Manufacturing supply chain feels telecom strain
Last year's tremendous growth rates in the telecom market have impacted the availability of finished goods, coatings, substrates, materials and even instrumentation throughout the optoelectronics marketplace (see Marketwatch, p. 87). "We've seen an increase in business from telecom manufacturers getting test instrumentation in place," said Roger Rypma, instruments product-line marketing manager at Coherent (Auburn, CA). "But on the other side of the fence, we're trying to go out to our vendors and buy supplies to build equipment with and finding out that there are shortages of components, from detectors for the telecom wavelength ranges to even some general-purpose manufacturing equipment."
Carl Zeiss responds to cyclic semiconductor market
Carl Zeiss (Oberkochen, Germany) plans to spin off its semiconductor-technology business group as a separate stock corporation at the beginning of its next fiscal year (Oct. 1). "We are putting our business with optical systems used in chip fabrication on a future-oriented footing," said CEO Dieter Kurz. The split is also intended to compensate for the pronounced economic cycles of the semiconductor-equipment market. The new corporation will include optical lithography, inspection systems for wafers and masks, laser-optics systems, and electron-beam technology. Carl Zeiss expects these four business segments (which have achieved a tenfold sales increase over the past six years to DM 800 million last year [$364.12 million]) to achieve combined sales of just under DM 1 billion ($460 million) this year. Zeiss is also investing DM 500 million ($227.58 million) in a new 45,000-m2 building with production facilities scheduled for completion in 2003.
Inrad reports more than 2000% earnings increase
Inrad Inc. (Northvale, NJ) reported earnings of $251,278 on revenues of $2,388,648 for the first quarter of 2001 (ended March 31), as compared with earnings of $11,555 on revenues of $1,458,697 for the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $100,000 in "other income" from liquidation of a portion of the company's reserve for offset of future federal income taxes. "We are off to a good start on what we expect to be a key transition year for our company," said Dan Lehrfeld, president and CEO. Slowed capital-equipment spending is affecting a number of their key customers, but demands in defense and R&D are strengthening, he said. "Although crystals are one of our fields of expertise, our crystal ball is no better than others' in predicting when the economy's rebound will occur."
Blue Sky ramps up for volume manufacturing
Blue Sky Research (San Jose, CA) is deploying high-volume manufacturing capability for optical telecommunications components through Blue Sky Systems, its Singapore-based subsidiary. This announcement follows the recent release of the company's new line of telecom components including EDFA pump modules, programmable ITU lasers, optical crossconnect switches, and free-space laser sources. "Blue Sky Research's goal is to become the price-performance leader in the optical-network components market," said CEO Daniel Hu. Blue Sky plans to deliver production quantities of the EDFA pump modules and optical crossconnects in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by programmable lasers in the first two quarters of next year.
Also in the news. . .
The Free-Space Optical Alliance (FSO; Washington, DC), the advocacy group for the emerging FSO broadband sector, will hold its first meeting on June 26, in collaboration with the annual show of the Wireless Communications Association (WCA)—WCA 2001: Broadband Now! (Boston, MA). . . . QC Optics Inc. (Wilmington, MA) reported a $302,934 loss for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001, compared with a $1,009,335 loss for the first quarter of 2000. Positive cash flow, despite a slowdown in the semiconductor and computer hard-disk industries, was attributed to increased sales in the semiconductor industry, continued cost-reduction efforts, and utilizing inventory efficiently. . . . TuiOptics GmBH (Munich, Germany) will celebrate its name change—to Toptica Photonics AG—at Laser 2001 in Munich (June 18-22). Toptica will assume all the responsibilities of TuiOptics and will continue to supply customized diode laser products.