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US-Ukraine venture targets design

19 May 2005

Ukrainian expertise brings down the price of optical design.

By employing a team of experienced engineers in the Ukraine, a small US consultancy has found a way to provide optical design services at an unprecedented price.

“The big difference is that we only charge around $40 per hour [for our design services] while many firms here in the US charge $150 or more,” John Ellis, president of Optics for Hire told Optics.org. “We’ve done everything from the design of endoscopes and spectrometers to underwater cameras and automotive lighting,”

Since it was founded 2.5 years ago, Massachusetts-based “Optics for Hire” has won contracts from 30 customers including well-known names such as Laser Components and GE Engines. Following the success of its aggressively-priced computer designs, the consultancy is now expanding and offering small-scale prototype manufacturing in the Ukraine.

According to Ellis, Optics for Hire can provide a wide variety of services ranging from lens design to the production of complete optomechanical/laser systems. “We have 18 scientists based in Lviv, Ukraine who have many years of experience in optical, mechanical and electrical design and are now recruiting for more,” said Ellis. “As well as producing designs on a computer using packages like Zemax we can also perform prototype manufacturing using local machines.”

The firm was founded after the demise of a company called Constellation 3D, a designer of optical disk drives where Ellis was vice-president of marketing. Constellation was employing the Ukrainian designers and after it went bust Ellis came up with the idea of creating an optical design consultancy that made the most of their skills.

Author
Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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