About United Lens Company
Founded in 1916 by Italian immigrant, Fileno DiGregorio, United Lens Company has been under the same continuous family ownership for the past century. Growth and diversification have always been the company’s touchstones, since it’s modest beginnings as a producer of molded spectacle lens blanks to its current prominence in the industry as a producer of thin film coated, polished, and precision machined optics.
Starting with one molding furnace, Mr. DiGregorio grew his business by selling directly to opticians, door to door. As more furnaces were added to keep up with demand for molded lens blanks, United Lens became renowned throughout the industry for its impeccable quality and fast turnaround. This resulted in the company being called upon by the U.S. government during World War II to produce molded lens blanks for the many instrument applications under development at that time.
During that period Fileno’s sons, Albert, Richard and Ronald, along with his son-in-law, Anthony Detarando, joined the company and together oversaw a period of rapid growth and expansion.
The addition of dozens of annealing ovens with in house designed precision controls along with Fileno’s business ethos of maintaining a vast inventory of raw glass material, assured customers the fastest turnaround time with the highest quality. The sales team expanded their reach overseas and United Lens became the largest manufacturer of molded lens blanks in the world.
In the mid-1970s, expansion in the instrument optics field continued with the establishment of the Optical Fabrication Division or Optical Shop, an operation that performs close tolerance surfacing and shaping of flat precision optical elements, and thin-film vacuum coatings. The Service Center, which specializes in precision machining of optical glass and other materials, was also established at that time to service the customer who demanded not only high quality products and service, but required even faster delivery.
United Lens Company has become the only truly vertically integrated company in the optical industry. Our Optical Shop manufactures finished mirrors, prisms, windows, and other optical components.
Our surfacing technology ranges from conventional single spindle and planetary machines to high-speed single and double-sided grinders and polishers.
The Coating Division applies Thin Film Coatings to finished substrates produced by us, or supplied by customers. Coating chambers are equipped with sophisticated computerized controls to maintain consistent high quality results per requirement.
To ensure that finished products exactly meet customer specifications, components are tested using state-of-the-art interferometers and spectrophotometers. If needed, extensive Saltfog and Environmental testing is done on coated optics.
Our Service Center produces precision-machined blanks and components in optical glass, fused silica, quartz, and other materials. Materials may pass through any number of operations including cutting, edging, surface grinding, centerless grinding, wafer sawing, computer controlled multi-axis machining, drilling, curve generating, and rod polishing. Advanced non-contact metrology equipment is used to ensure that components conform to customer specifications.
Our substantial inventory of fine and precision-annealed optical glass and extensive in-house glass annealing capacity ensures that material will always be available to support this division’s quick delivery schedules. Meticulous testing in the refractometer laboratory ensures precise index of refraction and dispersion values are achieved.
The Molding Division is still second to none in the industry and continues to employ highly skilled artisans who use in house designed and manufactured molds and presses. Custom optical glass pressings are supplied worldwide to companies that manufacture finished optics used in a wide variety of applications. Production quantities range from a single piece to hundreds of thousands, in sizes that vary from as small as four millimeters to as large as 600 millimeters in diameter.
United Lens Company has a long tradition of service to the Optical Industry, and our commitment is ongoing. We invest in the latest technologies and are constantly researching manufacturing methods that are faster, easier and more efficient to benefit our customers both in expediting their order and ensuring the highest quality. We continue to conform to the business fundamentals set by our founder, Fileno DiGregorio, by beginning every discussion with the question, “How does this benefit our customers?”
William R. Lannon
Chairman, CEO & President
Bill Lannon was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of United Lens Company in November, 2010. He was appointed COO and President in October, 2004. Mr. Lannon began his career with ULC in 1978 and has held various leadership roles, including Optical Sales Manager, VP of Sales, and Executive Vice President. He holds a BSBA from Nichols College. He currently resides in Dudley, MA with his wife and has two grown children and 2 grandchildren.
Paul J. DiGregorio
Vice President & General Manager
Paul DiGregorio has served as Vice President and General Manager since July, 2003. He began his career at ULC in 1982, and has served in a variety of leadership positions. He is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s School of Industrial Management and holds an Associate in Industrial Engineering degree from Wentworth Institute as well as an Associate in Industrial Management degree from Central New England College.