The SPIE Organization Trade Show Recap


The SPIE Organization (Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers) is a very prominent organization in the Photonics Industry. KRI is a Corporate Sponsor for SPIE and attends as well as exhibits at several SPIE Conferences throughout the year. The SPIE Optics and Photonics Conference and Exhibit in mid-summer is always a good show for KRI and for the Optics and Photonics industry in general. The 2023 SPIE Optics and Photonics Conference was in San Diego CA from August 20th through August 22nd. The exhibit portion of the show which I (Ray Arent) excitedly represented KRI at, ran for three days from August 22nd through August 24th. Many end users of KRI equipment attend and also exhibit at this show. Names you may recognize as KRI’s end-user customers also exhibiting at the show include Andover Corp., Chroma Technology, LaCroix Precision Optics, NTFL, Optimax Systems, OptoSigma Corp., Perkin Elmer Inc., SALVO Technologies, SCHOTT N.A., and Teledyne to name a few.

This year’s show got off to a rocky start with the development of Hurricane Hilary in the Pacific Ocean. The 3-Day cone forecast had Hilary hitting San Diego pretty much head-on the day before the exhibition was set to begin. There were a multitude of warnings regarding potential cancellations, delays, or changes to scheduled events related to the show and travel to the show right up to the day the conference began. As it turned out, Hilary caught the coast of Mexico just before moving on north and quickly dissipated to a Tropical Storm before reaching California and the San Diego area. There was still a significant amount of rain and localized flooding but very little damage to buildings and the utility infrastructure. The biggest impact to the SPIE Conference was a last minute change to the exhibit hall location and several international companies scheduled to exhibit at the show unable to arrive in time due to travel disruptions. The city of San Diego designated part of the Convention Center as an emergency relief facility forcing the SPIE Exhibit to move elsewhere in the Convention Center. There were some slight alterations to the booth locations and a mirrored layout of the exhibit in general, but the impact was very minor. I am sure there was a lot of work that went on behind the scenes to pull all that off in such short notice. On the exhibit floor, it was notable that about 6-8 international companies scheduled to exhibit were unable to arrive in time to set-up their booths. All-in-all, for how things could have turned out, the show was still a great success. Aside from a drop in international attendance, for obvious reasons, the show attendance the first two days was very good. As is typical at most shows, day one was the busiest in both overall attendance and KRI booth traffic. Booth traffic on day two tapered off a bit but the quality and relevance of the conversations was high. Day three was fairly quiet. Very encouraging to see the post-COVID rebound in show attendance as this is a good indicator that money is being spent in the industry.

Over the two and a half days of the exhibition, I was able to chat with several of our end users and a couple of our key OEM’s either exhibiting at the show or just walking the show to meet with their customers (our end users). Mr. Phil Hatchet from Buhler Leybold Optics US spent quite a bit of time at the KRI booth even having meetings with his customer at our booth to have quick reference to KRI equipment and knowledge. Phil has a tremendous amount of sales experience in the Optics/Photonics industry and an exceptional understanding and insight to the companies and key contacts throughout the US. He is a KRI advocate and a great resource to have on our side.

In addition to meeting with companies and contacts we already know, I captured 12 new "Leads" at the show. Some of these leads were from familiar companies but new contacts within the organization. Lawrence Livermore National Lab, US Air Force Research Lab, NASA, Univ. of Maryland, and Omega Optical to name a few. I had a very fun and interesting conversation with Mr. Andrew Rakich from Kiwistar Optics out of New Zealand. He is interested in Ion Beam Figuring of optical mirrors and was directed by some colleagues to come talk to KRI.

It has become a very successful marketing tactic for KRI to hand out the "Applications...." (Blue Book) and "Operations....." (Gray Book) books at the tradeshows. The word is getting around within the industry and we have people come to the booth requesting the books. Not only is that helping get people to the booth, it is also putting a useful tool with the KRI name on it in front of them every time they use the book during their daily job. Much better than a company logo on one of a hundred pens or a trinket that ends up in the kids toy box back home that you can pick up at these shows.

Next up on the show agenda for KRI is SPIE OPTIFAB in Rochester NY from October 17th through the 19th which Mr. Hansen and Mr. Cunningham will be representing KRI. Next show up on my schedule is the MRS (Materials Research Society) Fall Conference and Exhibit in Boston the week following Thanksgiving. Let’s hope mother nature cooperates this time and doesn’t throw a Nor’easter at me!

KRI will be at these upcoming trade shows - join us!


We will have products, literature, and a dedicated team that’s looking forward to meeting with you. We’ll see you at the KRI booth!


SPIE Optifab 2023

Rochester, NY  |  October 16-19, 2023  |  Booth #307

SPIE Optifab is the premier event to meet with top companies and learn about the latest optical fabrication technologies. Organized jointly by SPIE and APOMA, Optifab is the largest optical manufacturing conference and exhibition held in North America.

Read more about the event here.

2023 MRS Fall Meeting

Boston, MA  |  November 26 to December 1, 2023  |  Booth #610

MRS is celebrating 50 years! The world's foremost international scientific gathering for materials research, the MRS Fall Meeting showcases leading interdisciplinary research in both fundamental and applied areas presented by scientists from around the world.

Read more about the event here. 

SPIE Photonics West

San Francisco, CA  |  January 27 to February 1, 2024  |  Booth #156

SPIE Photonics West is the world’s largest photonics technologies event. Attendees share research in biomedical optics, biophotonics, industrial lasers, optoelectronics, microfabrication, MOEMS-MEMS, displays, quantum technologies—including quantum 2.0—and other similar topics with a focused, engaged audience.

Read more about the event here.

SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing

National Harbor, MD |  April 21-25, 2024  |  Booth #1205

We look forward to gathering 21-25 April 2024 in National Harbor, Maryland, for SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing, the most important event for learning about sensing technologies being rapidly acquired and deployed within public, security, and government applications. The 2024 program—40 conferences and 20 courses—is now online, and we encourage researchers and engineers to come hear the latest advancements in sensors, infrared, laser systems, spectral imaging, radar, lidar, autonomous systems, and other findings with the community.

Read more about this event here.

SVC TechCon 2024

Chicago, IL  |  May 6-9, 2024  |  Booth #118

The 2024 SVC TechCon focuses on the essential role that Thin Films, Coatings, and Surface Engineering play in the products and services that drive our daily lives. The SVC represents the latest technologies, manufacturing methodologies, and business insights, supporting a global group of stakeholders. Highlighted by prominent Keynote presentations and invited speakers, the TechCon offers an engaging podium for contributed talks and posters as well as roundtable discussions and other interactive features on a variety of themes.

Read more about this event here.

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P-Tech Students Tour KRI


KRI hosted the inaugural class of P-Tech (a national initiative promoting careers in skilled trade) students from Poudre High School. Students learned the role ion sources play in shaping the future of technology, what education and experience is needed for a career in this field and toured the facility to see how ion sources are assembled.

For the students, the highlight was seeing a working ion source complete with an arcing ion beam. For niche industries like ion sources, educating the youth to the array of careers in this field will only bolster the advances in ion technology as young people learn how dynamic and exciting these careers can be. For KRI, the highlight was watching employees young and old, from all walks of life, relate to the next generation of workers over a mutual love of science and technology.

For all the young people who dreamed of going to space when they were little, learning the ion source’s history originated with space propulsion only furthered their excitement about the types of careers possible in this field. 

It’s easy to forget that many of the jobs our young people will hold haven’t even been invented yet, as it wasn’t even 20 years that an app developer or lyft driver wasn’t a job, so reminding students, teachers, and existing workers that dreaming of the impossible is what moves progress forward was the true benefit of the tour. 

Dr. Harold Kaufman - Trailblazer of Ion Propulsion

Dr. Harold Kaufman, Ion SourcesKaufman & Robinson, Inc. is very proud to announce that their founder, Dr. Harold Kaufman, has recently been inducted into the NASA Glenn Research Center Hall of Fame. This honorable distinction was established by the research center to “honor and recognize those who have built exemplary careers and contributed to (the) center’s success”. You can read more about Dr. Kaufman’s amazing contributions to the field and his distinguished career here: