'This is a big, big deal;' Germany-based Rofin has worldwide reach
[caption id="attachment_21923" align="alignleft" width="208" caption="Laser maker Rofin has incorporated Raydiance into its logo."][/caption]
PETALUMA – Raydiance broadened its footprint onto the global stage last week by partnering with a leading producer of laser solutions for medical device manufacturers.
Hamburg-based, 1,700-employee Rofin has 35 locations around the world, including manufacturing operations in China. Its focus is on industrial production, including electronics, semiconductor and photovoltaics, in addition to makers of stents and other micro-medical devices.
Forty-two-employee, Petaluma-based Raydiance, led by former AOL CEO Barry Schuler, is first to market with a commercial ultrafast laser technology that integrates fiber optics, computing and software. The technology is notable for producing no heat, critical to the manufacture of tiny, precise devices and machine components.
"Rofin was hearing from its customers that a no-thermal solution was needed," said Raydiance President Scott Davison. "It could have developed its own but decided instead to incorporate ours. Rofin has even included 'Photons by Raydiance' in its logo and on its newest product to underscore the partnership."
The OEM and distribution partnership gives Raydiance an instant international sales team – something it would have taken years to develop on its own – and exposure to Rofin's international portfolio of customers.
At the same time, the agreement provides Raydiance customers with access to global manufacturing facilities.
"The partnership has already given us the opportunity to work with some very significant people, resulting in six or seven major successes," said Mr. Davison. "This is a big, big deal for Raydiance."
"Medical device manufacturing is just the beginning of the journey.
"There is a multitude of applications in various markets – photovoltaic and microelectronic components to name just two – that will benefit from ultrafast cold laser ablation," according to Thomas Merk, COO of the Rofin laser micro and laser marketing.
Raydiance, he said, is the innovation leader in industrial-grade ultrafast laser technology.
The explosion of micro-medical devices led Raydiance to initially focus on that market, but high-volume consumer electronics is another fast-growing area, as is thin film processing for the solar industry, said Mr. Davison.
[caption id="attachment_21924" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Newly-minted Rofin stent made with Raydiance tech, shows no heat-affected zones"][/caption]
The Raydiance technology is particularly applicable to thin film manufacturing, which has traditionally required several different lasers to address each layer to minimize heat damage.
"Where precision is key, heat is the enemy," he said.
Raydiance thin film processing requires only one laser per layer, at a level determined by software.
Rofin has a major customer in the space, said Mr. Davison, declining to speculate further.
Meanwhile, Raydiance anticipates major growth as a result of the Rofin connection.
The company expects to have more than 60 employees by the end of the year and will most likely double that in another year.
"The best thing about Rofin is that they get it. They understand how innovation in laser technology drives innovation in industry," he said.