VSP Optics // 5 questions with Don Oakley

In this Q&A the President of VSP Optics talks about his Modulo experience

VSP Optics, Folsom, was one of the first Modulo Line installations worldwide. We interviewed early adopter Don Oakley twice, at the inauguration of the line back in 2014 and 7 years later, to learn about his experience. Watch the video!


We were actually looking for something FAST: Flexible, adaptable, sophisticated technology. We did not want a system that was linear. [...] It felt like parallel processing to us instead of serial processing.

Don Oakley // President, VSP Optics

01 When you implemented Modulo a few years back...
What were the goals you wanted to achieve?

Don Oakley // When we first took the decision to utilize the Modulo technology back in 2014 we were actually looking for something FAST. But not like fast like speed. FAST the acronym. We were looking for something that was…

F – Flexible. We did not want a system that was linear. In the old days it was: Okay, we got a generator, we got polishers, we got finers. You need one of these, four of these. Here we go. We did not want that.

And the reason we did not want that sort of linearity out there is: it just is a duplication of what the industry had already.

So that level of flexibility was really really important to us. It felt like parallel processing to us instead of serial processing.

A – Adaptable. There’s something very unique about a VSP laboratory: It is that we have licenses with all the major manufacturers essentially in the entire US market.
And so instead of having a uniformity of what i s coming down the pipeline, we have multiple different products and there are nuances. This one wants this lens done this way. This one wants this kind of puck to be chosen. Different surfacing criteria.

That flexibility to be able to make any manufacturer’s product was one of the primary criteria that we had as well.

S & T – Sophisticated Technology. We sort of look to the future – the S and T part of it – are really sophisticated technology. With the Modulo setup, we got all three of those things.

That was what put it over the edge for us. And that’s why we went that way. And the rest is kind of history here.

02 What were the results?
Were there any big finds or reveals?

The transition to Modulo for us was an eye opener. The reality of it is, there a things you need to learn.

And we learned together. We sort of both grew up, after that induction period, and the reality of it is that once you cross that learning threshold, you really begin to figure out how to use this thing to its best performance.

Don Oakley // President, VSP Optics

03 VSP Tampa was upgraded recently. How did that go?

Don Oakley // The reason we upgraded the Tampa laboratory to Modulo was that it has become the East coast hub for the things that VSP does. And it actually is a relatively smaller physical space. We need to maximize the output of that facility.

So we made the decision to transition to this technology for that reason. I got to tell you that it is probably our most cost-effective laboratory in the network since the transition too. So we’ve gotten all that we expected out of that. That transition worked out really well for us.

04 Modulo has been compared to a metronome.
Do you agree with that comparison?

Don Oakley // I think that that is true, but I think you are underserving Modulo. It just doesn’t tick and tock, it thinks.

The beauty of the adaptability aspect of this thing is, there are selections being made all the time based on the current situation that is going on inside that ring.

I can remember, in my early days – and I’m an engineer by education and training so – I couldn’t resist hanging out in the lab when it first started up. I would sit there and watch incessantly at how it made decisions. And when it did, it didn’t make decisions that maybe I or somebody else might’ve made out there.

But the reality of it is, is it just doesn’t go tick tock. It goes tick. And if the next tock is not ready, it figures out where the tock is. The AI aspect of it really sort of amped it up. So I think that’s the difference.

Sure, it runs like a metronome. It is consistent and it is repeatable. But the reality is: it is a thinking metronome.

05 Looking five years ahead. What will the future of VSP look like?

I think that we're going to evolve obviously to this fast technology in all of our castles. There is no doubt about that. The Modulo unit itself seems to be the choice for any of our larger manufacturing operations.

Don Oakley // President, VSP Optics

More Success Stories

From CD to Solar and Lenses

BOD GROUP - The established corporation in the CD/DVD replication and solar sector, took the plunge into a new business market: Ophthalmics. Trusting in SCHNEIDER’s expertise, the group invested in Modulo technology.

Eastern European Power-Lab

SZATMÁR OPTIKAI KFT. - The growing demand in the Eastern European and UK target markets required for Szatmár Optikai Kft. to quickly increase its production capacities. The challenge: installing a new production line next to an existing line within a few weeks.

Small Family Business becomes Key Player

CR Surfacing - CR Surfacing produces world-class quality lenses. In Australia, for Australia. Looking for a new full solution partner for excellent machinery and sophisticated lens designs, CR surfacing decided to partner with SCHNEIDER in 2017.