Paula M. Noaker
Department of Commerce adopts revised laser categories
In its new North American Industrial Classification Systems (NAICS) data-gathering systems, the US Department of Commerce has replaced the old Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories for lasers with categories suggested by LEOMA (Pacifica, CA). These categories-developed with input from the Laser Focus World annual market survey-should enable the Bureau of the Census to collect and distribute meaningful data about worldwide laser sales by American manufacturers. The first data collected under NAICS will be for sales made this calendar year. Data collection will begin next January. Questionnaires will be sent to all US laser manufacturers, who will be required by law to complete and return them to the bureau with data that quantify their domestic and international sales in each of 19 diode- and nondiode-laser categories. The government will aggregate this input and supply the results to the public.
Laser firms settle trimming patent suit
Electro Scientific Industries Inc. (ESI: Portland, OR), GSI Lumonics Inc. (Kanata, Ontario, Canada), and General Scanning Inc. (Arlington, MA) have reached a settlement in the laser-trimming patent infringement suit brought by ESI against the other two firms. As part of the settlement, GSI Lumonics is not making, using, selling, or offering to sell any laser trim systems operating at wavelengths between 1.2 and 3.0 µm, as well as any kit for converting a laser trim system to operate at a wavelength in this range. This settlement is not related to ESI's suit against General Scanning for infringement of a link-blowing patent, which resulted in a damage award against General Scanning.
Komatsu enters US excimer-laser market at Semicon West
Komatsu Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) made its debut at Semicon West (San Jose, CA) in July and announced initial steps toward taking its domestic excimer-laser business worldwide. In addition to a new 248-nm, 2000-Hz KrF excimer laser with a light-chamber life expectancy of 10 billion pulses, Komatsu announ ced the opening of a sales office in Santa Clara, CA, and a training center in Portland, OR, as well as the signing of an agreement with Metron Technology (Taunton, England) for representation in Europe.
The mood at Semicon West 1999 was much improved over the 1998 atmosphere of doom and gloom, according to several exhibitors. There were about 22,000 verified attendees at the 1999 meeting and about 68,000 total attendees (including exhibitor staff).
Rofin-Sinar takes a stake in Rasant-Alcotec
Rofin-Sinar (Plymouth, MI, and Hamburg, Germany) has acquired a majority stake in Rasant-Alcotec Beschichtungstechnik GmbH, which specializes in coating plastic and metal surfaces with high-purity-grade aluminum. The technology, which is used in the manufacture of some laser parts, also has potential coating applications in industries such as automotive, construction, chemical, and medical components.
Blue Sky Research takes over Melles Griot beam-analysis business
Blue Sky Research (San Jose, CA) is taking over the WaveAlyzer business of Melles Griot (Carlsbad, CA). The two companies jointly developed and introduced the WaveAlyzer in 1993, with Blue Sky Research acting as OEM supplier to other firms. The instrument analyzes laser-beam wavefronts and provides several different measures of beam quality. All future sales of the device will be warranted by Blue Sky Research, while Melles Griot will honor warranties on instruments currently in use.
Also in the news . . .
New Wave Research has relocated from Sunnyvale, CA, to a new facility in Fremont, CA. . . . Medical-laser company Candela (Wayland, MA) recently commenced a public offering of 2.43 million shares of common stock at $14/share.