Gefäßen (2a-2n);

    - nach der Inspektion der ophthalmischen Linsen in der Inspektionsstation Entfernen der assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) von den Gefäßen (2a-2n); und

    - Transportieren der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) weg von der Inspektionsstation.


     
    8. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, wobei die assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) mit den Gefäßen (2a-2n) mit einer Zustellgeschwindigkeit der Inspektionsoberfläche (31) der Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) im Bereich von 0.05 m/s bis 0.16 m/s verbunden werden, und wobei die assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) von den Gefäßen (2a-2n) mit einer Rückzugsgeschwindigkeit der Inspektionsoberfläche (31) der Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) im Bereich von 0.05 m/s bis 0.16 m/s entfernt werden.
     
    9. Verfahren nach einem der Ansprüche 7 oder 8, wobei die Inspektionsoberfläche (31) jedes der assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) eine Vorderkante (32) aufweist, und wobei während des Verbindens der assoziierten Inspektionsfenster (3a-3n) und der Gefäße (2a-2n) die Vorderkante (32) der Inspektionsoberfläche (31) mit einer Oberfläche des in jedem Gefäß (2a; 2b; ...; 2n) der mehreren Gefäße (2a-2n) gefassten Flüssigkeit einen Winkel (α) im Bereich von 7° bis 21° zu dem Zeitpunkt einschließt, zu dem die Vorderkante (32) die obere Oberfläche der Flüssigkeit kontaktiert, um in die Flüssigkeit eingetaucht zu werden.
     


    Revendications

    1. Module d'inspection de lentilles pour l'inspection optique de lentilles ophtalmiques, en particulier de lentilles de contact, le module d'inspection de lentilles comprenant un système de cuvette (1) et une station d'inspection de lentilles comprenant au moins un système d'inspection optique (90),
    le système de cuvette comprenant une pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) disposés en configuration linéaire, chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) étant adapté pour accueillir une lentille ophtalmique et pour contenir un liquide, et étant en outre adapté pour être transporté simultanément, chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) ayant un prolongement longitudinal et une ouverture (20) disposée à une extrémité longitudinale du récipient,
    et ledit module d'inspection de lentilles comprenant en outre un système de transport pour transporter ladite pluralité de récipients disposés en configuration linéaire jusqu'à ladite station d'inspection de lentilles,
    ladite station d'inspection de lentilles comprenant en outre une pluralité correspondante de fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) disposées de façon stationnaire dans ladite station d'inspection en configuration linéaire correspondante, chaque fenêtre d'inspection (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) de ladite pluralité de fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) ayant une surface d'inspection (31) et étant associée à un récipient différent (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n), et chaque fenêtre d'inspection associée (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) étant adaptée pour être raccordée au récipient associé (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) au niveau de ladite ouverture (20) dudit récipient associé (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de telle sorte que ladite surface d'inspection (31) de ladite fenêtre d'inspection associée (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) est plongée dans ledit liquide, et chaque fenêtre d'inspection associée (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) étant en outre adaptée pour être retirée de ladite ouverture (20) dudit récipient associé (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n),
    et ledit au moins un système d'inspection optique (90) étant en outre disposé de façon mobile dans ladite station d'inspection le long de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) disposés en configuration linéaire et raccordés auxdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n),
    chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) étant en forme de coupelle ayant un fond (21) qui est disposé à l'opposé de ladite ouverture (20), et un creux d'inspection (22) étant ménagé dans ledit fond (21) pour accueillir la lentille ophtalmique,
    chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) comprenant en outre des languettes de butée (23) disposées à ladite extrémité longitudinale dudit récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) là où est disposée ladite ouverture (20), lesdites languettes de butée (23) faisant saillie axialement depuis ledit récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) à ladite extrémité longitudinale,
    chaque fenêtre d'inspection (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) étant montée de façon détachable à l'intérieur d'un boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) ayant une extrémité libre, la fenêtre d'inspection (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) faisant saillie depuis ladite extrémité libre dudit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n),
    ledit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) comprenant un rebord (51) s'étendant radialement vers l'extérieur depuis ledit boîtier tubulaire,
    et ledit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) étant disposé avec faculté de rotation entre une première position d'extrémité dans laquelle ladite fenêtre d'inspection (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) est retirée dudit au moins un récipient (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n), et une deuxième position d'extrémité dans laquelle ledit rebord (51) dudit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) bute contre lesdites languettes de butée (23) disposées à ladite extrémité longitudinale dudit récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) .
     
