11 LASER & PHOTONICS MARKETPLACE SEMINAR 2018 SUMMARY REPORT
seems mandatory for smaller companies as well.
For example, he explained that when he had been
president of JK Lasers, one reason he had sold the
company to Trumpf was the lack of an in-house
pump laser diode supply.
On the technical side, there was much debate
about the decline of CO2 lasers and the rise of direct diodes. It turned out that while the decline
has bottomed out and CO2 lasers are experiencing a modest growth in the high-power niche,
direct diodes still have to fulfill some promises.
And so, it ends up that multiple technologies in
the end will coexist.
After short excursions on the topics of addi-
tive manufacturing and biotech, the question of
acquisition vs. organic growth dominated the dis-
cussion. For Berthold Schmidt from Trumpf, the
company’s recent acquisition of Amphos was a
move to acquire a pool of talent and to reduce the
time to market for a specific technology.
Dave Allen from MKS/Spectra-Physics added
that organic growth is certainly the most pre-
ferred way. But if there is a new market opportunity, then there is always the question of making
it yourself or purchasing a company that accelerates growth and adds to your team’s success.
While the discussion on the podium ended on
that point, it was continued in a lively manner
during the lunch break, when people gathered
around the panelists.
Keynote Discussion: A conversation with
Chuck Mattera, II-VI Incorporated
CHUCK MATTERA, Ph.D., President & CEO, II-VI Incorporated
This keynote discussion had two parts: First,
Editor in Chief Conard Holton talked to Chuck
Mattera from II-VI, and then a vivid discussion
with the auditorium unfolded. The first question,
“What kind of company are you?” turned out
to be rather complex. While II-VI makes revenues of roughly $1 billion today, it still car-
ries the genes of a small company. It makes laser diodes and VCSELs on the one hand and
still nurtures a growing CO2 laser business on
the other. As a vertically integrated manufac-
turer, it provides engineered materials and op-
toelectronic components to a wide variety of
markets (see Fig. 7).
To the surprise of much of the community,
II-VI bought at least four fabs in the past few
years. Mattera explained the acquisition as mak-
ing a strategic move from an optics company to-
ward a semiconductor laser company. The move
was driven by the expected demand from large
markets such as consumer electronics and au-
tomotive. And it was a platform approach, giv-
ing II-VI the chance to address a large variety
of markets. Vertical integration is the best way
to do that with high profitability. Today, II-VI
is one of the major suppliers for VCSELs.
And the company is a major supplier for pump
diodes, plus all the other components needed to
build a fiber laser. That has already fueled the fiber laser market in China and beyond.
When asked for his experiences within the
Chinese markets, Mattera referred to the Photop
acquisition: “For the first five years after we acquired Photop, I dedicated myself to go to China
FIGURE 7. Chuck
Mattera, President &
CEO of II-VI Incorporated,
fields questions about the
company and his vision for