The innovation pipeline at Alcon originates with our people. We look to them for ideas, collaboration and persistence to bring something new into the world. And not just anything new – products that make a difference in people’s lives.
Shu Zong has pushed the innovation envelope for decades at Alcon. His latest success was the engineering of the manufacturing technology that made PRECISION1® possible.
Shu’s career began in Germany. When pursuing his Ph.D. degree in engineering, he dreamed of space robotics and even worked in robotic research for the European space shuttle Hermes. Eventually, a recruiter brought Shu to CIBA Vision, a company that merged with Alcon. And that was 25 years ago.
In his early Alcon career, Shu was part of a major R&D program to develop Lightstream technology, the manufacturing platform behind DAILIES® contact lenses. In 1998, after achieving a great deal of success, Shu was sent on a new mission: Take a team of German engineers, and start a second production plant of DAILIES contact lenses in Johns Creek, Georgia. Since the DAILIES lines were the main installations at the new facility, Shu was dubbed the “Godfather of Johns Creek Manufacturing,” and it still holds a special place in his heart.
Most recently, Alcon was looking for a R&D leader to manage one of the toughest technical challenges ever at Alcon – the possibility of a flexible manufacturing platform. The vision was to create a contact lens manufacturing process that is modular and easily interchangeable rather than limited to a dedicated single lens design. Alcon turned to Shu.
Along with his team in R&D, Shu developed this truly innovative technology to manufacture PRECISION1 contact lenses. Now, as Alcon develops another novel contact lens, the same flexible manufacturing lines are being used to produce it. This flexible manufacturing platform and rapid new lens development have given Alcon impressive efficiency that’s unique in the industry.
But, as Shu puts it, it’s more than that.
“In Alcon I have been able to work on things meaningful and impactful, which is very satisfying. R&D is all about innovation and pioneering – new designs, new processes, new products. It’s a strong engine which propels the business forward.”