Product Spotlight – Charmant Titanium
THE MANY MATERIAL BENEFITS OF TITANIUM FRAMES
By Deborah Kotob, ABOM
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Expiration Date: May 1, 2020
Upon completion of this program, the participant should:
- Understand the features and benefits of titanium eyeglass frames.
- Understand the background and the nature of the chemical element titanium.
- Understand the complexities associated with the manufacture of titanium frames.
- Learn about the unique titanium and titanium alloy materials developed by Charmant.
Deborah Kotob, ABOM, is currently director of education for Jobson Medical Information LLC, has more than 20 years of experience as an optician. With over 10 years in lens manufacturing as a Sales Consultant, Trainer and LMS content developer. She lectures, trains and conducts webinars on a variety of optical and practice development topics.
This course is approved for one (1) hour of CE credit by the American Board of Opticianry (ABO). Technical Level 1 Course STWJH302-1
This course is supported by an educational grant from CHARMANT.
We build our customers' confidence in our ability to guide them in their eyewear purchasing decision when we demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the material benefits of both frame and lenses.
Every day we expertly help our customers select the perfect frame. We recommend the right frame for face shape, facial features and skin tone. Our well-trained eye confirms that the eyes' location in the eyewire will result in the least lens decentration. We consciously analyze the frame's suitability for the prescription lens and any challenges that may present with the finished lenses. Producing the best optics in eyewear requires a well-fitting frame just as much as accurate measurements of pupillary distance, fitting heights and advanced position of wear metrics for digital lenses. We recommend thin and lightweight lenses for best aesthetics and comfort. And just as we are conscious of the comfort aspects of lenses, so should we be aware of the comfort aspects of eyeglass frames. When it comes to eyeglass frames, we want less weight, but more durability. When eyeglass frames are of lightweight and durable titanium, your customer experiences the benefits of a lightweight and durable frame that is corrosion free with hypoallergenic properties.
Multiple optical industry consumer surveys find that "lightweight" eyewear ranks as highly important.
Titanium is called a "space-age" material by chemists and is renowned for its light weight, corrosion resistance and strength. It is a material that improves technology, manufacturing, medical equipment and sports, and even improves everyday life with its lightweight durability. We will discuss all of the customer benefits you can offer with titanium frames but first let's learn more about this amazing chemical element.
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It is found in most living organisms, soils and water. It is forged from the supernovas of dying stars and can be found in mineral deposits throughout the earth's crust. It is the ninth most abundant element on the planet, which is great except that it's very difficult and costly to extract because it bonds easily with other elements.
William Gregor is credited with the discovery of titanium in 1791. German Scientist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (who was disappointed to find that he was not the first to discover titanium) named the chemical element for the Titans of the Greek Gods of myth. It is the name that stuck with scientists.
Titanium metal can be alloyed with other metals like aluminum, iron, molybdenum and manganese—the changes in the properties of the metal obtained with titanium alloys expand its usefulness as a material.
TITANIUM MILESTONES AND USES
In 1790, titanium was discovered when it was isolated from magnetic sand. In 1908, it was discovered to have corrosion-free properties even in seawater. In 1960, it was discovered that titanium is naturally occurring in the human body, making it ideal for contact with the skin. In 1982, titanium was used for the first time in the manufacture of eyewear. In 1990, it was used in the manufacture of high-end sports equipment including golf clubs, tennis rackets and mountain bikes. In addition to high-performance sports gear, titanium today is used in almost all industries.
Titanium is used in:
- Aerospace, aircraft and engines where titanium alloys provide the strong, lightweight, temperature-resistant material properties needed.
- The building industry.
- Medical and dental devices, implants and prosthesis, joint replacement implants, like ball-and-socket hip joint.
- Agri-food, pulp and paper industry.
- Industrial chemical and petrochemical.
- Ship hulls, propeller shafts and desalination plants due to titanium's excellent corrosion resistance to seawater.
- About 95 percent of titanium production is in the form of titanium dioxide (titania), a white pigment, a strong UV light absorber, with a high refractive index which is used in white paint, food coloring, toothpaste, plastics, cosmetics and sunscreen.
- Drill bits, watches, laptop computers, mobile phones and tablets, body piercings and more. Interesting titanium trivia from Live Science (www.livescience.com):
- According to Boeing, their 737 Dreamliner is made of 15 percent titanium.
- Titanium is orbiting the planet right now: The International Space Station (ISS) has some titanium parts, including pipes, according to NASA. The Rosetta Project, a research and archiving venture with the goal of preserving human languages and thought, has also flown an etched piece of pure titanium outside the ISS, to see how it stands up to radiation and the harsh environment of space.
- Earth isn't the only place to find titanium. In 2011, a satellite map of the moon's surface revealed clusters of titanium-rich rock. These rocks often contained up to 10 percent titanium, compared to the 1 percent or so typically seen in Earth rocks.
- Titanium can be used as a raw material in 3D printing. In 2013, researchers at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization 3D-printed a pair of lightweight titanium horseshoes for racehorses. The shoes were a stylish hot pink.
TITANIUM EYEGLASS FRAMES
Titanium eyewear has multiple customer benefits:
- Titanium frames are hypoallergenic meaning it won't cause an allergic reaction in sensitive skin.
- Titanium frames are biocompatible and therefore nontoxic to living systems.
- Titanium won't rust, tarnish or corrode. It's 20 times more corrosion resistant than monel. In her book Discovery of the Elements XI, Mary Elvira Weeks, states that: Titanium's corrosion rate is so low that after 4,000 years in seawater, corrosion would only have penetrated the metal to the thickness of a thin sheet of paper. Titanium is being studied for the long-term (over 100,000 years) storage of nuclear waste since it is noncorrosive. Exposing titanium to oxygen produces a thin oxide film on the surface of the frame that seals and protects the frame from corrosion even in seawater. Even scratches in the material's surface become sealed when exposed to oxygen.
- Titanium has the highest strength-todensity ratio of any metallic element. Titanium frames are strong and durable, with twice the tensile strength of monel. In its unalloyed form, it's as strong as steel, but only 45 percent the weight, according to Los Alamos National Laboratory. And it's twice as strong as aluminum (although 60 percent heavier). (Tensile strength is the measure of the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking.)
- Titanium frames hold their shape which means fewer adjustments, more comfort and higher customer satisfaction.
- Titanium frames are the second most lightweight material used in the manufacture of eyewear. It is half the weight of conventional metals like monel. Think about your customer who has just paid extra to have thinner, lighter lenses— are they not a perfect candidate for lightweight titanium?
- Titanium frames can be made thinner due to the superior strength of the material. Thus frames can be produced with streamlined style, and by its nature, less material means even lighter frames.
Why do titanium frames cost more?
- Material costs: Titanium is difficult to mine, extract and purify into a usable state. The following is an excerpt from Live Science magazine: "The first person to distill titanium into its pure form was M.A. Hunter, an employee of General Electric, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). It wasn't until the 1930s, however, that William J. Kroll invented a process that made extracting titanium possible on an industrial scale. The so-called Kroll process first treats titanium oxide ore with chlorine, producing titanium chloride. Next, magnesium or sodium are mixed with the titanium chloride in argon gas (allowing oxygen into the proceedings would be quite explosive, indeed, given that titanium is highly reactive to oxygen, according to the RSC). Under temperatures of 2,192 F (1,200 C), the magnesium or sodium reduces the titanium chloride to pure titanium. This process is about 10,000 times less efficient as the process used to make iron, according to the RSC, which helps explain why titanium is the more expensive metal."
- Special soldering called brazing required: Due to the porous nature of titanium, special high-temperature soldering machines in an oxygen-free environment at temperatures of 900 degrees or higher are required to securely bond solder points. Brazing joins two metals by heating and melting a filler (alloy) that bonds to the two pieces of metal and joins them.
- Heavier pressing machines: Titanium's strength requires heavier, more expensive presses to produce the frame detail, shape and design needed in the production of today's fashion-forward styles.
Customers are willing to pay more for products when the value is clear.
Just as your customers are willing to pay higher prices for their golf clubs, bicycles and other products made with titanium, they will also pay more for the added value inherent in frames made of this wonderful lightweight, strong hypoallergenic and noncorrosive material. As their eyewear expert, it is your responsibility to know the features of titanium frames and to know your customer and how they will benefit from titanium frames.
