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Berliner Glas launches Opto Mechanical Systems division

05 Jul 2006

Traditional component companies sometimes expand by selling more components but a more sophisticated approach is to develop into a systems integrator where value and profit growth may be accelerated. Berliner Glas, already a significant components supplier turning over almost EUR 90 million, has announced it is expanding in this way.

Berliner Glas Group has launched a Center of Competence for Opto-Mechanical Systems (OMS) the company announced at June's Optatec show in Frankfurt.

By this action, the company says it is placing emphasis on the business of its subsidiary company Swissoptic AG, which has been active in this field for some years.

The new business unit offers optical solutions from design to production, including optical design and manufacturing, thin film coating and micro structuring, assembly of mountings and systems in a clean-room environment and in-house system testing.

Within the OMS business unit, Berliner Glas (BG) says it will be using its manufacturing expertise and some established partnerships to deliver solutions on each individual order while providing customers with optimal logistics and cost planning.

BG turned over EUR 89 million (US$ 114 million) in 2005. Optical assemblies and systems are significant elements of the company's markets, which include IT and communications, industrial sensors, semiconductors and biotechnology systems. The company said that the OMS development has been driven by market demands and is related to applications of BG's own products.

The company has now made the transition from component manufacturer to system partner for innovative industries and optical solutions developers, spanning design to series production. Around 25 employees have since been hired, who are working with development, design and construction or are directly involved with the Opto-Mechanical Systems division.

"We expect an increasing demand for complex system solutions in future and we are now well prepared to serve these markets," Andreas Nitze, CEO, told optics.org.

"With representatives in many countries and a company in the US (located on both east and west coasts) we have an international focus but we can minimise the distance between our customers and ourselves."

Improved prospects

So how does the development of the OMS division improve the company's prospects?

"We are driven by three key factors: customer focus and operational and engineering excellence," adds Nitze. "We believe that close communication and teamwork with the customer at every stage of the process is essential for success."

"Demand for carefully coordinated components, component groups and especially for modules and high-performance system is growing constantly. There is a need for creativity, technical knowledge and improved infrastructure, combined with required precision in production and documentation. By combining these functions, we will continue to find new solutions to a variety of optical problems.

"Being a system partner, we now are able to serve a wide range of services and possibilities for our customers worldwide coming from different market segments."

Founded in 1952, Berliner Glas is a supplier of precision coated optical components, assemblies and systems as well as technical glass processing. The company has two main divisions: Photonics (with 450 employees and sales of EUR 61 million); and Technical Glass (250 employees, EUR 24 million, respectively).

With six companies in Germany, Switzerland and the USA the BG Group employs more than 800 staff at Berliner Glas Berlin, Berliner Glas Schwäbisch Hall, Berliner Glas US, Tegla, Prinz Optics, SwissOptic.

Photonics activities include design and manufacture of coated optical components, electro optical assemblies, opto-mechanical modules or complete systems. The division also develops packaging solutions for MEMS and provides individual measurement set-ups. Key market industries for BG are IT and communications, industrial sensing, semiconductors, life sciences and healthcare.

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