    2. Module d'inspection de lentilles selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) est repoussé vers ladite extrémité libre de celui-ci.
     
    3. Module d'inspection de lentilles selon la revendication 2 dans lequel, pour repousser ledit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n) vers ladite extrémité libre de celui-ci, un ressort de compression hélicoïdal (52) est disposé entre ledit rebord (51) et un panneau de montage (6) sur lequel est monté ledit boîtier tubulaire (5a ; 5b ; ... ; 5n).
     
    4. Module d'inspection de lentilles selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre un égouttoir (9) disposé sous ladite configuration linéaire desdites fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) et s'étendant parallèlement audit panneau de montage (6).
     
    5. Module d'inspection de lentilles selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ledit au moins un système d'inspection optique (90) d'une part et chaque fenêtre d'inspection (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) de ladite pluralité de fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) d'autre part sont disposés en proximité spatiale et alignés l'un par rapport à l'autre pour prendre une image optique de la lentille ophtalmique contenue dans le récipient respectif (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) à travers la fenêtre d'inspection respective (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) de ladite pluralité de fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n).
     
    6. Module d'inspection de lentilles selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ledit au moins un système d'inspection optique (90) comprend un capteur à résolution d'image.
     
    7. Procédé d'inspection de lentilles ophtalmiques, en particulier de lentilles de contact, le procédé comprenant les étapes suivantes :

    - obtention d'un module d'inspection selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes ;

    - remplissage de chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) dudit système de cuvette avec un liquide ;

    - chargement de chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) avec une lentille ophtalmique ;

    - transport de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) chargés avec lesdites lentilles ophtalmiques jusqu'à ladite station d'inspection ;

    - dans ladite station d'inspection, raccordement de chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) avec ladite fenêtre d'inspection associée (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) de telle sorte que ladite surface d'inspection (31) de ladite fenêtre d'inspection associée (3a ; 3b ; ... ; 3n) est plongée dans le liquide contenu dans ledit récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) ;

    - dans ladite station d'inspection, inspection optique desdites lentilles ophtalmiques à l'intérieur dudit liquide dans ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) ;

    - après l'inspection desdites lentilles ophtalmiques dans ladite station d'inspection, retrait desdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n) desdits récipients (2a-2n) ; et

    - transport de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) à l'écart de ladite station d'inspection.


     
    8. Procédé selon la revendication 7, dans lequel lesdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n) sont raccordées auxdits récipients (2a-2n) avec une vitesse d'introduction de ladite surface d'inspection (31) desdites fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) dans la gamme de 0.05 m/s à 0.16 m/s, et dans lequel lesdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n) sont retirées desdits récipients (2a-2n) avec une vitesse de rétractation de ladite surface d'inspection (31) desdites fenêtres d'inspection (3a-3n) dans la gamme de 0.05 m/s à 0.16 m/s.
     
    9. Procédé selon l'une quelconque des revendications 7 et 8, dans lequel ladite surface d'inspection (31) de chacune desdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n) a un bord d'attaque (32) et dans lequel, pendant le raccordement desdites fenêtres d'inspection associées (3a-3n) et desdits récipients (2a-2n), ledit bord d'attaque (32) de ladite surface d'inspection (31) délimite un angle (α) avec une surface dudit liquide contenu dans chaque récipient (2a ; 2b ; ... ; 2n) de ladite pluralité de récipients (2a-2n) dans la gamme de 7° à 21° au moment où ledit bord d'attaque (32) entre en contact avec la surface supérieure dudit liquide pour être plongé dans ledit liquide.
     




    Drawing















    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description