Laser Industry Report

LaserSight (Winter Park, FL) has joined forces with Becton Dickinson Ophthalmic Systems (Franklin Lakes, NJ), a move that gives the much-smaller eye-laser company a strong marketing partner in the refractive-surgery market. The companies have signed a joint marketing and product-development agreement that will initially focus on blades and keratomes developed and manufactured by LaserSight for use in laser-assisted in situ keratomilieusis (LASIK) procedures. Under the terms of the agreement, the

LaserSight secures major corporate partner

LaserSight (Winter Park, FL) has joined forces with Becton Dickinson Ophthalmic Systems (Franklin Lakes, NJ), a move that gives the much-smaller eye-laser company a strong marketing partner in the refractive-surgery market. The companies have signed a joint marketing and product-development agreement that will initially focus on blades and keratomes developed and manufactured by LaserSight for use in laser-assisted in situ keratomilieusis (LASIK) procedures. Under the terms of the agreement, the two firms will develop, manufacture, and distribute keratome blades and further expand the LaserSight product line by manufacturing cannulas, custom kits for refractive surgery, and other laser vision-correction-related accessories and consumables. In addition, Becton Dickinson will now manufacture the blades.

USEC suspends development of uranium project

After spending $100 million on the project, the United States Enrichment Corp. (USEC: Bethesda, MD) is suspending further development of its atomic vapor laser isotope (AVLIS) technology that uses lasers to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants. According to company president William Timbers Jr., construction costs for an AVLIS plant would have exceeded earlier estimates of $2.5 billion. The rate of return on the investment would have been too low for the risk involved.

Ditek Software and Laser Technology sign partnership agreement

Ditek Software Corp. (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada) has signed an agreement with Laser Technology Inc. (Englewood, CO), in which Laser Technology will bundle Ditek`s DynaCop accident and crime-scene diagramming software with LTI`s QuickMap pulsed-laser measuring tool. DynaCop will read QuickMap files to create detail drawings with included notes and voice annotations.

Laser barcode printers capture almost 10% of market

According to Frost & Sullivan (Mountain View, CA), the laser segment of the barcode-printer market reported revenues of $93 million last year, primarily due to good label quality, software development, capability to print graphics, and familiarity with the technology. This represented 9.9% of the total barcode-printer market in 1998. Analysts report that this market segment grew despite the high printer costs, costly small-volume jobs, an inability to print on demand, and problems with laser technology.

ThermoLase exits hair-removal business

ThermoLase (Dallax, TX), the first company to gain FDA clearance for laser hair removal, is retiring from that business, but will continue to service and support existing lasers in the field. The company will be merged into and become a wholly owned subsidiary of Thermo Electron Corp. (Waltham, MA) as part of a company-wide effort to streamline and reorganize that was announced last August.

Heraeus Noblelight updates laser lamp facility

Heraeus Noblelight Ltd. (Cambridge, England), a division of the Heraeus Group (Hanau, Germany), has completed an investment project at its factory, where production of laser lamps has tripled in the last five years. The investment of #1.5 million (approximately $2.4 million) has been used to update the plant, including increasing staff by 15% and expanding research-and-development facilities.

Also in the news . . .

Robert Studebaker, who invented the first 360? laser transmitter for construction and agricultural applications, passed away this April in Tucson, AZ, at 88. In 1967, Studebaker founded Laserplane Corp. (Dayton, OH), which later merged with the Construction Systems Division of Spectra-Physics (Mountain View, CA), and is now known as Spectra Precision. . . . Glenn Edwards has left his position as director of the Free-Electron Laser (FEL) Center at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) to become director of the FEL Laboratory at Duke University (Durham, NC). . . . The PTG/Fonon Group (Lake Mary, FL) has filed suit in US Federal Court against Accudyne Corp. (Palm Bay, FL), claiming that the company infringed PTG/Fonon patent rights for glass laser-cutting technology.

Paula M. Noaker

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