Who in St. Albert can weld gold and titanium into strong metal parts with no visible signs of repair? How can professional training in one discipline lead to a whole new product or service? Who was the first in North America to perfect this technology? Would you believe that company is located right here in St Albert?
As a dental technician with 30 years experience, Darrel Fraser owns a dental lab in St. Albert with a $50,000 laser-welding machine. He wondered what else this laser-welding machine could do, so one day he experimented with fixing a small dental implant wrench. He soon began to look at what else he could do to provide services to other customers.
With his specialized machines, Darrel can employ techniques that can repair 98 per cent of all eyeglasses that are brought into his company, Laserfix Eyeglass Repair, located in Riel Business Park. He has been open since 2000 providing services to opticians across Canada, and expanded in 2009 to serve individual customers from wherever they may travel.
The process uses a microscopic light beam of incredible energy to melt the broken surfaces together, without damaging the surrounding area. The special argon atmosphere eliminates the oxygen, and is the only way in the world to repair titanium. Traditional eyeglass repairs used a small torch and soft solder, often resulting in a glob of metal and an inch of burnt area, leaving it un-repairable by any means.
Laser welding is 400 per cent stronger than soldering, can be almost invisible and only uses pure gold and/or titanium as filler materials so there is no chance of an allergic or irritating reaction. The laser welding process can join one type of metal to another, such as gold to titanium or gold to stainless steel, and can “rebuild” areas of a frame with the same alloys as found in the original frames.
Clients can access Laserfix Eyeglass Repair as walk-ins to the store location at 27A Rowland Crescent in St. Albert, where one-hour eyeglass repair is offered. Many customers from across North America mail in their eyeglasses for repair and usually receive them back in 24 hours.
So why did Darrel and his staff choose St. Albert for this unique business? It is because he lives here and enjoys the many amenities that St. Albert offers, plus he doesn’t have to bother with a long commute into the city. Darrel is hopeful that he can continue to grow and eventually franchise the business into other major cities. In the meantime, St. Albert is home to the best eyeglass repair facility in North America thanks to Darrel and Laserfix ingenuity. Who knows what else they are capable of doing.
For more information, you can check out their website at: www.laserfix.ca
Do you know of a unique business in St Albert that you think others would be interested in learning about? Contact the St. Albert Gazette at [email protected].ca and perhaps we could do a feature on the business in a future column.