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Suzhou Chunxing Precision Mech buys optical switch maker Calient

30 Aug 2017

California-based manufacturer Calient acquired to support growth in China’s optical circuit switching market.

Growth market: Calient’s optical switches enable dynamic optical layer optimization in data centers.

Growth market: Calient’s optical switches enable dynamic optical layer optimization in data centers.

Calient Technologies, a developer of optical switching technology for communications has entered into an agreement with Suzhou Chunxing Precision Mechanical, based in Suzhou, China, which is to buy a controlling stake in Calient and provide manufacturing services to help the company scale its growth. Financial details were not revealed

Calient Technologies, based in Goleta, Ca. – which started life in 1999 as Calient Networks in San Jose, spinning out of UCSB – manufactures S-Series optical circuit switches, which are now gaining customer acceptance in the fast-growing data center, compute cluster and communication service provider applications. The switches are based on the company’s proprietary 3D MEMS technology, based on silicon micro mirrors with bespoke structures to switch optical signals from port to port.

The recently-founded US American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), has its west coast hub at UCSB, overseen by John Bowers, professor of electrical and computer engineering. Calient is among the many new photonics companies that were spun out of UCSB's photonics research; others include Aurrion, Agility, Soraa, Aerius Photonics and Freedom Photonics.


Calient is expanding manufacturing to meet the growth in demand and will leverage Chunxing’s expertise in precision manufacturing. The partners commented that “additional synergy exists between them because Suzhou Chunxing and Calient share a common base of existing and target global customers.”

In a joint statement, Carvin Chen, EVP of Chunxing and Atiq Raza, CEO of Calient, said, “There is a solid foundation for our two companies to join together to cope with the demands and challenges of keeping pace with a fast-growing new generation of optical switching technology.

“Our common vision is to create a great world-leading company to explore, develop and deliver the most innovative optical switching value propositions and solutions to our most valuable customers and the market.”

Switch technology

Calient’s optical circuit switching systems enable dynamic optical layer optimization in “next-gen” data centers and software defined networks. Its 3D MEMS switches allow data center operators to significantly improve utilization rates of costly compute resources which typically account for 75% to 90% of capital investment.

Data center operators and metro service providers also deploy Calient switches at the edges of their networks to facilitate multi-layer network optimization for maximum efficiency and flexibility. In this application, the optical circuit switches support network-wide implementation of SD-WAN regardless of the vendor or vintage of the optical transport system. Calient will continue to operate from its Goleta, CA, headquarters under the Calient brand.

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