Author Archives: Dave Spaulding

Smart Vision Lights’ COVID-19 Update

Dear Valued Smart Vision Lights Partner,

Smart Vision Lights will continue to operate and support essential businesses during the State of Michigan’s Shelter-in-Place order that is tentatively scheduled to expire on April 13, 2020. We have been identified as an Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce as described by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under an umbrella of several critical infrastructure sectors, and we look forward to doing our best to support you during this time.

Smart Vision Lights’ Procurement Staff are working around the clock with our global supply chain to assist in creating solutions to minimize disruptions to our channels. If your order is impacted, Smart Vision Lights’ Customer Service will notify you via email and provide you with updates as they are available.

In an effort to ensure the safety of our staff, Smart Vision Lights has implemented “work from home” opportunities for all applicable employees. We have also enhanced processes within our production and manufacturing environment to support best practices as recommended by local, state, and federal healthcare professionals.

We appreciate your patience as we adapt to this evolving situation and thank you for your continued support of Smart Vision Lights. Should you have any questions or require support, please contact Corporate Headquarters Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST by calling
+1 231-722-1199.

Best Regards,
Dave Spaulding
President & CEO
Smart Vision Lights

Show Us Your Parts at Automate 2019!

Coming to Automate April 8–11? Bring your application samples, large or small, with you to Smart Vision Lights at booth #8135. Our lighting engineers and applications experts will be on hand throughout the show to examine parts, discuss your application goals, and share advice on possible solutions. Email us at the address below to schedule an appointment or time to talk with our team.

Developing an effective lighting system can be a difficult task — especially given the range of possible choices between dark field, bright field, structured light, photometric, and other 3D lighting techniques. At Automate, SVL will show you how to illuminate your toughest machine vision applications.

Smart Vision Lights will also be showcasing new products and innovative tools to wirelessly control and configure lighting solutions.

We’re already listening: If you have any questions before the event, contact us at We look forward to seeing you and your samples at Automate!

SVL Backs a Winner at World Robotics Competition for High School Students

A team of high school students sponsored by Smart Vision Lights recently took home the Industrial Design Award at the 2018 FIRST® Championship, a world robotics competition held in Detroit. The award, which is underwritten by GM, was one of three presented at the championship, where 400 teams competed.

The award-winning team, the Muskegon Area Robotics Students (M.A.R.S.) Rovers, had six weeks to design, build, and program a robot to play a game according to parameters set by the FIRST® program. The MARS team played others around Michigan to qualify for the world competition, which is one of two held every year at the end of April. (The other world competition is in Houston.)

“It all started when several students spent the off-season developing a new drive system as well as a vision system,” wrote Michael Gerstweiler, program director for the M.A.R.S.  Rovers. “Other students worked on an electronic scouting system to allow the team to make better decisions.”

The new vision system, a high-speed image processing camera that feeds targeting information to the robot’s brain, had already won several awards on the regional level before the team advanced to the world competition.

Smart Vision Lights supplied the M.A.R.S.  Rovers with materials, equipment, and funding for several years. It also has provided internship and summer job opportunities for several students. The support, said Gerstweiler, “has allowed our students to learn skills that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn.”

Nonprofit FIRST® runs programs to encourage young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. More than 40,000 spectators attended the world championship in Detroit, which included 15,000 students from teams representing many countries.

World Robotics Competition for High School Students

SVL volunteers at Muskegon Rescue Mission

Tuesday,  December 19, was an awesome opportunity for Smart Vision Lights to go serve at the Muskegon Rescue Mission. The Muskegon Rescue Mission serves men, women and children from all walks of life in the Muskegon area.

It was a blessing to see people from the city coming in to receive free hats and gloves, a good cup of coffee and an awesome meal. The community values carried by this ministry are something we at SVL are proud to supports. There are so many people in our neighborhoods that are facing obstacles… Many homeless… Many lost in addiction and stuck in the mindset of poverty. The love and assistance provided by ministries like the Muskegon Rescue Mission are part of the movement of light and life in the darkness, changing the social climate of county in revival: Family for the orphan, and love for any that comes through the doors

Thank you for those on the Smart Vision Lights team that were able to help out this year. We look forward to continuing being a valuable member of the Muskegon community in the years to come.


