PORTLAND, Ore. Diversified manufacturer Illinois Tool Works Inc. is set to unveil later this month its ITW Photonics Group, which will combine its first three photonics manufacturing acquisitions.
ITW Group (Glenview, Ill.) will combine Lumex Inc. (Palatine, Ill.), Cal Sensors Inc. (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Opto Diode Corp. (Newbury Park, Calif.). ITW claims the new group will enable it to cover the entire wavelength spectrum of photonics products.
ITW also claims its corporate research and development efforts along with future acquisitions of photonics makers will help it expand into new photonic applications.
With the acquisitions of Lumex, Cal Sensors and Opto Diode, "our photonics expertise now spans the entire spectrum of wavelengths," claimed Cary Moreth, group general manager at ITW Photonics Group.
|ITW Group's optical backlight technologies are used in medical devices such as handheld X-ray devices (shown), defibrillators and respirators.|
Formation of the Photonics Group is intended to follow the design evolution of sophisticated photonic devices, which sense and also display their state, allowing users to make on-the-fly adjustments to automated processes, for example.
"There is huge market growth in smarter sensing devices with more sophisticated user interfaces in every major industry today, whether it be construction, medical [or] consumer appliances," said Moreth. "There is an increased need for feedback from sensors to optimize processes, and for more sophisticated user interfaces that display detailed results and allow users to react by making adjustments."
Lumex manufactures LEDs and LCDs used as optical indicators and information displays. Cal Sensor manufacturers lead selenide and lead sulfide detectors and matching emitters. Opto Diode makes devices in near-infrared and visible wavelengths.
"We fit into the higher-end markets for night vision, machine vision, industrial control and for medical detectors and emitters," said Russ Dahl, a general manager at Opto Diode.
Cal Sensors specializes in low-power detectors and emitters used to sense the state of processes such as the moisture content in materials during processing.
"Our components are also used in process control to detect moisture in foods, in the pulp paper industry and for flame and safety applications," added Larry Johnson, president of Cal Sensors.
Two recent design wins by ITW combined technologies from all three companies. "In a recent anesthesiology design we did, an emitter and detector from Cal Sensors did the gas analysis. That information was transmitted for display on an LCD display from Lumex with LED indicators and an electro-optical assembly from Opto-Diode," said Halliday.
"Another customer's machine vision system for sorting contaminants out of a product stream required a customized LED array with 72 die on it using three different wavelengths," added Richard Halliday, director of sales and marketing at Lumex.
R&D at ITW Photonics Group focuses on a range of new LED applications designed to extend the wavelength range of new photonics gear. For medical applications, higher-power LED arrays in the red and near-infrared wavelengths are being developed for direct photodynamic therapies.
Illinois Tool projects that its ITW Photonics Group will register double-digit growth through 2015 via acquisitions and R&D aimed at taking over photonic development projects from its customers.