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Business briefs

07 Apr 2008

Featuring news from StockerYale, Osram, Varioptic, Thales, Photonic Products Group, nLight and more.

• Preliminary first quarter results for StockerYale included record net sales of $3 million from its Photonic Products unit, driven by strong overseas sales, new product traction and improved operating efficiency. Overall sales for StockerYale are expected to be between $8.1 million and $8.2 million, also a record. The performance of Photonic Products during the period was said to be a key milestone in the turnaround of the unit.

Osram has officially opened the last section of its optical chip facility at Regensburg, Germany, completing an expansion that has boosted capacity at the site by almost 50% over the last seven years. Products based on opto semiconductors account for 12% of Osram's total sales, and the company's investment in its Regensburg and Penang, Malaysia, sites is said to be indicative of future rapid growth in this sector.

Supertex, a developer of high-voltage analogue and mixed signal integrated circuits, will partner with Varioptic to produce a driver and liquid lens designed to add auto-focus capability to ultracompact cameras and scanners. The partnership is said by Varioptic to be part of its ongoing development of small- and low-cost auto-focus systems, and will further promote the advantages of cost, size and power consumption offered by its liquid lens solutions.

Thales UK has been awarded a contract to supply its thermal driver sights (TDS) and Thales land navigation systems (TLNS) to FNSS of Turkey for a Middle East customer. The TDS is a compact, uncooled thermal sight designed for tactical and armoured combat vehicles, which have space and weight limitations, but still require an enhanced degree of situational awareness during closed-hatch and high-risk operations. Manufactured by Thales in Canada, it is currently in service with the British Army. The TLNS navigation system for armoured vehicles will be manufactured by Thales UK's optronics facility in Glasgow.

• Revenues for Photonic Products Group rose 8.5% in fiscal year 2007 to $15.1 million, while order intake rose by 34% to a record $17.8 million. Gross profit of nearly $6 million represented a 31% increase from the previous year. The company predicted further growth for 2008 from its portfolio of distinctly branded photonics products and services, which include Inrad, Laser Optics and MRC Optics.

Seoul Semiconductor has announced that it has won the white LED patent invalidation lawsuit filed by Taiwan-based AOT in the Korean Supreme Court. Seoul Semiconductor has also agreed to sign a patent license agreement with Itswell, a Korean LED corporation, that will allow Seoul Semiconductor to collect royalty payments from Itswell for the use of its patent on white LED manufacturing technology in the past and for future use of the patent.

nLight has won the Governor's Emerging Trader of the Year Award for 2008. This award honours a Washington state business that has demonstrated innovation and success in international trade. nLight has grown by an average of 70% per year for the past five years, with manufacturing and application centres in Finland and China contributing to its international presence in high-power semiconductor lasers.

Eastman Kodak has been named by Frost and Sullivan as the recipient of the 2008 North American Technology Leadership Award in the field of organic light emitting diode (OLED) display technology. The Emerging Technologies Awards are bestowed annually based on a survey and analysis of companies that have pioneered the development and introduction of innovative technologies into their markets. Kodak is recognized for its experience in the area of device architecture, manufacturing solutions, and development of OLED materials for active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays.

• Thin Film Technology, a unit of Brush Engineered Materials, has been awarded new contracts worth $9.8 million to provide Visi-Lid hermetic window assemblies and thin film hybrid circuits to DRS Technologies Sensors & Targeting Systems. The contract is for a period of up to 16 months. DRS provides products to the military that are used to enhance a soldier's vision capability, survivability and mobility in low-light conditions.

Labsphere has appointed BFi OPTiLAS as the Italian distributor for its range of light metrology, spectroscopy and reflective materials products. BFi OPTiLAS is a pan-European distributor of specialist products and services to the electronics and photonics markets, and focuses on niche technology products such as lasers, sensors, electro-optics and imaging components.


Ocean Optics has appointed Michael Kayat as vice-president of sales and marketing, succeeding Rob Randelman who has been promoted to company president. Kayat will manage all sales and marketing activities for the company's line of miniature fibre-optic spectrometers, optical sensors, sampling accessories, light sources, fibres, probe, thin films and optics.

Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT) has appointed Bob Gunn as applications team leader. Gunn will work with OIPT's applications team to deliver sales support and process development for the company's plasma and ion beam technology.

• Henry Schoenemann has been appointed manager of the laser refurbishment department at JP Sercel Associates. Schoenemann will manage JPSA's full laser repair and refurbishment laboratory, services and inventory of spare parts.

• Yuji Iwasa has been named president of KOA Europe, replacing Ulli Lochmann. The management team will also include Sabine Wagner, appointed executive vice -resident for business planning, and Arne Albertsen, who will lead sales and marketing and customer service functions as new general sales manager.

• Joan Gianiotis has been named vice-president of manufacturing by Alphion, a developer of communications systems, subsystems, integrated and discrete photonic components. Gianiotis has 20 years' experience in telecommunications equipment manufacturing, and has held senior manufacturing and operations positions with Sycamore Networks, Alcatel and Sprint International.

• Yves Messier has been appointed vice-president of ImmerVision's video-surveillance applications business unit. Messier will be responsible for directing international sales, marketing and project management for the business unit and promoting the adoption of ImmerVision's 360° Panomorph technology, claimed to remove blind spots from analogue or IP cameras.

LASEROPTIK GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.CeNing Optics Co LtdHÜBNER PhotonicsLaCroix Precision OpticsOptikos Corporation Mad City Labs, Inc.
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