20 February 2012

Thorlabs completes new headquarters

Photonic product maker Thorlabs Inc has completed its new three-story, 120,000-square-foot headquarters facility, at 56 Sparta Avenue in Newton, NJ, USA. Subsequent construction phases are planned for the next 7-10 years and will ultimately expand space to include about 300,000 square feet. The new site will serve as the central hub for Thorlabs’ sales, service, R&D and manufacturing operations.

The new facility is built on a 5.6-acre former brownfield site that had been vacant and in need of environmental remediation since 1993. The location, in Newton’s downtown area, had been earmarked by the town for redevelopment.

Still privately held by founder & CEO Alex Cable, Thorlabs says that it has consistently experienced double-digit growth since its founding in 1989. The firm has expanded geographically over the years to include 12 sales, manufacturing and R&D offices in eight countries. During that same time, the need for more space also led it to expand its footprint in Sussex County, NJ, eventually purchasing 87,800 square feet of space, spread out over five different locations. Thorlabs now employs about 700 people (350 in Sussex County, with others in the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, and China). It manufactures 95% of its product offerings (70% domestically, 25% internationally), which now number over 15,000.

In addition to optomechanics, optics, fiber optics, optical detector, motion control equipment and vibration isolation system products as well as system-level solutions such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), confocal and multiphoton imaging systems, Thorlabs also makes laser diodes and tunable lasers as well as superluminescent diode (SLD) light sources, in particular after its acquisition of optoelectronic component and subsystem maker Covega Corp of Jessup, MD, USA (now Thorlabs Quantum Electronics, TQE) in 2009.

The additional space supports Thorlabs’ continued growth and aim to bring products to market quickly, says Cable. Thorlabs intends to expand its machine shop at its 40,000-square-foot facility 2miles away from the new site in Andover Township. Currently, the same equipment is shared for prototyping and production. “By expanding our machine shop’s footprint, we will be able to allocate specific resources and equipment to the creation of prototypes,” adds Cable. “In addition, the expansion will support faster turnarounds on special customer requests for small modifications to our stocked products.”

Tags: Thorlabs

Visit: www.thorlabs.com

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