NetOptix Diamond-turning Business Going Strong

June 25, 2003
Keene, NH, June 25, 2003. While much of the optoelectronics industry continues to search for new avenues of profitability, the Corning NetOptix diamond-turning division isn't struggling at all. In fact, while Corning is slowly but surely dissolving its photonics business, having sold much of this business to Avanex in May and announced intentions to divest most of the rest of it before year's end, the company has no intention of letting the diamond-turning group go

Keene, NH, June 25, 2003. While much of the optoelectronics industry continues to search for new avenues of profitability, the Corning NetOptix diamond-turning division isn't struggling at all. In fact, while Corning is slowly but surely dissolving its photonics business, having sold much of this business to Avanex in May and announced intentions to divest most of the rest of it before year's end, the company has no intention of letting the diamond-turning group go-one of the only profitable parts of Corning's photonics business last year, according to Karl Martinson, director of sales and marketing.

Instead, Corning is integrating the diamond-turning business-which reported 40% growth last year and expects to continue to grow rapidly, according to Martinson-into its specialty materials division, which includes Corning Tropel and Corning Mirrors. The move makes perfect sense, Martinson says.
"NetOptix diamond turning became part of the photonics group by default when Corning acquired the NetOptix filter business in 2000 to gain DWDM filter manufacturing capacity," he said. "But we have become a pretty substantial revenue generator for the company, and it has never been a consideration for Corning to sell the diamond-turning group. It was just a matter of time before we went over to the specialty materials group, where we have much more synergy."

The Keene facility will now be known simply as Corning Diamond Turning.
NetOptix is already collaborating with other members of the specialty materials group to develop new business. The company currently designs and manufactures custom optical components and subsystems to a number of commercial markets, including defense/aerospace (which accounts for 65%-70% of its business), semiconductor, medical instrumentation, analytical instrumentation, and telecom. NetOptix also manufactures optical masters for optical injection molding and microstructure arrays for backlighting displays used in cell phones and other handheld devices.

"But the biggest market we are involved in is high-precision optics and assemblies for commercial and tactical defense applications," Martinson said.
NetOptix diamond turning currently employs about 75 people and will remain in Keene, where the company was founded in 1987 as OFC Diamond Turning, part of the original Optical Filter Corporation.

Kathy Kincade, Contributing Editor

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