The value in titanium frames is in the added comfort, high-tech strength and durability.
BENEFITS VERSUS FEATURES
Features answer what it is. For example, it is a high-tech chemical element that is lightweight, strong and has noncorrosive and hypoallergenic properties. Oh yes, and it is biocompatible.
Benefits answer how the features of the product will improve the customer's life. How will it make them more secure, look better, see better, perform better or feel better?
The benefit of the features: The lightweight feature of titanium frames confers the benefit of comfort. The strength and durability features make titanium a good investment (security). The combination of lightweight and strong can help improve the performance of athletes, just as their titanium bikes improve their sport. The noncorrosive feature of titanium confers the benefit of a good investment (security). It's OK to impress the customer with the high-tech features of titanium, but be sure to tie the feature to the benefit to be derived from wearing titanium frames.
COMFORT AND AESTHETICS
Titanium frames are lighter for comfort in general, but the reduced weight at the crucial three touch points (ears and nose) is especially impactful. Because they can be made thinner, the overall weight of the eyewear is less. Because they can be made with a super thin profile and streamlined, due to their superior strength very cool-tech-fashion looks can be created.
Everyone wants strong, lightweight and comfortable frames, but some benefit more. Titanium's reputation precedes it. Many of your customers already have an appreciation for titanium's material benefits.
Who will appreciate titanium frames?
- Those with nickel allergies (monel contains nickel).
- Some of us benefit from the noncorrosive properties of titanium, such as the customers whose metal frame has turned green and pitted from corrosion due to the environment.
- Those with sensitive bridges or mastoid who can't tolerate much weight or pressure will love titanium.
- Customers who live in hot areas and perspire will appreciate the noncorrosive properties of titanium.
- Customers who live near or spend time on the ocean fishing, boating or sailing; they will benefit from titanium's noncorrosive properties even when exposed to sea or ocean water.
- Sports enthusiasts appreciate the same high-performance qualities in their frames that they experience in the highperformance sports gear such as mountain climbers and backpackers; the weight of their packs can be reduced to a mere 10 pounds due to the lightweight and superior strength of titanium rappelling gear, cooking equipment, fishing hooks, flashlights as well as other gear.
- A cyclist's sport is greatly improved due to lightweight titanium frames and parts.
- Tennis players—strong, lightweight rackets made from titanium improve their game.
- The golf player's game is improved by clubs made super lightweight and strong by titanium.
- Anyone who works in the aerospace, with planes, trains or automobiles which all benefit from the aerodynamic, lightweight and superior strength of titanium.
- Anyone who works in the medical field; corrosion resistant, lightweight and super strong titanium is used in joint replacement parts.
The list of customers who will appreciate titanium frames is too exhaustive to list them all. But you can see that you have a wide audience that already appreciates or that will benefit from titanium frames.
As opticians and as our customers' trusted eyewear advisor, we need to determine the best frame for the customer based on their work and living environment as well as their hobbies and activities. Titanium is a technologically advanced material meaning that you must be versed in its technical properties and benefits to communicate the benefits of this amazing material to your customer. Remember that your customer already purchases many products that have been made lighter and stronger and corrosion free by titanium. They will get it!
Choose the titanium or titanium alloy frame properties that are best suited to your customer's needs:
Features: Lightweight, flexible, elasticity, memory function.
Resistancy: Durability, UV resistance, corrosion free, heat resistant, shock resistant.
Health and environment: Nickel allergy free, biocompatible, recyclable.
The different types of titanium frame materials and their properties include:
Charmant only calls materials made with 100 percent titanium Pure Titanium, exceeding The Vision Council guidelines for frames to be certified 100 percent titanium. The Vision Council guideline states that a frame can be certified 100 percent titanium when the frame material contains a minimum of 90 percent titanium by weight and zero nickel. Charmant's Pure means Pure! Pure Titanium has strong durability properties and provides easy adjustability for the optician. A titanium frame material is 50 percent lighter than common metal frame materials like monel, only aluminum is lighter.
