Fiberoptics Industry Report

Fiberoptics Industry Report

Galileo becomes NetOptix, focuses on DWDM

At first a supplier of military night-vision goggles, then a commercial outfit struggling to market a variety of products ranging from scientific instrumentation to gynecological equipment, Galileo Corp. (Sturbridge, MA) is remolding itself yet again. Aided by its extensive experience in fiberoptic technology, the company is attempting to make a place for itself in the telecommunications industry as a maker of dense-wavelength-division-multiplexing (DWDM) components. The company has signified this shift in focus by changing its name to NetOptix Corp., effective September 30. One of Galileo's subsidiaries, Optical Filter Corp. (Natick, MA), has already received a DWDM-related purchase order for $5.2 million.

Lucent invests in component-maker Horizon Photonics

The Microelectronics Group of Lucent Technologies (Murray Hill, NJ) has invested an undisclosed sum in Horizon Photonics (Walnut, CA). The investment gives Lucent access to Horizon's automated processes for manufacturing passive optical components. Passive components, such as lenses, isolators, collimators, and optical attenuators--in great demand for high-bandwidth optical networking--are often assembled manually. But Horizon has developed a design that allows micro-optics to be mounted in small, transferable fixtures with flexibility for further processing. Horizon is in the process of expanding its facilities and manufacturing capacity. Lucent, which last year finished a multimillion-dollar expansion of its automated laser-packaging facility in Breinigsville, PA, plans to spend another $30 million to increase its production capacity by the first quarter of 2000.

Polycore Technologies acquired by OEM-supplier Methode Electronics

Methode Electronics (Chicago, IL) has acquired Polycore Technologies Inc. (Melbourne, FL) and renamed the business Methode Communication Modules. The company makes miniaturized optical transceivers for networking applications involving multimode glass optical fiber. The transceivers allow a doubling of fiberoptic port density for a typical local-area network hub, switch, or router. The business unit will remain in Florida. Methode Electronics, a manufacturer of component devices for OEMs, employs 4000 people in 12 plants worldwide.

Laser Technology buys fiber sensor system

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Some assets, technology, and patent rights from Multiwave Sensors (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) have been purchased by Laser Technology (Englewood, CO). Multiwave Sensors has designed a sensor that marries fiberoptics to Laser Technology's laser rangefinding equipment. Laser Technology hopes to use the Multiwave patent to target new industrial markets, starting with a fiber-coupled device to measure liquid levels in storage tanks. The company, founded in 1985, has opened a subsidiary in Canada to develop an industrial product line.

Spurred by demand for new products, Santec Corp. (Komaki, Japan) has established Santec Photonic Research Laboratories to run research and development activities. The new company, capitalized with approximately $400,000, will be housed in a new building at Santec's Komaki site, which will also provide more space for the optical-components division. The new space will be used for thin-film coating equipment and component assembly and test facilities. The optical-components division has grown rapidly over the past two years, driven by rising demand for DWDM components.

Also in the news . . .

In its quest for larger research-and-development facilities and more production capacity for DWDM components, ProtoDel International (Hackbridge, Surrey, England) has moved its operations to larger quarters. . . . E-Tek Dynamics (San Jose, CA) has moved all of its unit ElectroPhotonics Solutions into a single building in Markham, Ontario, Canada. . . . NEC Electronics (Santa Clara, CA) will transfer all responsibility for sales, marketing, technical support, and distribution of its fiberoptic components in North America to California Eastern Labs (Santa Clara, CA), replacing a network of distributors.

W. Conard Holton

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