LIKE LUKE SKYWALKER’S X-WING FIGHTER, a drone zips through ZEISS Vision Care’s 150,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters, showing off innovations in the $20 million expansion of the northern Kentucky facility.
The video takes viewers behind the scenes inside the company’s state-of-the-art optical laboratory, which uses automation, robotics and big-data machine learning to produce lenses as quickly and with as little manual intervention as possible. The upgrades also enabled the lab to become paperless.
With operations in Hebron and served by Owen Electric since 2001, ZEISS Vision Care moved its U.S. headquarters from California to Kentucky one year ago.
“Innovation has been ZEISS’ guiding principle since we were founded 175 years ago, and our facility in Hebron uses the latest technology that will power the next generation of lens design and manufacturing,” says ZEISS Vision Care President Jens Boy. “We’re thrilled to operate from our new U.S. headquarters in Kentucky.”
In addition to its advanced manufacturing component, the facility also houses the company’s national customer service team and North American distribution center, benefiting from Kentucky’s ideal geographic location within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.
“We appreciate ZEISS Vision Care’s investment in our community, and we are proud to count them as a valued owner-member of Owen Electric,” says Mike Cobb, the co-op’s president and CEO. “For more than 20 years, ZEISS Vision Care has been a great example of manufacturing success.”
The headquarters move to Hebron added about 75 jobs to its workforce of nearly 400. Since 2017, ZEISS has more than tripled its employment in Kentucky.
The facility also includes a full-size ZEISS Vision Center showroom, featuring the company’s diagnostic equipment and consumer optical products. The 250-plus ZEISS Vision Center stores worldwide—each owned and operated by independent eyecare practitioners—offer eye exams, lens consultation and frame selection for patients.
ZEISS does not operate its own brick-and-mortar or online stores, and instead focuses on the success of its customers through ophthalmic opticians, purchasing groups, doctor alliances and optical chains.