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Business briefs

24 Nov 2008

Featuring news from Planar Systems, Raytheon, Oree, Novaled and more.

Planar Systems recorded an overall increase in sales of its speciality displays to $259 million for fiscal 2008, up from $229 million in the previous year. Fourth quarter figures were impacted by the economic climate however, with sales slipping to $66.5 million from the $73 million recorded in Q4 2007. The company indicated that softer than expected demand in newly acquired businesses, especially home theatre products, along with integration challenges had led to a difficult year. Corrective action to improve financial performance is being taken.

In a separate announcement, Planar has sold its CoolSign digital signage business to Bally Technologies for exclusive use within the gaming industry. The agreement provides Bally with exclusive rights to offer and operate the CoolSign products and intellectual property within the defined field-of-use of gaming, while Planar has retained exclusive rights to all other markets and applications. CoolSign digital signage software is already used on over eight thousand networked digital displays worldwide, according to the company.

Raytheon has completed integration, baseline performance characterization and vibration testing of a space-based sensor intended to help NASA scientists better understand the effect of aerosols on global warming and climate change. The Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor will conduct a three-year climate monitoring mission from NASA's Glory satellite. Equipped with 161 optical elements, including six precision-aligned telescopes, the sensor is designed to distinguish and characterize various aerosols and accurately measure their global distribution and lifetime. Raytheon expects to deliver the sensor in the first quarter of 2009.

Opto-Alignment Technology, a US optical metrology firm, has relocated to a new facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. The new headquarters provides a larger and better equipped clean-room for new research and development and ongoing lens-system alignment projects, as well as more efficient assembly of the company's range of laser alignment stations.

Oree, a developer of flat, ultra-thin LED lighting engines headquartered in Israel, has secured a $4 million venture loan from SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) and Kreos Capital. The funding will be devoted to manufacturing and expanding business developments activities, and represents the first time that the two investors have joined forces to finance an Israeli company. Oree plans to jointly target the LCD displays and professional lighting markets, and indicated that the inward investment was a vote of confidence in the technology during difficult economic conditions.

• The Photonics Advanced Research Center (PARC) at Japan's Osaka University and SPIE have signed an agreement to cooperate more closely in fostering information exchange and other activities to help advance photonics research. PARC and SPIE will exchange information about technical conferences, development programmes, grants, and other topics in the field. The agreement is intended to enable increased participation and visibility of members, faculty, and students in networking opportunities, educational collaborations and lecturer exchanges.

Novaled, a developer of OLED technology, has added Hodogaya Chemical to its list of partners. Hodogaya has developed a specific hole transport material for Novaled called NHT18, which is claimed to provide improved temperature stability in OLED devices.

People

• Jeff Robbins has been appointed to the position of controller by Ophir-Spiricon. He will be responsible for all accounting and finance activities at Ophir-Spiricon Inc., the US-based arm of the Ophir Optronics Laser Measurement Group.

LEDtronics, a provider of LED solid-state lighting solutions, has named Greg Krymer as product sales manager for architectural lighting. Krymer has previously been the company's district sales manager for Southern California. In switching from a territorial to a product category focus, he will lead the firm's outreach drive to a wider commercial market.

Optis has expanded its operations in North America through the appointment of two new team members. Mark Davey has been named North America regional sales manager, and Joe Wang is appointed as application engineer. Davey will focus on existing and new customers for the company's light simulation software, especially for the automotive and aerospace industries. Wang will support the customer base for the company's OptisWorks product.

MicroEmissive Displays has appointed Kazuhisa Okamura to the newly created role of vice president of sales for Japan. The new position indicates the strategic importance of the territory for the company, and the region's continuing role in developing consumer optical devices, according to a statement. Okamura will work closely with Kaga, the company's distribution partner in Japan, to increase sales of P-OLED microdisplays.

ULO OpticsAVANTES BVPhoton Engineering, LLCSynopsys, Optical Solutions GroupBoston Electronics CorporationNanoscribe GmbHOmicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbH
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