Optics Industry Report

Veeco Instruments (Plainville, NY) has agreed to buy all the shares of OptiMag (San Diego, CA) owned by Elamex S.A. de C.V. (Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico). Elamex said it would sell its 51% interest in OptiMag for $2.3 million up front, plus an additional payment based on sales and the company's value at the end of 2000. OptiMag makes automated visual inspection systems for air-bearing surfaces and other components of thin-film heads with resolution down to 0.2 µm. Veeco makes metrol

Dec 1st, 1999

Veeco buys makers of inspection systems, DWDM coating systems

Veeco Instruments (Plainville, NY) has agreed to buy all the shares of OptiMag (San Diego, CA) owned by Elamex S.A. de C.V. (Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico). Elamex said it would sell its 51% interest in OptiMag for $2.3 million up front, plus an additional payment based on sales and the company's value at the end of 2000. OptiMag makes automated visual inspection systems for air-bearing surfaces and other components of thin-film heads with resolution down to 0.2 µm. Veeco makes metrology tools for the semiconductor industry, as well as laser interferometers used throughout the optics industry. Veeco also purchased Ion Tech (Fort Collins, CO), which makes ion-beam coating systems for manufacturing filters used in dense wavelength-division multiplexing.

Spire sells optoelectronics unit, turns to solar

Methode Electronics (Chicago, IL) has acquired all the assets of the optoelectronics business Spire Corp. (Bedford, MA) for approximately $13 million cash. Under the agreement, Methode will also make a $1 million investment in Spire by buying 111,000 shares plus certain rights in future technological developments. Spire will continue R&D work in the facility it sells to Methode. The sale will allow Spire to focus its attention on its plan to franchise the manufacture of photovoltaic modules, using Spire Solar Chicago (Chicago, IL) as the prototype for about a dozen such setups in the United States. Spire Solar Chicago has a contract to supply $6 million worth of photovoltaic systems to Commonwealth Edison of Chicago and another $2 million worth to the city of Chicago.

Newport buys commercial optics operation from Corning

The commercial optics operation of Corning OCA (Garden Grove, CA), a subsidiary of Corning Incorporated, have been sold to Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA). The amount of the cash purchase was not released. The Corning OCA operation specializes in precision optical products and systems. Sales for 1999 are projected to be approximately $10 million. Existing Newport optics operations will be consolidated into the Corning OCA facility.

NASA launches optics-manufacturing center

A new Space Optics Manufacturing Center at the Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL) has been opened by NASA. The main objective is to develop low-cost, advanced space optics technologies for NASA programs in the next century. Already the center is sponsoring the development by the private sector of lightweight mirrors and optics for the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The center, which has capabilities for optical fabrication, accurate surface measurement, optics testing, and diamond turning, will develop industrial standards for large optical metrology under an agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, MD).

Rochester companies form interest group

Optoelectronics companies in the Rochester, NY, area have banded together to form the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC), a not-for-profit corporation intended to promote and enhance the region's companies by fostering cooperation among industry, academia, and government. Christopher Palmer of Richardson Grating Laboratory is the new president; Leonard Simon of GS Plastic Optics is treasurer, and Christopher Cotton of ASE Optics is secretary. The cluster initiative was coordinated by the Photonics Industry Association of New York.

Also in the news . . .

Zygo Corp. (Middlefield, CT) and LOT-Oriel GmbH & Co. KG (Darmstadt, Germany) have formed a sales and service joint venture in Germany. . . . The Richardson Grating Laboratory (Rochester, NY) has teamed with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, MD) to improve performance characteristics of diffraction gratings. . . . Daniel Lehrfeld is the new president and chief operating officer of Inrad (Northvale, NJ).

Neil Savage

For more business news, subscribe to Optoelectronics Report. Contact Jayne Sears-Renfer at jaynesr@pennwell.com.

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