Performance: It is extremely durable, corrosion-free and is extremely heat and shock resistant (making it ideal for highperformance sport frames). It is a nickel allergy-free frame material and is biocompatible. (Biocompatible titanium means that it is nontoxic and will not cause injurious effects to biological systems.) Charmant employs special high-temperature soldering machines to create a secure bond in the porous titanium. Brazing must be done under argon at 1,100 degrees Centigrade. (Brazing is a metal-joining process in which two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal.)
Charmant's Beta Titanium alloy exceeds The Vision Council guidelines for certified beta titanium. Charmant Beta Titanium contains 74 percent titanium and 22 percent vanadium and 4 percent aluminum, making it even more durable than pure titanium. It is beta titanium with high elasticity and good flexibility. The Vision Council guidelines for certified beta titanium requires only 70 percent titanium by weight and must be nickel free.
Excellence Titan is the most elastic of Charmant titanium alloys. Its material composition is patented by Charmant. It was exclusively invented for eyewear by Charmant in cooperation with Tohuku University. This titanium alloy reacts to little force and returns to its original shape. Excellence Titan boasts special memory function properties that help maintain the shape while creating ever better wearing comfort.
It is worth noting that titanium can break despite its superior strength. If a snapping motion is used to bend titanium temples or endpieces, at a single point, when using a metal plier the titanium frame can snap at the bend. Quick bending action can create a gap or crack in the metal. Using a crimping motion rather than a quick bend when adjusting titanium endpieces and temples is advised.
Note: Titanium frames can be laser welded. Specialty watch and eyewear repair shops have special argon gas filled chambers to eliminate oxygen. The welder uses an instrument with a microscope to view the parts to be welded within the chamber.
Z Titanium is a high strength and high elastic titanium-zirconium alloy which requires specialized pressing and cutting tools. Brazing or high-temperature soldering must be done under argon at 1,100 degrees Centigrade. Z Titanium does not contain vanadium, aluminum, iron, copper, zinc or nickel. With the highest biocompatibility, even higher than beta titanium, it is completely safe against the skin. It provides a comfortable fit due to the lightweight material and its increased flexibility for easy adjustability. Z titanium is hypoallergenic while providing the same flexibility and memory properties as nickel titanium.
FUNCTION AND STYLE
Having the perfect, comfortable, lightweight, durable and hypoallergenic material means nothing if it cannot be used to create the elegant, refined frames with fine details that consumers demand from eyewear fashion. Understanding this, Charmant pioneered the development of high-tech titanium tooling and other special manufacturing techniques to create unusually fine detailing on high style and sophisticated shapes.
You can inspire long-lasting loyalty in your premium titanium customers when you combine the rare fusion of high-tech material, quality craftsmanship, comfort and style.
Designed for comfort: Innovators in titanium eyewear, Charmant designs its titanium collection to achieve maximum comfort in eyewear. The frames are scientifically engineered and ergonomically designed for the best fit and comfort.
BENEFITS OF DISPENSING TITANIUM
Increased sales: Titanium frames offer a high-value opportunity to upgrade the customer's frame choice. Titanium is known to most consumers as a high-performance, expensive material that is worth the extra expenditure. Since most of us want the very best that we can afford, we will more often than choose titanium when offered, over lesser quality materials. Remember the material properties of titanium align with what we value in eyewear: durable, lightweight comfort.
Higher profits: Due to unique features and benefits of this material, higher margins with higher ticket prices mean higher profits.
Customer satisfaction: With titanium frames, your customers will experience more comfort and durability, and this translates into customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers share their experience with friends and family. And satisfied customers are loyal, socially connected customers who become promoters of your practice. Titanium is a material recognized by consumers for its many benefits. Earn your customers' confidence: Share the fact that the titanium frames you are recommending are made by the original innovators in titanium frame production who is the largest manufacturer and distributor worldwide of titanium eyeglass frames.
Building brand loyalty: You are your brand, and the products you sell must enhance your brand image and result in loyal customers. Selling quality and hightech performance materials will set you apart and help you stand out in a crowded optical retail market.
Be your customer's hero: Solve problems and eliminate complaints associated with heavy, uncomfortable frames, corrosion or skin reactions due to nickel allergies. And one more bonus of titanium frames is that they hold the adjustment, and this means added comfort and less frustration.