I’m going to a SLUGfest. Don’t worry though, it’s probably not what you think. I expect to return from this event unbruised and with all my teeth intact.

In case you’re not familiar with SLUGfest, it’s a technical conference for optical lab owners and managers hosted by Satisloh, a leading prescription lens processing equipment manufacturer. Attendees are members of the Satisloh Users Group (SLUG).

This well-attended four-day meeting held in Dallas will give attendees (SLUGers?) a chance to experience Satisloh’s latest technologies in a live lab setting as well as demonstrations of several other manufacturers’ systems. The agenda will also feature a keynote talk by a former CEO who will analyze tech trends in business, smart manufacturing and the Internet of Things.

SLUGfest is one of several educational conferences geared specifically for optical lab executives. Digicon, a popular event sponsored by another top manufacturer, Schneider Optical Machines, also offers an immersive, hands-on experience for attendees and engaging guest speakers. The DVI Workshop, a favorite gathering for customers of Digital Vision, Inc., provides a forum for them to learn and exchange ideas about the company’s lab management software. Vision Expo and the COLA (California Optical Laboratories Association) also offer education for lab executives.

These conferences have become a hit with lab executives from both independent and supplier-owned labs because they are more than just a showcase for new products. Attendees come to learn not just technical specifics, but to get a broad perspective on trends that are transforming not only optical labs, but every type of business in every type of industry in today’s digital world.

Because of the high quality of information offered at conferences such as SLUGfest, Digicon and the DVI Workshop, these events attract a wide range of attendees. That’s an indication of their relevance, and a confirmation of the important role they play in spreading new ideas within the optical lab community.

Those ideas influence the rest of our industry because they enable the production of prescription lenses for every type of eyewear imaginable, from the most fashion-forward to the most utilitarian. We are all beneficiaries of the ever increasing sophistication of optical lab technology and owe thanks to companies that promulgate the knowledge that keeps us all moving forward.

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology