Philips Photonics Doubles Laser Diode Production Capacity in Germany

Philips Photonics, a wholly owned business of Royal Philips announced that it is doubling capacity at its laser-diode facility in Ulm, Germany, to provide the key components for some of the latest developments in data communication, consumer sensing and industrial thermal processing.

Since its establishment in 2000, the facility in Ulm has grown significantly, with staff numbers increasing from 50 in 2012 to 200 in 2016. Today the expansion of a new production line, featuring industry-leading automation, has been announced, reflecting the huge potential of Vertical-Cavity-Surface-Emitting Lasers (VCSEL) in many applications.

VCSEL diodes are key components in a growing number of consumer and industrial applications, including: sensing of 3D objects in autonomous vehicles; PC ‘mice’; industrial sensors and control functions; driver assist systems; ultra-fast data transmission in data centers and servers; and providing distance and gesture recognition in mobile phones.

"Over the past few years, we have invested steadily in research, product development and efficient manufacturing processes. Today, our products are widely used in data centers, smartphones and a number of industrial applications. The sharp rise in demand for VCSELs is a key factor in our capacity expansion at Ulm, and will enable us to respond to the needs of these rapidly growing markets,” said Dr. Joseph Pankert, General Manager, Philips Photonics.

Semiconductor lasers have been developed and manufactured at the Philips Photonics facility in Ulm since 2000. The company has pioneered many innovations such as VCSEL arrays, now widely used for time-of-flight and 3d depth imaging.  In 2014, the company made significant step to highly automated manufacturing, within the framework of the ‘VIDAP’ project, jointly sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the EU.

Notes to editors:

  • Philips Photonics in Ulm has been a location for the production of vertically emitting laser diodes (VCSEL) since the year 2000
  • 2006 acquisition by Philips. Intensification of research and development for further application possibilities
  • 2008 Inauguration of Philips Photonics' first cleanroom in Ulm. Further locations in Aachen and Eindhoven, NL. Shanghai as a fourth location is a sales center for the Asia-Pacific market
  • 2014 Launch of the 4-inch automatic production facility, funded by the BMBF and the EU under the VIDAP program
  • 2016 Groundbreaking ceremony for further expansion of production capacities. Planned completion end 2017
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