The photonics industry in NH is alive and well. There are some companies that have been around for years (like PhotoMachining) and there are new companies forming every year hoping to take advantage of the projected growth in this industry. There are also some companies that have grown substantially, both generically and also through acquisitions. These include IPG Photonics (which still has an office in NH); Resonetics, which has become a real medical manufacturing powerhouse; and Faro, which has gobbled up a few well-known companies like Lanmark Controls, Danaher, and Nutfield Technology.
Another long-time company located in NH is Kentek. I have known these good people for many years, but (all too typically!) never made the time to visit. Well, I corrected that situation recently and had a nice visit with owner Tom MacMullin. We knew we were in the right place by the photonics-related license plates in front of the building! In fact, one of the most interesting things about the visit was the PHOTON1 van. Kentek bought a new Ford Transit 250 van with a high roof and an extended body, wrapped it, and then filled it with an interactive display of all of their laser safety products. They will visit hundreds of customers in PHOTON1. The product displays in PHOTON1 offer customers a unique "hands-on" learning experience consistent with the belief that laser safety knowledge is best demonstrated in person with real products. This is a great opportunity for Laser Safety Officers (LSOs) and others to gather insight to ANSI-compliant laser safety solutions.
This van is packed full of everything anyone needs to know about safety-related products and services, and is mobile so that it can be taken to any event anywhere (in principle) in the world. Included in the van are all kinds of laser safety glasses, laser barriers, laser enclosures, and accessories window coverings and their trademarked Entry-Guard safety interlock system. All of the products are fully functional and displayed so that they can be used, touched, looked at, smelled,or whatever! The van drivers are all heavily invested in safety and can not only discuss standard products, but can also discuss custom applications.
The van is scheduled on the road through May in various locations in the country. More information, including a cool video and future schedule stops, can be found here: photon1.kentek.com.
Kentek can also be contacted to schedule a stop in your area!
Two other products come to mind. The Entry-Guard control panel is a safety interlock system that provides fail-safe access control (ACS). This panel works with other components to ensure that unauthorized personnel are prohibited from areas where laser radiation may be present. It can interface up to seven lasers or laser shutters along with numerous accessories to fit your specific application. It is powered by an AC/DC adapter that converts 120 VAC input to 12 VDC 2 A output.
Zap-It is the industry-standard laser thermal-sensitive paper and is a product that has been around for a long time—in fact, I did not even realize it was still being made! Responsive to a broad spectrum, from ultraviolet to infrared, it is used to align external accessories to the laser beam axis, including beam expanders, lenses, apertures, attenuators, and power measuring equipment. Its pulse width ranges from 1 ns to 30 ms, while its power level ranges from 5 to 20 J/cm2.
It was a great visit and I wish I had made the time earlier. I will be presenting my next blog in a couple weeks, which will be centered on ultrashort-pulse laser processing.
I am always interested in hearing your thoughts concerning laser micromachining, the laser industry, comments on entrepreneurial endeavors, etc. AND … we are always looking for fresh, publishable material. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected].