Vu1 Update

As promised in our last blog, I am providing you today with the latest update on the happenings at Vu1.

This morning I spoke with our engineers in China and we now are comfortable saying we will ship Vu1 R30 bulbs for delivery to our channel partners this month. Should anything change, we will notify everyone immediately.

With this latest run, we implemented minor tweaks based on constructive feedback. The Vu1 bulbs being produced are working optimally.

William B Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Let Production Begin!

We take great pleasure in announcing our team has now confirmed receipt of and inventoried our components, allowing us to commence production of the Vu1 R30 lamp next week. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Cameron and Stanley who have kept processes moving along smoothly and successfully.

With our manufacturing procedures now solidly in place, we look forward to delivering our quality product to the U.S. in April. I’d like to take this time to once again express a warm thank you to our shareholders, channel partners and future customers for their patience and continued support.

We will be updating you again soon and look forward to providing our “Light Without Compromise” in the near future.

William B Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Innovation On Display

LIGHTFAIR International wrapped up today and, as always, the lighting industry dazzled with everything from the simple lamp to over-the-top illuminating displays. Vu1 was in attendance and happy to see so many old and new faces drop by our booth. Though I was unable to attend, our sales and marketing team reported back on the happenings.

Our team displayed Chinese-made Vu1 ESL R30 incandescent replacement bulbs and they were very excited about the interest they received about our new technology. The question on everyone’s mind, of course, was when the product would be on the market.

Back in China, as you are aware, we continue to wait for delivery of a new piece of equipment that is needed to complete our production line. There will be three to five days of training time and then we will be able to better determine yields, allowing us to share our production schedule.

We hope that being able to experience the R30 and see its light quality at LIGHTFAIR amplified your excitement for our upcoming launch.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Seeing is Believing

In ESL technology, light is created in a very different way than with incandescent lighting. With an incandescent bulb, a central filament gives off light. With ESL, phosphor is painted on the interior of the bulb. An electron fountain sprays electrons onto the phosphor and the stimulated phosphor creates light. This light emits a full spectrum of colors, which illuminate evenly on the surface below.

Because the whole interior surface of the ESL bulb is creating light, the production process of this portion of the bulb is critical. Everything is moving along smoothly in Huayi, so we took an opportunity to take some amateur video and share some of our production efforts.

The video begins with a few seconds of the lacquer rinsing process, which removes excess lacquer residue after it has been softened using an aromatic solvent. The remainder of the video shows two of the lacquer spraying stations. The glass is being sprayed with short bursts of lacquer, which spreads the lacquer out over the surface by centrifugal force. We are working on perfecting this process since the lacquer is a critical component that gives the ESL lamp its uniform illumination. The lacquer is one of the final steps needed prior to securing the bulbs to the sleeves, posts and bases.

Enjoy the video. We will be reporting in again next Thursday.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Team Returns for Pilot Run

I am pleased to finally write; the team in China has begun the initial pilot run of bulbs – connecting circuits, putting on sleeves, posts and bases. We are testing all bulbs for brightness, checking the input power; color and initial turn on to assure there are no issues.

After a successful pilot run, we will make any necessary adjustments and begin production. That’s right, we are very close. We will also begin planning for an April/May full production and commence inputting our long-term production schedule.

Production is just one part of our mission: Delivering a high-value product means we must have impeccable quality, every time. So, Cameron is focusing on implementing our production quality assurance program and has begun collecting data. The QA group finalized test instructions for main board 15KV trimming, power input trimming, over scan trimming and reference lamp inspection. We are also training the permanent team in China on how to test the boards and safeguard VU1’s quality. Just to repeat, this team represents Vu1, not our manufacturing partners or their sub contractors. Stanley and the team have been split up for most of the trip thus far and tackling different issues at different facilities; we expect everyone to join forces again at the end of this week and begin working together in Huayi again next week.

