Optic Industry Report

Aug. 1, 2002
LightPath to close Albuquerque facility

LightPath to close Albuquerque facility

Optical-component manufacturer LightPath Technologies (Albuquerque, NM) is laying off 66 of its 175 employees and moving its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities to Orlando, FL, as part of a restructuring and consolidation effort. The company also plans to realign its business into three operating groups-the Optical Lens Group, the Laser Component Group, and the Optical Integration Group-and focus on markets outside of telecommunications. "Previously, we had a telecom segment and a traditional optics segments, but we feel that, given the current economy, we need to go after more non-telecom customers at this point, which is something we had not previously done," said Donna Bogue, CFO. LightPath opted to close down its Albuquerque facility and consolidate its administrative, R&D, and manufacturing capabilities in Florida because the Orlando facility is about 40,000 sq ft and includes a state-of-the-art clean-room facility, according to Bogue. In addition, it will help support the company's planned expansion into active components through its Horizon Photonics subsidiary. Now, in addition to aspheric optics, all of the company's active and passive optical packaging will be produced in Florida.

Edmund offers optical prototyping services

Edmund Industrial Optics (EO; Barrington, NJ) has announced a Rapid Optical Component Prototyping Service intended to bring together optical manufacturing and thin-film coating and to deliver custom components in four weeks or less. Prototype runs consist of small volume orders ranging from 1 to 25 pieces for a variety of coated optical components including: singlets, doublets, windows, mirrors, and wedges.

Allied Coatings provides thin-film deposition

Magnetics (San Diego, CA), a provider of specialty thin-film devices, has formed a new division, Allied Coatings, to focus on thin-film coating needs of customers from micro-electronics, biotechnology, communication, and other industries with a range of thin-film foundry services including sputtering, evaporation or plating, dry etching using ion milling and RIE, wet etching and substrate dicing.

SUSS MicroTec creates SUSS MicroOptics SA

SUSS MicroTec (Munich, Germany) has established SUSS MicroOptics SA (Neuchatel, Switzerland) to take over all activities of the SUSS MicroTec subsidiary and those of the Neuchatel-based consulting company Weible OpTech. SUSS MicroTec holds the majority of SUSS MicroOptics SA. SUSS MicroOptics in Neuchatel focuses on the development, manufacturing and marketing of high quality refractive optics with particular expertise in optical design, microfabrication, packaging and metrology. The company also provides refractive microlenses arrays in 200-mm wafer technology.

Wave Splitter, Matsushita agree to collaborate

Wave Splitter Technologies (Fremont, CA), a supplier of integrated optical components and modules, and Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries (MKE), a subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial (Osaka, Japan), signed an agreement whereby MKE will apply its automation, precision assembly, and wafer-processing capabilities to the production of Wave Splitter's products, which include planar lightwave circuit, fused-fiber and micro-optic components. The goal is to address bottlenecks in the production process, reduce cycle time and product variability, and improve yield.

Optical integrated circuits slated for growth

Integrated circuits (ICs) used in optical switches will represent a $5.4 billion market opportunity by 2006, up from $654 million in 2002, according to Pioneer Consulting's (Boston, MA) latest report, Optical Chips: Enabling Technologies and Markets from Semiconductors to MEMS, Nano-Optics and Photonic Crystals. "Moore's second law indicates that doubling processor capacity will become increasingly cost prohibitive," said Paul Kellett, senior director of research at Pioneer. "At some point that is certain to afford optical-chips-based MEMS, nanotechnology and related technologies an important competitive advantage."

Hassaun A. Jones-Bey

Also in the news . . .

Palomar Technologies (Vista, CA), a manufacturer of automated high-precision assembly systems for broadband communications, has expanded its applications engineering division and test facilities to offer process development and prototyping services for companies looking to develop or validate new products, but who require the design, engineering, prototyping, assembly and automation expertise, and/or metrology resources to bridge the gap between product concept and automated production. Palomar has also received ISO 9001 certification for its quality management system. . . . Sabeus Photonics (Chatsworth, CA) has been granted a U.S. patent, covering novel mode-coupling technology intended to reduce the cost of manufacturing certain components for use in the optical communications network by providing a low-to-no loss interface between a fiber and an optical element, such as a semiconductor chip.

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