SVL helping the local community SVL at the Muskegon Rescue Mission

Survey Says: Smart Vision Lights Reaches New Heights in Quality

These days, it can be hard to find good news. So we’d like to share some with you. We recently polled our distribution partners, asking them to rank how SVL performs compared to other lighting suppliers on several key issues from product design to customer service.

The survey responses were pretty lopsided — in our favor, thank goodness. The vast majority of respondents put us at the top of the lighting supplier list in every category, including product ease of use, customer service, delivery, new product releases, and product technical data.

We also heard distributors’ suggestions about areas where SVL could improve, such as product delivery, which has always been a focus for us as we strive to deliver all standard products within three days on average. Offering the fastest average product delivery in the industry is why we have aggressively expanded our staff in the past year to keep up with sales growth while maintaining the highest levels of quality and customer service.

SVL values the feedback from our distributors; you’re on the front line with customers and know their challenges in machine vision lighting. SVL wouldn’t be half the company we are today without your input and continued trust in our products and services.

P.S. For those of you with application stories, we’ll be in touch soon. And keep your eyes peeled for your FREE set of mini LM and RM lights — our way of thanking you just for sharing.

SVL’s SOBL Lights Illuminate Extrusion Measurement App

Smart Vision Lights distributor Automation, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) is using the SOBL Series of backlights to illuminate an automated system for measuring the length of aluminum extrusions. The application, on display at a variety of trade shows throughout the year, features a Parker PAC-controlled HMR gantry to place lengths of extrusion into a nest above the SOBL lights. A Cognex In-Sight VC200 dual smart camera vision system measures long parts by looking at the ends of the extrusions rather than the entire unit.

The two-camera system enables tighter accuracy because zooming in on the ends of the part results in higher-resolution images. Additionally, the use of two lower-resolution cameras instead of one extremely high-resolution camera over the full extrusion reduces system cost.

Cost-effectiveness and high performance informed Automation, Inc.’s, selection of Smart Vision Lights’ SOBL industrial backlights for the application. The built-in strobe input also offers a critical benefit. “This allowed our system to use direct I/O to toggle the lights without the need for additional relays or lighting controllers,” says Sam Liebo, lead applications engineer at Automation, Inc.

Automation, Inc., plans to display and operate the application full-time at its Minneapolis headquarters for customers visiting the facility. Automation, Inc., is a value-added distributor of vision, motion, pneumatic, electrical, process control, and machine components. They specialize in assisting customers with custom solutions designed for specific applications.

SOBL Backlight

Smart Vision Lights’ Products Showcased Throughout Automate 2017

Automate 2017 was another great show for Smart Vision Lights.  Not only did we experience strong booth traffic, but we were very pleased to see so many customers using  our lights  in their showcased products.  Our unofficial count for the number of booths that featured at least one light built by Smart Vision Lights—15, including Cognex, Fanuc, Universal Robots, Dematic, Adaptive Innovations Corp., CCS Intelligent Automation, and Gardasoft.

We do want to take a moment to thank all those who use our lighting products and are looking forward to seeing an even larger number of our lights at the next Automate show.

Below are a few photos of  booths, small and large, using Smart Vision Lights’ products  in their demonstrations during Automate 2017.

Automate 2017 - Fanuc - Smart Vision Lights Automate 2017 - Smart Vision Lights - Cognex Automate 2017 - Smart Vision Lights - Gardasoft

Visit Smart Vision Lights at Automate 2017

Conference season is in getting into full swing and Smart Vision Lights is looking forward to showing you our latest products, such as our well-received line of miniature lights, new large panel lights, and an economic version of our monster LCHP ultra-high-power linear light for line-scan applications. I would like to personally invite all of you to come by Smart Vision Lights’ booth #1047 during Automate in April. And be sure to come see Chris Gray’s presentation on advanced lighting techniques and learn more about how you can illuminate your toughest machine vision applications. On the other side of the pond, please be sure to visit with Tony Carpenter at the UKIVA Machine Vision Conference & Exhibition on April 27 in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule a meeting at either of these events. I look forward to seeing you on the exhibit show floor.

Dave Spaulding, President

Smart Vision Lights

SVL Exclusively Featured on FANUC iRVision Exhibits at IMTS 2016

September 12 – 17, 2016 McCormick Place in Chicago Illinois hosted one of its largest annual events, the International Manufacturing Technology Show.  IMTS is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring 2,407 exhibiting companies and 115,612 registrants. The event is held every two years with its main focus being the metalworking industry.  Industry professionals from all over the world attend IMTS to see more than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems, and processes that can improve their efficiency.

If you roamed this stupendous display of automation and manufacturing technology you no doubt passed by the bright and sunny yellow booth of FANUC America in all their robotic glory.  Their world class exhibit featured a double sided video wall, well over a dozen robots, their latest RoboDrill technology, and definitely the most eye catching attraction of the entire show.  Onlookers gazed upward as the FANUC M-2000iA/1700L heavy payload capable robot effortlessly swung about a 2016 Chevy Corvette overhead of IMTS attendees.  It was quite a sight to behold.

Flying Corvette courtesy of FANUC M-2000iA/1700L robot

After removing oneself from the amazement of a flying Corvette and taking a closer look at the FANUC iRVision displays, there was a common theme among them.  The LED illumination sources for the applications exclusively featured Smart Vision Lights products.  In partnership with FANUC America, SVL was very excited and pleased to oblige the request to supply key illumination solutions highlighting the capabilities of our products paired with one of the world’s most popular vision guided robotics platforms, iRVision.

The application displays included a small conveyor pick and place application utilizing the DLP-300×300-625 Diffuse Ring Light Panel that allowed the vision camera to peer through the center of light will providing even illumination for the entire conveyors field of view.  It was sort of a traditional “Spider Robot” application picking and stacking parts between two opposing direction of travel conveyors with one challenge; The parts were shiny metallic items which showed the the DLP’s ability to illuminate high reflection items robustly and allow the system to perform at high speed.


FANUC Intelligent Bolt Insertion Application featuring S75, L300, & SOBL

The larger and more complex application utilized a series of S75-625 Brick Lights, L300-625 Linear Lights, and SOBL-300×50-625 Back Light to inspect large bolts for intelligent placement into a full sized engine block.  The bolts were presented in a white background tray and illuminate from overhead.  This image acquisition allowed the robot to pinpoint the position and orientation of the bolts to allow for quick and easy pick-up.  The robot presented the bolt in front of a second vision system which took a precision image to realize the object dimensions.  Knowing the specific object dimensions allows for critical sorting and proper placement into a nearby holding tray.  A third and final vision system is mounted directly overhead of the engine block.  This camera was able to pinpoint specific holes in the block where the bolts should be inserted.  Upon completion of the process the block was nearly dumped completely upside down.  The bolts landed back into the original tray from where they were picked allowing the exhibit to begin a new cycle.


The robotics industry is experiencing a continued upward growth trend and it was a great opportunity for SVL to feature our capabilities in conjunction with a world class organization with specialty knowledge of Vision Guided Robotics.  As SVL continues to grow we are embracing new challenges, relationships, and opportunities.  We would like to thank FANUC America for their support and we can’t wait to see what they come up with for the next IMTS Event.

  ~ Casey Segraves, Business Development Manager – Smart Vision Lights

Innovative Illumination Summit Highlights Now Available

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 1.19.41 PM copyIf you missed Smart Vision Lights’ inaugural Innovative Illumination Summit in June (or even if you were there), we have a whole lot of material from the conference to share with you. We hope you will visit our Summit highlight page, where you’ll find facts about the Summit, video highlight clips from the many informative presentations, links to access presentations, and more.

Speaking of those presentations, all the presentations are available to anyone who attended the Summit in their unabridged format. And if you didn’t attend, but still thirst for technical knowledge about designing machine vision systems, you can get one presentation of your choice from the full line up so you can see what you missed. Just go to to find out more.

One last thing: We’re already planning our second Innovative Illumination Summit for next year. To receive details about the event as they become available, sign up at