We are excited about our progress so far, everyone is working diligently to get light bulbs on the shelf.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Vu1 Packaging Evolution

One of many key differences between the Vu1 ESL and other energy efficient bulbs on the market is its resemblance to incandescent lightbulbs — no strange squiggles, arrays or fins like those found in CFL or LED bulbs. It’s also critical to us that when the bulbs are shipped to stores and consumers, they are afforded the best protection from damage during the shipping process.

With this in mind, Vu1 has updated its packaging — creating a new “clamshell” container which will provide not only detailed information and protection, but also a very clear view of the enclosed bulb and its pleasing aesthetics. The new package, made of molded plastic, is contoured around the bulb to ensure it is securely seated and not subjected to vibrations or other potential dangers. The displayed product information, as with our previous packaging concept, will allow consumers to quickly measure the Vu1 against other lighting alternatives and understand its benefits.

We have provided here three images of the new package. We are excited about this step as we move ever closer to the launch of our Vu1 ESL in the U.S. marketplace.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Vu1 Manufacturing Update – November 20, 2012

I have just spoken with our engineers in China and wanted to share this update regarding our bulb manufacturing process. I can assure you that no one is more eager than myself to have our bulbs launched and on sale here in the U.S.

Candidly, we are still engaged in essential testing on critical components. This is an important quality control step that must be completed before we can begin to ship bulbs to America. We simply cannot afford to send out bulbs that have not been rigorously tested.

Huayi Lighting, our manufacturing partner, has all components on hand to assemble enough bulbs to satisfy our initial purchase order. Once testing is completed successfully, final assembly will take place and shipping will commence via air.

I am continuing to work with multiple interested parties on securing additional financing. The company is examining multiple scenarios and wants to ensure that our financing deals are as favorable to shareholders as possible. As a side note, we have reduced our burn rate significantly.

Finally, we have secured three new patents this year, making a total of seven awarded patents and four pending for our proprietary ESL technology and related processes. Our IP protection remains very robust.

I expect that my next communication will be a precise shipping date.

Thank you for your patience and interest in Vu1.

View the patent

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

Manufacturing Update

I wanted to provide a brief update since we last reported to you about manufacturing in China. First, some very good news: it appears that we will be ready to ship our first 40,000-bulb order shortly.   While this process is very frustrating, we continue to make tremendous gains and there is certainly a renewed resolve from our manufacturing partners.

As you can see in the manufacturing related pictures, we are in the advanced and final stages of manufacturing as we prepare to take the necessary logistical steps to prepare for shipping.

In these photos, you are looking at pictures of the assembly, highlighting the PCB boards which are critical to the bulb’s functionality; and the electron guns which excite the phosphor at the surface of our bulb, generating the warm, pleasing glow that is the hallmark of the Vu1 R30. In the third photo are boxes filled with glass jugs awaiting assembly.

We know you have eagerly awaited information on Vu1 – as you can see, we have been singularly focused on ensuring the quality of our manufacturing efforts and getting our product ready for market as quickly as possible.

We will continue to update you as these bulbs move from manufacture to shipment and then ultimately to retail sale.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation

      

Light-Source Symposium Update

I recently attended the 13th International Light-Source Symposium (LS13), held in Troy, NY in late June.  This is THE scientific conference on lighting sources (lamps) and is held every other year. This year, it was hosted by Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (RPI) Lighting Research Center (LRC), and held at the RPI campus.  In recent years, this conference has focused heavily on LED and OLED — so-called “SSL” — sources with only a minimal amount of discussion centered on fluorescent, HID, halogen, and other light sources.
The chief technology officers of several important lighting companies (Osram, Philips, GE, Cree, Panasonic, and Toshiba) all spoke on the first day, and, surprisingly, I observed none of the hyperbole or excessive optimism about LED and SSL we’ve experienced in recent years. 

In an ensuing panel discussion, one question from the audience was, “Can you list and prioritize the technical challenges with SSL, and can you tell us what the key issue to solve is?”

