KEENE, NH--Janos Technology, founded 35 years ago and producing precision optics and assemblies ever since, has spent most of that time going it alone. But the company’s purchase last year by Fluke Corporation (Everett, WA) has given Janos the financial security of a larger company. In addition, Fluke is in turn owned by Danaher (Washington, DC), a large manufacturer of diverse industrial and consumer products; Danaher is famous for its development and longtime implementation of the “Danaher Business System,” which is a “lean-manufacturing” philosophy similar to that pioneered by Toyota. So that philosophy, which has permeated Fluke, will become part of Janos, too. In the words of Harvey Clough, president of Janos, it “will drive efficiency and quality, keeping us cost-competitive in the challenging times to come.”
Fluke is well-known for its handheld test and measurement products, including handheld infrared (IR) imagers, some of which fuse IR data with visible data to make the IR image data easier for the user to understand. Janos is now part of Fluke’s Thermal Imaging division; this will provide Janos with intimate knowledge of the technology roadmap and product lifetimes for Janos/Fluke thermal-imaging products, says Clough. “It also gives us insight into cutting-edge detector technology,” he adds.
More then 95% of Janos’ business is in the IR, according to Clough. The company works mainly in the 1 to 14 Ìm range, providing lens assemblies, aspheric mirrors, and many other optical shapes, both reflective and refractive for applications like aerospace, defense and security (night-vision systems), fire detection, thermal imaging, and others. But designing and building multispectral systems has meant that Janos is working in the visible as well, and even in the UV, driving the company to develop relationships with companies focusing on these wavelength ranges.
At one time, the Janos catalog was one of the several optical-components catalogs often seen on the desks of optical engineers; now, as is the trend, Janos sells its stock items online. But a major part of the company’s business is in custom optics, which has been the driving force behind a buildup of equipment and expertise in response to the push for in-house design of fixturing and tooling, ultraprecision finishing and system correction, and deposition of the densest coatings possible (which in addition to a variety of metal and multilayer dielectrics includes diamondlike carbon). Janos’ optical engineers are familiar with the design of nonrotationally symmetric aspheres, which can then be fabricated with the company’s three-axis diamond-turning equipment.
Working with QED
Along with Talysurf and Surfcom surface and contour profilers for aspheric lends measurements, Janos has an SSI-A (subaperture-stitching interferometer for aspheres), which was developed by QED Technologies (Rochester, NY). In fact, the two companies have formed a close working relationship, based partly on the SSI-A and partly on QED’s magnetorheological-finishing (MRF) equipment that Janos has made part of its asphere fabrication capability. “We work with QED in testing out new equipment and processes, especially with novel materials, and they work with us on pushing their technology to new limits for various applications,” says Clough. “One big push at Janos is utilizing MRF in high-volume applications. We are able to design the MRF capability into our products and processes to yield high-quality, high-volume, yet competitively priced assemblies.”
While the economic downturn has not been good to U.S. manufacturing in general, even driving manufacturing giant Danaher to lay off a small fraction of its employees in December of last year, the effect on the optics industry has been more erratic, due to the variety of areas it serves. Infrared optics is a bright spot due to the demand by the military. In addition, the drive toward energy efficiency and the need for IR handheld imagers, which are an effective way to find wasteful energy leaks in buildings and manufacturing equipment, will serve both Janos and Fluke well.