Laser Industry Report

Synova establishes subsidiary in Japan

To strengthen its presence within Asia, Synova (Lausanne, Switzerland) announced the opening of Synova Japan. The wholly owned subsidiary will provide localized sales and support for the company’s laser systems, which span the semiconductor, electronic, tooling, medical, automotive, and energy industries.

Accounting for more than 40% of Synova’s revenue in 2004, the Asia-­Pacific region has emerged as the company’s largest market, with the majority of demand being fueled by the semiconductor and electronics sectors. The establishment of the Japan office complements the company’s strategic investments over the last year to expand its presence in this burgeoning region.

Synova’s proprietary water-jet-guided laser technology combines the advantages of a laser and water jet for a wide variety of high-precision materials processing, including cutting, drilling, slotting, grooving, scribing, marking, and grinding, among others.

Newport to sell robotic systems operations

Newport (Irvine, CA) plans to divest its robotic systems operations, located in Richmond, Calif. and serving the front-end semiconductor equipment industry, as they are not profitable and are no longer core to Newport’s overall strategy, according to the company.

“Following our acquisition of Spectra-Physics last July, we conducted a strategic review of all of our businesses,” says Robert Deuster, Newport’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The robotic systems operations represented less than 5% of Newport’s total net sales and less than 17% of Newport’s sales to the semiconductor capital equipment market in the second half of 2004. We have concluded that these operations are no longer core to our strategy of being a global resource for customers who need to make, manage, or measure light, and would be a better fit for a company with greater focus and scale in robotics.”

Ferranti Photonics goes into liquidation

­Ferranti Photonics (Dundee, Scotland)-a 35-year veteran of the laser and optoelectronics industry-has ­reportedly gone under. In the April 13 edition of the Scottish newspaper “The Herald,” liquidator Deloitte blamed the company’s collapse on the loss of a single-bid contract. In addition, the high value of the pound and a manufacturing downturn had severely weakened the company and left directors with “no alternative” but to put the company into liquidation.

Ferranti Photonics has operated continuously since 1970, specializing in the design, manufacture, and supply of CO2 lasers and laser systems for applications primarily in industry, but also in defense and R&D.

In 2002, Ferranti Photonics formed a joint-venture company, PhotoSynergy, with the University of St. Andrews (St. Andrews, Scotland). PhotoSynergy was set up to commercialize diode-pumped solid-state technology developed at the University. It is believed that PhotoSynergy will continue to operate despite Ferranti’s demise.

ITRI introduces blue-laser DVD pick-up head

The Opto-Electronics & Systems Laboratories (OES) of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI; Taipei, Taiwan) have introduced Taiwan’s first self-developed blue-laser DVD pick-up head. The blue-laser DVD pick-up head conforms to the HD-DVD standard, the next-generation blue-laser DVD format developed by Toshiba and NEC, and initially will be used in read-only DVD drives, according to OES deputy director, Der-ray Huang.

Also in the news . . .

NP Photonics (Tucson, AZ), manufacturer of single-frequency fiber lasers, ASE sources, and interrogators for sensing, security, and general research purposes, has signed a distributor agreement with Ammo Engineering E.O. Ltd. in Israel.... nLight (Vancouver, WA) named Laser Lines (Industrial & Medical; Banbury, England) its exclusive distributor for the United Kingdom. Laser Lines will be responsible for sales and service of nLight’s continuous-wave and quasi-continuous-wave high-power visible and near-infrared diode laser product line. . . . Phoseon Technology (Beaverton, OR), a designer and manufacturer of high-powered light sources for industrial processes, announced the completion of its $6.4 million series B financing round. . . . Noble Venture Finance, part of Noble Group, has provided a £2.5 million (US $4.8 million) finance facility to support Intense’s (Blantyre, Scotland) continued growth in laser modules and optoelectronic integration solutions. . . . Correction: In the May Laser Industry Report we reported an incorrect amount for a contract won by Aculight (Bothell, WA) under the Small Business Innovation Research program from NASA to develop a fiber-laser system for space-based UV-Raman spectrometers. The correct amount of the contract is $75,000. We regret the error.

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