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Excelitas snaps up Heraeus Noblelight

19 Sep 2023

Maker of light sources becomes the latest photonics company to join the Excelitas stable.

Excelitas Technologies, the US-based photonics group, is set to expand its portfolio once again, with the acquisition of Heraeus Noblelight.

Headquartered in Kleinostheim, Germany, and employing some 850 people in sites around the world, Heraeus Noblelight is known for its broad range of light sources, used across a variety of industrial and medical applications.

Excelitas will take over a business with production operations in the UK, US, China, and Japan, as well as Kleinostheim, alongside several application centers.

Heraeus Noblelight is part of the much wider Heraeus Group, a family-owned and diversified business with a presence in precious metals, recycling, electronics, batteries, and more. Last year the wider group posted sales of nearly €30 billion.

The Noblelight division offers light sources emitting across the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectral regions, typically for use in analytical instrumentation, industrial curing, water treatment, electronics manufacturing, therapeutic medical and cosmetic applications, and battery production.

Technological bandwidth
Commenting on the deal, which is for an undisclosed sum and is expected to complete by the end of this year, Excelitas’ executive VP of commercial business Michael Ersoni said:

“We see tremendous potential in the union of Heraeus Noblelight’s technology portfolio with our own extensive offering in plasma and LED products. Leveraging our combined investments and expanded offering will drive growth and present innovative integrated solutions to our highly complementary customer and product mix across a variety of unique markets.”

Originally created as a spin-off from analytical instrumentation giant Perkin Elmer back in 2010, Excelitas was subsequently acquired by the private equity group AEA Investors in 2017.

By that time, it was already home to some familiar brand names including Qioptiq and Linos Photonics, but since then Research Electro-Optics, Axsun Technologies, and CMOS camera firm PCO have all been added to the Excelitas portfolio.

And earlier this year the firm expanded again with the addition of Phoseon Technology, which - like Heraeus Noblelight - offers sources for industrial LED curing.

Heraeus Group CEO Jan Rinnert said in a joint statement with Excelitas: “As a leading player in the specialty light market, Heraeus Noblelight has a strong footprint in the areas of market access, problem-solving expertise, and technological bandwidth.

“We are convinced that this agreement will further boost Heraeus Noblelight’s stable growth path of the last [few] years.”

Heraeus partners with aiXscale on PICs
News of the sale of its Noblelight division came just a week after Heraeus revealed that it had invested in the RWTH Aachen University spin-off aiXscale Photonics, which is developing novel packaging technology for optical data links.

Said to enable a new way to co-package optical and electrical systems at the wafer level, the technology developed by Aachen’s integrated photonics research team promises to reduce energy consumption while “massively” increasing data transfer rates, claim the firms.

The investment is part of a wider collaboration between aiXscale Photonics and Heraeus that will focus on automated packaging of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and more cost-effective production of electro-optical transceivers.

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