Optics Industry Report

Merger dies as OSA, SPIE split vote; SPIE names new executive director; Army alleges optics maker sold bad parts; II-VI takeover of Laser Power pushes ahead; Ocean Optics moves into thin films; Also in the news . . .

Merger dies as OSA, SPIE split vote

The Optical Society of America (OSA; Washington, DC) and SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering; Bellingham, WA) will not be joined into a single entity after the merger proposal failed to win the approval of both societies. OSA members voted down the proposal with 2420 in favor and 2551 opposed. The 49% favorable vote did not come close to the two-thirds needed for the merger to pass. Members of SPIE, who only required a simple majority, approved the plan 2287 to 2180. Presidents of both groups said they hoped cooperation between the societies would continue.

SPIE names new executive director

Eugene G. Arthurs has been appointed executive director of SPIE (International Society for Optical Engineering; Bellingham, WA). Arthurs was president of Cleveland Crystals (Cleveland, OH) and has been president of Oriel Instruments (Stratford, CT), founder of Andor Technology (S. Windsor, CT), and manager of the semiconductor-systems business at Quantronix (E. Setauket, NY), among other posts. He has a Ph.D. in applied physics from Queens University (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and serves on boards of the Optical Society of America (Washington, DC) and Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH).

Army alleges optics maker sold bad parts

Plummer Precision Optics (Pennsburg, PA) and its owner John Plummer are being sued by the federal government over allegations that the company sold defective equipment to the US military and falsified inspection reports. The case grew out of a lawsuit filed under seal in March 1997 by the company's former director of marketing Bob Basore. The government has joined the case, which was unsealed in September. The suit charges that Plummer sold defective lenses, which are components of the Army's laser rangefinders and part of the artillery sights for M-1 tanks. Plummer president Jack Hornberger said the company is cooperating with the government and has implemented changes, not driven by the lawsuit, to improve processing and communications.

II-VI takeover of Laser Power pushes ahead

II-VI Inc. (Saxonburg, PA) has been attempting to buy Laser Power Corp. (San Diego, CA) and by the end of September had purchased almost 15% of the company's stock. Despite resistance to a merger by the Laser Power board of directors, II-VI said purchasing the company, which makes optics and lasers for medical, industrial, and military applications, was important for its growth. In a statement filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, II-VI said it would continue its acquisition efforts and intended to replace the Laser Power board of directors at the company's annual business meeting in 2000. Laser Power chairman Robert G. Klimasewski told II-VI that its proposals did not reflect his company's inherent value.

Ocean Optics moves into thin films

Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) has branched out from its traditional business of building miniature fiberoptic spectrometers and opened a new division—Ocean Thin Films (Largo, FL). The division, managed by Phil Buchsbaum, will provide patterned dichroic coatings for display manufacturers for use in such areas as charge-coupled-device cameras, liquid-crystal-display panels, and rear-projection television. About 40 people will work in the 23,000-sq ft facility, scheduled to start producing by the end of November. Ocean Thin Films will have capacity for grinding and polishing, coating, microlithography, and machining. The process will allow the company to produce stable optical thin films patterned down to 3 to 5 µm.

Also in the news . . .

Thin-film-deposition equipment maker CVC (Rochester, NY) filed for an initial public offering of 3.5 million shares. . . . Melles Griot (Irvine, CA) has donated $48,700 worth of optics and hardware to Pueblo Community College (Pueblo, CO) for its training program. . . . Don Dilworth of Optical Systems Design (East Boothbay, ME) has updated his 1960s-vintage optical design software, Synopsys, and is selling it on the Web.

Neil Savage

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