less wiggle room on pricing for component suppliers; the only effective place to
cut costs is in operations.
“Thirty years ago,” Heyler said, “two
laser companies chose to fight each other
rather than both make a lot of money. The
industry is more of a club, niche-oriented.
You can’t make a lot of money when you
have 50 competitors – it makes it difficult
to be efficient and profitable.”
“Consolidation is needed for us to survive,” said Schoenmann. “Companies are
going out of business – it’s not healthy.”
“There are places we need substantial
changes,” said Ibbs. “In the diode market,
there is gross overcapacity to fabricate
But Tim Morris, managing director of
Trumpf Inc. of Farmington, Conn., the
North American arm of the Stuttgart, Ger-many-based Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG,
said there are still product niches, and Ibbs
noted that ongoing innovation creates new
niches all the time.
The bright and the dark
Bright spots on the economic hori-
zon include a focus on clean technology,
nanotech and medical applications of
“CVI is in Albuquerque, and Schott
building a huge solar facility there is a
bright spot,” Schoenmann said. “I see the
changing demographic – the aging of the
population – increasing demand for medical and biomedical applications. Miniaturization as well – within groups we work
with, there is a push to make things more
light, more compact, more versatile.”
“Medical is seen as relatively recession-proof from a materials-processing perspective,” Morris said.
Postcards from the edge
The overall outlook for photonics companies may be cautiously optimistic, but where is the industry right now? Here
are snapshots of some specific companies from various photonics-related fields, from lasers to semiconductors and
Laura S. Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melinda A. Rose, email@example.com
COHERENT INC. (Santa Clara, Calif.)
Laser manufacturer Coherent reported its 2009 first-quarter
results in February.
The company expects to start seeing the benefits of measures
such as cutting operating costs in the second and third quarters
of 2009 and considers product reliability and performance
advantage, along with the introduction of new products, to be
vital to success in 2009.
CYMER INC. (San Diego)
Cymer supplies excimer laser light sources used in semiconductor manufacturing.
NET INCOME $4.0
DYNASIL CORP. OF AMERICA (West Berlin, N.J.)
Optical coatings company Dynasil is doing relatively well since
its acquisition of Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc. and certain
assets of RMD Instruments LLC (together known as “RMD”) in
IPG PHOTONICS CORP. (Oxford, Mass.)
IPG Photonics makes high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers.
2008 2007 Fiscal 2008 Fiscal 2007
NET INCOME $9.1 million $8.3 million $36.7 million $29.9 million
REVENUE $58.2 million $55.1 million $229 million $188.7 million
Cymer expects the light-source market to be significantly lower
in 2009 and is working to increase performance and productivity
while lowering operational costs. Research and development will
play a vital role. A segment of Cymer, TCZ, is developing a production tool for the flat panel display industry. TCZ expects to
deliver its first prototype tool in 2009 – as long as a prospective
customer submits a purchase order.
The acquisition of RMD was the key driver for the huge revenue
increase in the first quarter of 2009. Net operating loss carry-forwards for federal taxes were exhausted during fiscal year
2008, which meant increased federal tax provisions as well as
the higher interest costs related to the RMD acquisition impacted
first-quarter net income.
The company is working to reduce costs and ramp up sales
and marketing activities.
Revenue was driven by strong sales of its fiber lasers used for
materials processing applications. The materials processing end
market accounted for 78 percent of revenues. The company said
sales of pulsed lasers used in marking and solar photovoltaics
manufacturing slowed because of weakening customer demand.