ITW Photonics Group leverages trio of strengths

GLENVIEW, IL--“With the recent acquisition of Opto Diode in late 2008, we now have the ability to span the wavelength spectrum,” said Cary Moreth, who on August 12 was appointed VP and general manager for ITW Photonics Group.

GLENVIEW, IL--“With the recent acquisition of Opto Diode in late 2008, we now have the ability to span the wavelength spectrum,” said Cary Moreth, who on August 12 was appointed VP and general manager for ITW Photonics Group. The group is a new business unit of Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW), a diversified components manufacturer with annual revenue of $15.8 billion, and more than 850 business units in 54 countries.

Over the past five years, ITW has purchased two photonics companies in addition to Opto Diode: Lumex in 2004, Cal Sensors in 2007. “As we continue to assess market needs and opportunities, it is increasingly obvious that this group of businesses have tremendous synergies that can bring value to the many markets we serve,” Moreth told Optoelectronics Report. “As we formally reviewed our technological offerings, it became abundantly clear that collaboration formalized by a group would enhance the overall capabilities of each of the member companies.”

A pioneer in optoelectronics, Lumex (Palatine, IL) claims to offer the broadest range of high-efficiency, high-performance LEDs and LCDs in the industry and has a focus on semi-custom and custom designs. Cal Sensors (Santa Rosa, CA) designs and manufacturers standard and customized lead-selenide and lead-sulfide infrared detectors, emitters, and arrays. Opto Diode (Newbury Park, CA) specializes in the manufacture of LEDs, IRLEDs, LED arrays, silicon photodiodes, gallium aluminum arsenide photodiodes and optoelectronic assemblies.

Moreth explained that ITW’s long-standing business model allows and encourages individual businesses to operate independently. “Each of the businesses will continue to operate in many ways as they have done in the past,” he said. “However, internally, we will be actively collaborating between our businesses in an effort to bring the most efficient, cost-effective and feature-enriched designs to our customers’ engineering teams. We have structured the ITW Photonics Group to be a single destination for industry design engineers to come for all their photonic product needs regardless of wavelength.”

Two recent ITW projects combined technologies from all three companies. For instance, an anesthesiology design included an emitter and detector from Cal Sensors for gas analysis, an LCD display from Lumex, and LED indicators and an electro-optical assembly from Opto-Diode.

Illinois Tool Works has projected that the new group will register double-digit growth through 2015. “The Group’s commitment to internal growth through technology development is significant,” Moreth said. “Specifically, in addition to standard product development, we will also create integrated solutions that incorporate diverse technologies-- LEDs, LCDS, emitters and detectors-- so that design engineers can rely on the ITW Photonics Group as an extension of their own team. He added that beyond these R&D efforts, the group “will be aggressively targeting acquisitions of companies that have unique technologies or market positions that could further make the ITW Photonics Group the primary resource and partner for design engineers.”

ITW Photonics Group will serve a number of markets including communications, general lighting, industrial controls, test and measurement, and security. But Moreth said the new unit will place particular emphasis on medical, military/aerospace, and industrial controls. “In terms of medical devices, we are currently focused on both gas and fluid analysis tools with user interfaces,” he said. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide feature-rich, engineered solutions that integrate the expertise of all three companies.”

--Barbara Goode

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