Without hesitation or disagreement, they listed cost, thermal management, reliability, color quality, electronics, and form factor.  Two of the CTOs agreed that the top two are extremely serious, and necessary to solve before SSL can make significant inroads into the residential lighting markets.  They all agreed that SSL is only relevant at the present for decorative and specialty lighting, especially backlighting. They also agreed that they feel major improvements may come about (ranging in opinion of 1 to 10 years.)

The Vu1 ESL light bulb was presented in a “Landmark Lecture,” and as a result, became the talk of the conference. The LRC hosts provided a fixture with a triac dimmer switch, and it was quite clear that the lamp delivers on the claims: it looks just like what it replaces, it works smoothly with the dimmer switch without flickering, and it turns on and off instantly.

From the conclusion of the Vu1 lecture, until the end of the five-day conference, there were no naysayers.  Essentially everybody wanted to see the bulb up close, and everyone asked for samples of the bulb as well. I saw at least 200 mobile-phone cameras pop out and snap pictures of the lamp – easily, the most-photographed item at LS13.  I hope if someone else who was there took a picture, they’ll post it for everyone.  It was clearly understood that the Vu1 R-30 (and the coming other configurations) provide a product which is lacking right now in both CFL and LED platforms.  This is the first energy-efficient, sustainable technology to come along which looks good and is reasonably priced.
With regard to other conference highlights, the consensus is that OLED technology is far too dim, unreliable and too expensive for products at this time; but some years in the future, there should be a crossover in “cost per lumen” which could help them emerge as residential products.

The LED “Blue Light Hazard” is no longer viewed as unsubstantiated fodder for emotional hysteria: all of the LED community is now acceding to the existence of problems with circadian rhythms, melatonin and other hormone production, macular degeneration, disrupted sleep cycles, and other issues, as a result of exposure to LEDs – the potential to be a major worldwide issue.

Finally, there were presentations which demonstrated that UV LEDs, which can be used as pumps for LED light sources, are making improvements; but they are still years away from being on the market.  For residential use, the VU1 ESL lamp is the only thing anybody is offering which looks good and is affordable.

Dr. Charles Hunt
Director
Vu1 Corporation

Vu1 Update

I would like to welcome Greg Owens back to Vu1 as our Chief Operating Officer. Greg was instrumental in helping the Vu1 Board and the company restructure as a member of the board of directors. He had volunteered to step aside to make room for independent directors in the fourth quarter of 2011; but his guidance was always appreciated, and we are honored to have Owens in the COO role. At present, I do not see any other management additions or changes until Vu1 is successfully shipping R30s to the United States.

I would also like to make everyone aware that I have asked the board to change my compensation structure to equity, and I expect this to be approved and in effect shortly. I believe this further aligns the interest of SAM with those of all shareholders.

I would also like to reiterate what I have said previously: No one is more disappointed in the operational performance of the past and resulting product delays than the largest shareholder — me. The company is now my responsibility, and, as of today, we believe that the stated goals that I have recently communicated remain achievable. Should anything change, I will immediately communicate this to our shareholders and retail partners.

I will also say that during my recent discussions with institutional and individual shareholders, I have agreed that most — if not all – of the criticism has been warranted and there is no excuse. This must change if we are to earn back the confidence of our shareholders and there is only one way to do this, by executing a proper business plan and delivering on stated goals.

I would also like to apologize for the delayed posting of Charles Hunt’s conference review. I did not realize that Charles left for family vacation right after the conference — he returned Friday evening and we should have his comments posted shortly.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that we continue to take steps to protect our proprietary ESL technology – we were awarded an additional patent recently for “System and Apparatus for Cathodoluminescent Lighting,” which essentially defines how our lighting output is generated. Needless to say our patent portfolio is extremely important.

William B. Smith
Chairman and CEO
Vu1 Corporation