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Coherent enters high-power materials processing sector

03 May 2007

US laser manufacturer acquires Nuvonyx Inc in a bid to address the growing direct diode market.

Coherent has bought Nuvonyx, a US company specializing in the development of high-power laser diodes, in a cash transaction of $14 million. Coherent expects the Nuvonyx portfolio to contribute revenues of $13-16 million during fiscal year 2008.

The acquisition marks Coherent's entry into the high-power materials processing market. "This is an area where Coherent has expressed interest in the past, but prior to the Nuvonyx acquisition we didn't participate in the sector," Peter Schuman, Coherent's director of investor relations, told optics.org. "It is one of the largest markets for laser technology, and this is all additive business for Coherent."

Coherent is particularly interested in Nuvonyx' portfolio of direct diode lasers (DDL) which will give the laser maker access to the developing market for laser hardening, materials processing and surface modification using small, portable DDL systems. Traditional solid-state or fiber lasers that produce a tightly focused beam can be overkill in applications like heat treatment, welding of plastics or heat treatment of metals. "Direct diode solutions could have a substantial cost advantage for these applications," said John Ambroseo, president and CEO of Coherent.

Nuvonyx laser systems for hardening and cladding of metals include both direct-beam and fiber-integrated versions up to 2 kW, and their laser-diode arrays have demonstrated powers in excess of 50 kW. "Customer trials are underway to expand their field of use to metal welding," adds Ambroseo. "As a fully vertically integrated supplier, and given our capabilities in diode laser development, we hope to expand into this large market."

The acquisition comes shortly after Nuvonyx Europe became part of Quantel, France, in March 2007. (See Quantel grows diode and fiber laser activities.)

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