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From the idea of laser safety glasses to the finished product

23.12.2021 - Website, Laser protection, News, Blog, Laser application, Heat influence zones

Anyone who knows a little about the prices of occupational safety products, especially occupational protection glasses, is always amazed at what laser protection glasses cost. Amounts in the mid three-digit euro range are not uncommon. Sometimes the price even exceeds the procurement costs of the laser.

First of all, we have to distinguish between certified and uncertified laser protection glasses. Certified means that the laser protection glasses have to pass a test and an approval process in the EU. Incidentally, this is also a prerequisite for any personal protective equipment that is to be marketed in the EU, i.e. anything that is worn on the body as a protective product. Such a certification procedure is not only quite expensive, but may only be carried out by a body authorised to do so, samples must be submitted together with documentation, there is no limit to the duration of the procedure and sales are only permitted after it has been fully completed.
The approval of pharmaceutical products such as medicines and vaccines, on the other hand, seems comparatively simple. But in our case with the laser protection glasses, the approval process only happens after a few steps have already been taken. Because as can be seen from the title - in the beginning was the idea!

So let's look at the whole thing step by step. First of all, we need a suitable supporting body, colloquially known as a spectacle frame, and this must first be designed. Then the design is used to make a corresponding mould, which is then used to make a batch of frames. The larger the number of pieces in a batch, the cheaper the individual piece usually becomes. However, the market for laser protection eyewear is not a mass market, in contrast to protection eyewear at work. This already shows why the product laser protection glasses is basically more expensive than ordinary protection glasses.

So now we have the right wearable, and with it, so to speak, half the battle. But the whole thing only becomes laser protection glasses when the right laser protection filters are used. To do this, we have to select the appropriate filter material for the desired wavelength from which protection is to be provided, either colored plastic or colored glass. Here, enormous differences in price become apparent, as glass types are very different and there are only a few glass manufacturers who can also offer the required quality. The laws of the niche market are also evident here. The combination of high quality and relatively low sales rarely leads to a low price.

Now, however, we have the finished product with the supporting body and the laser protection filters. Of course, the whole thing still has to be assembled and marked with the protection level, CE mark and serial number. And for this, the complete equipment of an optician's workshop is necessary. But then, as soon as the approval process has been completed and the certification is valid, we can put the laser protection glasses on the market as mentioned above.

However, this does not answer the question of why the laser protection glasses are sometimes more expensive than the laser itself: This may be because the laser manufacturer - often based outside the EU and selling via internet market platforms - has saved the cost of CE approval. But it may also be because the laser is used very frequently (laws of the mass market!). In the first case, non-certified laser protection glasses are often supplied with the laser device. However, our tests have shown that with these it often makes no difference whether you put them on at all or not, as they are either not suitable as laser protection glasses at all or at least not suitable for the required wavelength.

Incidentally, both the manufacturer and the dealer - i.e. the market player who puts the laser protection glasses on the market - are obliged to show the certificate on request. If in doubt, insist on the certificate and, if necessary, refrain from making a purchase. In this way, you provide yourself and your eyes with the necessary safety in the form of a safe product

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Laser protection, Laser protection filter, Laser protection glasses, Certification, Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, Niche market

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