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Video: Heroes of American Manufacturing – BrightView Technologies

BrightView Technologies

A new video in the Heroes of American Manufacturing series features BrightView Technologies, a Durham, North Carolina, manufacturer. What makes BrightView a hero? During the COVID-19 pandemic, it pivoted to making personal protective equipment (PPE) and gave its workforce as safe an environment to work in as possible. Now, after returning to more normal operations, BrightView offers high tech careers in an exciting, cutting-edge field.

BrightView specializes in custom-engineered optics, which it calls “visual intelligence” (VI). It uses a unique photolithography process to print micro lens arrays (MLAs) onto substrates. Its MLAs are components in a range of consumer electronics, automotive, 3D sensing, lighting and robotics applications.

Pivoting to provide PPE

Early in the pandemic, BrightView was hit hard as things closed in Asia, where many of its customers are located. But with the help of the North Carolina MEP (NCMEP), it stayed open by switching its production to critically needed PPE such as face shields. BrightView had most of the materials it needed for face shields already on hand. It created kits of raw materials that workers assembled at home, keeping them employed safely during the pandemic.

While BrightView had the capability to make PPE, it didn’t have connections with organizations that needed it. Already an NCMEP client, BrightView knew who to call. During the pandemic, NCMEP helped manufacturers including BrightView connect with new supply chains for materials they needed to make PPE, and then matched them with hospital groups and state agencies in need of the equipment.

Heroes of American Manufacturing: BrightView Technologies
Heroes of American Manufacturing: BrightView Technologies

Manufacturing in the US to contribute to supply chains around the world

BrightView is now back to manufacturing MLAs, and it’s in a unique position of manufacturing and exporting components that go into devices people use every day. It’s putting products into the supply chain in other parts of the world. This company is an example of how to cost-effectively manufacture in the U.S. and export around the globe.

As artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are exploding, the MLA components that BrightView makes are in high demand. It’s now investing in clean rooms that will enable it to grow and enter new markets. BrightView CEO Jennifer Aspell said, “We are a group of very engaged, passionate employees that really believe in the power of MLAs and what VI is going to do. To be at the forefront of something that’s going to have a meaningful change to how people live their lives – it’s very exciting!”

Heroes of American Manufacturing Video Series

The Heroes of American Manufacturing video series purpose is to capture the hearts and minds of the public and celebrate the small and medium-sized manufacturers succeeding in the U.S. with the help of their local MEP Centers. We want to shine a spotlight on what’s happening in plants across the country, the leaders and workers who are making things that improve our daily life, the jobs and contributions these manufacturers provide their communities and the nation’s economy. Heroes videos also showcase the relationship between the MEP Center and its manufacturing client – helping to tell the story of the MEP National Network™, a unique public-private partnership that includes MEP Centers in every state and Puerto Rico. With over 1,400 trusted advisors and experts at approximately 450 MEP service locations, the Network can provide any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources it needs to succeed. The MEP National Network can help your company become a hero of American manufacturing!

About the author

Katie Rapp

Katie Rapp is a writer/editor for NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership where she helps NIST MEP staff use plain language so their readers can understand what they write the first time they read it. Before that, she was a librarian at the NIST Research Library where she learned and wrote about many cool NIST history stories.

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