Optics Industry Report

by Hassaun Jones-Bey and Kathy Kincade

Newport completes sale of metrology business
Newport (Irvine, CA) has completed the sale of its U.S.-based noncontact metrology business to an affiliate of Optical Gaging Products (Rochester, New York). The transaction is the second part of a previously announced two-step plan by Newport to sell the majority of its Industrial Metrology Systems Division. On May 13, Newport announced that it had completed the first step in this plan by selling its contact-measurement metrology business, primarily relating to its CEJohansson subsidiary in Sweden, to Hexagon AB, the Swede-based parent of Brown and Sharpe, a metrology company headquartered in North Kingstown, RI. Total cash proceeds from both transactions, as announced earlier, are expected to be approximately $11 million.


First SPIE OPTO-Canada a 'resounding success'
According to conference organizers at SPIE (Bellingham, WA), the first OPTO-Canada (held in Ottawa) was a "resounding success," with participation 50% higher than had been expected (more than 1200 attendees). OPTO-Canada is one in a series of SPIE regional meetings designed to showcase the local photonics industry. Universities, laboratories, and companies participated in technical conferences, networking opportunities, educational courses, and an exhibition focused on regional strengths. The technical program included a range of topics in the optoelectronics, photonics, and imaging fields.


3M moves optical manufacturing to Asia
The optical-components development and production arm of 3M (St. Paul, MN) is shifting all components manufacturing from Austin, TX to Singapore in an effort to lower manufacturing costs and be closer to the growing Asian market. The move affects three product lines—fiber Bragg gratings, pigtail assemblies, and dispersion-compensation modules—but only a handful of employees. The company is investing $5.6 million to expand existing manufacturing and R&D capabilities in Singapore into an optical components "center of excellence." 3M will maintain its facility in Texas to support customers in North America and Europe.


Axsys offers process-development services
Axsys Technologies (Rocky Hill, CT) is offering process development services through a new photonics lab focused on photonic-device characterization, process development, design for manufacturing, and automation implementation. The lab also provides users with the ability to manufacture small prototype production runs. Services offered through the lab include planar-waveguide insertion loss and spectral response, channel-signal characterization, power-attenuation measurement and analysis, fiber-array optical-center location certification, fiber-array cleave angle and geometric verification, collimator and filter testing, LIV testing, device stability over time, automation process development, attach methodologies and stability, and custom fixture development.


China constructs Beijing high-tech industrial zone
Construction of an optical and electromechanical industrial zone has begun in the eastern part of Beijing, China. The industrial zone, which will cover 7 km2 in Tongzhou District, is one of the 10 key industrial-zone construction projects in Beijing designed to increase competitiveness in five high-tech fields. The government has invested 500 million yuan (US$60.5 million) in the project so far; over the next three years, 300 million yuan (US$36.3 million) will be added each year to improve the transportation, energy supply, and telecommunications facilities in the zone. The zone is expected to attract microelectronics, optical mechanics, and intelligent appliances producers.

Also in the news . . .
Coastal Optical Systems (West Palm Beach, CA) has been acquired by Jenoptik Laser Optik Systeme (Jena, Germany), a subsidiary of Jenoptik AG. Jenoptik has purchased 100% of shares of Coastal Optical Systems retroactive to January 1. . . . Looking to tap into the growing Chinese market for optoelectronics products, Omega Optical (Brattleboro, VT) has opened a subsidiary, Omega Optical Asia Pacific, with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. . . . Intelligent Photonics Control (Ottawa, Ont., Canada), formerly CANasic Communications, a developer of electronic controllers that provide self-configuration, diagnostics, and remote management of optical components, has secured US$5.6 million in Series A financing. . . . Vectron International (Norwalk, CT) has separated from its division in Neckarbischofsheim, Germany, which has been taken over by Manfred Klimm and will continue operations under its traditional name of KVG Quartz Crystal Technology, with a U.S. office in Boynton Beach, FL. . . . According to a study from Business Communications Company (Norwalk, CT), the U.S. market for sol-gel products, valued at $202 million in 2001, is expected to reach $320 million by 2006 with an annual average growth rate of 9.6% from 2001 to 2006. Electronic and optical applications are expected to be the fastest growing market segments from 2001 to 2006.

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