Collaborative innovation reaps rewards for ficonTEC

Dec. 13, 2021
ficonTEC CEO Torsten Vahrenkamp recognized by the European Photonics Industry Consortium.

The European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC) has recognized Torsten Vahrenkamp, CEO and co-founder of ficonTEC, as the recipient of the EPIC CEO Award 2021. Vahrenkamp co-founded the company with CFO Matthias Trinker.

With a workforce of 200, and operations in China, Thailand, US, Estonia and Germany, ficonTEC has become a global leader for advanced automation production systems for the assembly and test of optoelectronic and photonic integrated circuit (PIC) devices. ficonTEC has an install of roughly 1000 systems serving integrated photonics applications in telecom and datacom sectors, for 5G infrastructure, in 3D sensing for smartphone, automotive and aerospace applications, and high-power diode laser assembly.

According to EPIC CTO, Jose Pozo, the selection of ficonTEC has a lot to do with the company’s willingness to embrace “collaborative innovation,” with some of its recent collaborations occurring within photonic device integration and for wafer-level testing of PICs.

Pozo presented the award as part of a video interview (shown above), which includes discussions around the ficonTEC’s journey including its ongoing internal and externally collaborative R&D initiatives as well as its current foray into LiDAR.

"If you look into the details of what Lidar is about, it's exactly what we do for the other markets. To build a LiDAR machine, a high-power laser machine or telecommunication machine...it's the same," says Vahrenkamp. "It's a different market with different customers you have to adapt to, but for us was obvious that it fits our market. Today, we are proud to already have the biggest LiDAR companies or future LiDAR companies as part of our customer portfolio."

LiDAR is still in the phase where companies like ficonTEC are enabling technology.  "Going forward...you need to be ready to have a certain pricepoint either to have the speed or low price for the machine," Vahrenkamp tells Pozo. "I think it's another two to three years out."

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Market Leader/Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military

Peter Fretty began his role as the Market Leader, Laser & Military in June 2023; the group encompasses the Laser Focus World, Military & Aerospace Electronics, and Vision Systems Design brands. He also serves as Group Editorial Director, Laser & Military (effective spring 2023) and served as Editor in Chief of Laser Focus World since October 2021. Prior to that, he was Technology Editor for IndustryWeek for two years.

As a highly experienced journalist, he has regularly covered advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.

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