Are you planning to invest in the goggle business come 2018?
Well, then this is a must-read article for you.
It covers the top 15 goggle technologies that can make your business profitable.
Whether you need basic, upgraded or military functions, they are all here.
I encourage you to read through the entire article. It is the only way you can choose a technology that is suitable for your OEM clients.
Now, let’s go straight to the main subject of this article:
If there is one technology you should consider for new goggles is injection molding.
Through the injection molding process, you can produce goggles that have both basic and advanced functions.
This can include standard and custom designs, depending on the market needs.
In each case, the goggles will be durable and resistant to impact.
Moreover, you can structurally reinforce polycarbonate material to withstand an enormous degree of impact without any crack.
This makes it a perfect choice for producing skiing, racing or any type of goggles.
In addition to these, adopting the injection molding process for polycarbonate goggles guarantees high precision to cost ratio.
Remember, faster production, consistency in thickness and shape, are key aspects that will make you more competitive.
Furthermore, with injection molding, you can successfully incorporate other goggle technologies to enhance performance.
You may include anti-fog, scratch resistant, photochromic properties, etc.
You will definitely achieve these by adopting polycarbonate injection molding for goggles.
Next, you can consider:
Honestly, there are many anti-fog solutions out there. However, not all will guarantee a fog free goggle surface.
Again, due to numerous safety and environmental concerns, most OEM clients pay attention to the type of anti-fog solutions for goggle lenses. They do not want temporary and hazardous anti-fog solutions.
I will not lie to you, no business or distributor will buy a goggle without an appropriate anti-fog solution.
It is for this reason that I insist on hydrophilic anti-fog coating.
This anti-fog coating is cost effective and environmentally friendly.
The working principle of hydrophilic anti-fog coating purely depends on molecular interaction.
That is, the hydrophilic ingredients on the goggle surface will begin by reducing the surface tension of water.
Consequently, water droplets spread into a very thin film on the goggle lens.
This film allows light to pass through with virtually no distortion, refraction, loss in transmission or dispersion.
For a fact, you will not notice this molecular interaction.
All you will see is a clear surface free from fog or tiny water droplets.
Normally, the hydrophilic anti-fog coating will be on the inside surface of the goggle lens – side that faces your eyes.
The anti-fog coating can withstand several years of washing and still maintain anti-fog properties.
Of course, this is exactly what every OEM business out there will be looking for when it comes to anti-fog coating. The reasons are quite succinct.
The reality is that, there is no goggle lens which is 100% scratch proof. It does not matter whether you go for polycarbonate or glass goggle lenses.
It is for this reason that the anti-scratch coating will be a key selling point in the eyewear industry.
This coating makes the surface harder and reduces chances of scratching.
I am sure there is nobody who would wish to buy a lens, which is susceptible to scratches.
This is why you must protect your goggle lenses from scratches at all cost.
Goggle manufacturers may produce lenses with anti-scratch coating on both sides.
Alternatively, some polycarbonate lenses come with an inbuilt anti-scratch coating.
It is upon you to choose one that fits your goggle lens market niche.
So, how can you choose a suitable anti-scratch coating for goggle lens?
Well, there are 5 main procedures for testing the quality of anti-scratch coating and they include:
- Tumble test
- Bayer test
- Eraser test
- Taber test
- Steel wool test
Do not go for an anti-scratch coating whose quality is in doubt.
It may damage the lens of your goggle.
Apart from quality, you can choose from the following grades of anti-scratch coating:
- General use anti-scratch coating whose hardness is >1H
- An upgraded anti-scratch coating that has high hardness of >3H
- Superior anti-scratch coating with a hardness of 8H to 9H
Other options include the thermoformable and optical anti-scratch coating.
The good thing about these anti-scratch coatings for goggles is that you can consolidate them with other technologies. This results in a functional, safe and durable goggle lens.
In short, you cannot just overlook this essential plastic coating technology.
Now, I want to introduce you to self-cleaning goggles technology.
You can propel your goggle business by using hydrophobic coating.
I know this may sound mysterious – don’t worry, I will explain everything.
First, hydrophobic is basically the opposite of hydrophilic.
Do you remember my point No. 2 above?
Hydrophobic coatings are water repelling nonpolar molecules.
You can see exactly what I am talking about here:
This implies that, a hydrophobic coating will create a water repelling surface on your goggle lens.
Normally, most goggle manufacturers apply the hydrophobic coating on the outer surface of the lens.
By doing so, your goggle lens will guarantee the following key benefits:
- “Self-cleaning property”; due to its anti-static nature, it repels dirt and other dust particles from the goggle lens. This leaves a clear lens.
- Goggles with hydrophobic coating require less cleaning. Even if you have to clean it, the process will be faster.
Of course, this is because the surface repels grease, dirt and stain.
- Repels water droplets and sweat that may cause refraction, dispersion and loss of transmission, which result in optical distortion. With a hydrophobic coating, both water and sweat will form small droplets that fall off the surface
Clearly, this is one lens technology that can boost your sales more so for racing goggles, skiing goggles, etc.
In simple terms, this is basically a photochromic technology.
However, the main difference comes in how the manufacturer incorporates the photochromic material in the goggle lens.
You will learn more about this process shortly.
For now, watch this video to learn more on about the photochromic technology:
As you can see, the photochromic film automatically tints (turns dark) on exposure to a certain threshold of ultraviolet radiation.
In the absence of that ultraviolet radiation, the tint fades.
This is exactly how the photochromic goggles work.
You can learn more about this technology in my free eBook on: Complete Guide to Photochromic Technology.
Now, what’s unique about the co-injection molding in photochromic goggles?
It involves these main stages:
This is a process whereby the manufacturer sandwiches photochromic film or sheet between two polycarbonate sheets.
It therefore results in an inner core and outer surfaces.
It is these materials that are molded into appropriate shapes of photochromic goggles.
Of course, there is another alternative where you can go for photochromic coated goggles.
Here, goggle manufacturer first injection molds the lens.
Then, they use a special photochromic material to coat the surface.
The main reason why you need photochromic technology for goggles include:
- Automatically adjusts to outdoor and indoor environments, thus blocking harmful UVA and UVB radiations.
- Guarantees comfort since they eliminate straining due to bright light
- No need to carry more than one goggles
- Available in many colors
Apart from these, another technology for goggle lenses is the:
Polarized Goggle Lenses
Glare is a major course of many accidents, especially in motorsport.
Therefore, you need polarized goggle lenses that can eliminate this phenomenon.
We polarize goggle lenses to eliminate glare, which is due to the reflection of light.
Normally, this reflection occurs when the sun’s light is reflected from various surfaces such as water, stones or ice.
Like other technologies, the goggle manufacturer will use a special chemical to coat the outer surface of the lens.
By doing so, your OEM clients will enjoy the following key benefits:
- Filtering harmful radiations from the sun such as the high energy visible light
- Eliminating excess light due to reflection that reduce depth of perception and distort
- Reduce harmful effects of glare
In short, polarized goggle lenses will filter all vertical rays while allowing only the horizontal rays to reach the eye.
That is, at any given time, it will allow light to travel in one direction.
As a result, this will ensure clear image recognition, better contrast and perception.
The good thing is that you can consolidate it with other technologies to improve safety.
For, sure, this is one of those goggle technologies you must have to boost sales.
Mirror Coating on Goggle
Are you planning to sell goggle lenses in areas with water, sand, snow or high altitude?
Most people here are affected by excess light being reflected from these surfaces.
It is for this reason that you need a mirror coating on the outer surface of these goggle lenses.
This coating will reflect away excess light that can be harmful to the eyes.
In most cases, polarized lenses can eliminate glare or excess light from reaching the eye surface.
However, for those who cannot afford the polarized coating, mirror coating is always a perfect alternative.
Generally, mirror coating can reduce excess light by 10% to 60%.
This will depend on the thickness of the goggle lens and quality of the mirror coating.
Normally, this coating will give goggle lenses a mirror like appearance.
On the other hand, looking at the surrounding environment with this mirror coating, it appears brown or grey.
Can you remember what I said in No. 2 (anti-fog coating) and No. 5 (photochromic co-mold)?
Here, instead of co-molding a photochromic film, you will use an anti-fog substrate.
It is not where you simply apply an anti-fog coating on the inner surface of the goggle lens.
In anti-fog co-molding, the substrate is not exposed to the external environment.
Even with all these, the truth of the matter is that:
The process of making anti-fog co-molded goggle lens may be different, but it will still make the surface fog free.
Still, by adopting anti-fog co-molding technique, the substrate will reduce water droplets into very thin, uniform and continuous film layer.
The thin film layer will allow maximum transmission of light without any form of distortion.
All in all, whether to opt for anti-fog coating or anti-fog co-molding will depend on your OEM market needs.
Another fascinating goggle technology is the iridium coating.
Please do not confuse iridium coating technology with polarized coating.
Quite a number of business or OEM clients fail to differentiate between the two.
Iridium coating is basically a special metal oxide, which allows goggle lens manufacturers to vary certain properties.
They can tailor the goggle lens to suit a wide range of environments.
For example, when you vary either the composition or saturation of this metal oxide you can alter the following properties:
- Degree of light transmission
- Light absorption
Unlike in the case of polarized coating where you will mainly vary glare.
So, an iridium coating will leave you with many possible options of optimizing goggle lens performance.
Therefore, depending on your market needs, you can opt for green, blue, emerald, black or gold iridium.
Each product is specially designed for specific market needs.
Take for example, in areas with extremely bright lights the black iridium is always a perfect choice.
Basically, you can manipulate the iridium coating (various compositions of metal oxide) within a scale of 9% to 92%.
The process requires know-how in iridium coating and strict quality control (QC).
Honestly, iridium coating is one technology that most goggle lens OEM businesses depend on to remain competitive.
Tinted goggles are still fashionable even with the adoption of many goggle lens technologies.
They are a perfect choice for people who engage in outdoor activities such as running, hunting, skiing, etc.
Depending on your market needs, you can choose from a wide range of colors that are available in the market.
Through this, you can achieve a specific degree of visible light transmission (VLT).
The good thing about this technology is that, you can choose a tint that is suitable for a wide range of lighting conditions.
This way, you will not change lenses whenever there is a change in the weather condition.
For example, to increase contrast, you can choose dark brown, green or grey tint.
On the other hand, orange and yellow tints are a perfect choice for foggy weather.
Frankly, the nature of tint will also depend on your market needs and demands.
This is why I suggest you discuss all these options with your goggle lens manufacturer.
UV Protection for Goggles
Whether your main focus is on skiing, snowboarding or racing goggles, it is important that you choose an effective ultraviolet radiation protection.
Remember at high altitudes, air tends to be “thin”.
Therefore, it may not filter all the harmful ultraviolet rays.
Besides, the effect of reflection as light bounces off the snow, stones or other surfaces may direct more light to your eyes. This can be quite dangerous.
Basically, you need goggles that provide 100% UV protection. It should protect the eyes from UVA, UVB and UVC.
Normally, the harmful ultraviolet radiation may cause eye fatigue or damage retina in the long run.
I am sure you would not wish your brand to be among those that cause eye problems to clients.
The good thing about UV protection is that, you can use it alongside other technologies such as iridium, polarized or tinting.
Furthermore, there are other goggle lens manufactures who have also adopted a dual layer UV protection.
In short, you should order for goggle lenses from a manufacturer who gives ultraviolet radiation protection a high priority.
It is the only sure way clients will have confidence in your brand.
Augmented Reality for Goggles (AR Goggles)
Augmented reality is a fascinating technology that has been adopted in many high end goggles.
It is one technology that will make your goggles to have military functions.
With an augmented reality technology, your goggle lens will project all the vital information behind the wearer.
They can access all this information on the surface of the goggle lens.
It is one technology that improves safety of the goggles users, be it in sports of recreational activities.
You must not confuse the augmented reality with virtual reality technology.
Remember, the virtual reality creates artificial environments, which is not the case for the augmented reality.
Have you heard of or seen augmented reality visors?
Below are some good examples of such visors.
Well, the technology in the augmented reality visor is the same with that in the goggle lenses.
Again, the reality is that not any company in the goggle lens industry can implement augmented reality technology.
You need a company with the know-how and experience in the augmented reality goggle visors.
