Tour of Light & Motion in Monterey, CA

Since I’m already out here in California to see what this Sea Otter excitement is all about, I thought I would drop by our friends at Light & Motion – makers of great cycling lights, including their impressive commuting lineup. The Light & Motion headquarters (and factory, and design studio, and manufacturing facility, among other things) is located in a converted cannery warehouse in Monterey, CA – near the famous Cannery Row, and right on the ocean.

The first thing that you notice when you walk into their headquarters is the open layout – you can see almost all aspects of the operation, from engineering to assembly, in this one shot.

Here’s a shot of an assembly station (which is located down on the lower level of the previous wide-angle photo). The CAD printouts above each station show the steps in the assembly process, and the workers meticulously assemble each light from dozens of pieces to create, in this case, an Urban 300 LED Headlight.

Here’s a close-up view of an LED and the circuit board that controls the light, before they are assembled into the finished product.

The folks at Light & Motion are proud of the fact that almost everything that goes into their lights is manufactured right in their factory headquarters – in addition to being assembled there. One step in that process is this rapid prototyping machine, which lets them go from computer drawing to a physical object to test in moments.

Once the design is worked out, an automated milling machine is used to create aluminum molds for any of the myriad molded parts that are needed for the lights, from buttons to outer covers.

Here’s a shot of some of the finished molds:

The resin that is heated up to smoothly flow into the molds comes in the form of little pellets – but the key to the process is finding the right mixture of raw materials, as different plastics have different properties of elasticity that need to be balanced in the proper recipe (don’t worry, they’ve got people who know how to work that out).

While down in the machine shop area, we passed by the employee dive locker – I did mention that they are literally right on the ocean!

But having certified divers on their staff is actually good business, as half of the lights that Light & Motion builds are for underwater use, like this 4000 lumen monster (don’t turn this one on while staring at it!):

Of course there was also ample space allotted for employee bikes as well:

I want to thank the folks at Light & Motion for showing me around their factory headquarters – it was great to see a company that designs, manufactures and assembles such high quality products with pride right here in the US. 

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