For a fact, very few companies can implement this.
WeeTect is among the pioneers of the augmented reality/head-up/heads-up display (HUD) in goggle lenses and helmet visors.
The main benefits of augmented reality on goggle lenses (AR goggles) include:
- Guarantee safety of AR goggle wearers by ensuring they do not have divided attention, but focus on the task at hand.
- Goggle wearers have a 360° view of their surroundings irrespective of where they are facing.
- Allows for live streaming of all events/everything behind the goggle wearer
The good thing with augmented reality is that, you can implement it alongside other goggle technologies such as hydrophilic, hydrophobic or anti-fog, anti-scratch coatings.
I can tell you for free, the augmented reality is one area that many goggle lens OEM businesses are yet to explore.
It has a high potential of growth.
Tactical goggles or ballistic goggles feature a range of military functions.
They are injection molded polycarbonate goggles that can withstand high magnitude of impact.
They protect the eyes from small stones, fragments or projectiles that could otherwise break the ordinary goggles.
Normally, these are stones or projectiles at a high speed.
Below is an example of ballistic goggle:
Basically, ballistic goggles are those that conform to the following key requirements:
- NIJ standard
- U.S. Civil standard (ANSI Z87.1 – 2010)
- European standard (EN166, 169, 170 & 172)
- MIL-DTL-43511D standards
One key aspect of ballistic goggles is their resistance to high levels of impact.
Besides, the rugged design of these military grade goggles does not come at the expense of comfort.
Depending on your target market, you can choose between civil and military standards.
Always remember to include appropriate marks on your ballistic goggles.
Fire Retardant Goggles
Fire retardant goggles are a perfect choice for fire fighters.
They are the only goggles certified for both fire protection and high temperature.
These goggles not only protect the eyes from high temperature and smoke, but also hot solids.
Some of the main applications of these goggles include fire rescue, furnace and boilers operation/inspection, just to mention a few.
They have fire retardant straps and lenses. Besides, they are high impact, comfortable and durable goggles.
You should ensure that the goggles conform to the national fire protection association (NFPA) regulations and standards.
This is critical for fire retardant goggles to be sold in the U.S.
To improve performance, the fire retardant goggles should be fog, scratch, glare and impact resistant.
Obviously, you will simply add an appropriate goggle technology to achieve these.
Now, our last goggle technology is the:
Heat Conductive Goggles
This is yet another important military function on goggle lenses that has revolutionized the goggle lens industry.
They use a heat conductive film to ensure no fog survives in the inner section of the goggle lens.
In their design, a conductive film is sandwiched between two layers of polycarbonate sheets.
The goggles then depend on an ion battery to warm the heat conductive film that eliminates fog.
It is a safe and flawless process that is virtually unnoticeable.
In most cases, you can either switch it on or off, depending on when you intend to eliminate fog.
Even though it is a perfect solution to the fogging phenomenon, these lenses are more expensive than those with hydrophilic anti-fog coating.
Clearly, you have many goggle technologies at your disposal.
I am sure out of the 15 goggle technologies you can choose a combination that guarantees safety, optical class 1 properties and convenience.
Choosing specific set of goggle lens technologies will depend on the needs of your OEM clients.
Therefore, you must conduct a proper market survey and then choose technologies will make you more competitive in the market.
Now it is your turn, which goggle lens technologies are you looking for?
Feel free to contact us for free consultation.
- How Hydrophilic Anti-fog Coating Prevent Fog On Plastics – By Kelvin Lin
- Analysis of Lens Manufacturing Process (Injection Molding) – By Spina Roberto ET. Al.
- Anti-fog Solution (A Complete Guidebook) – By WeeTect
- Hydrophilic Chemistry – By HEX AMOR
- Why You Need Anti-scratch Coating on Polycarbonate Eyewear – Source: WeeTect
- Hydrophobic vs. Hydrophilic Surfaces – Source: NNIN
- Complete Guidebook to Photochromic Technology – Source: WeeTect
- Augmented Reality Technology – By Furht Borko ET. AL
- Standard Specifications for Goggle – Source: Astm Website
- Standard Specification for Skiing and Snowboarding Goggles – Source: Astm Website