Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Assembly station lowers photonics production costs

New component assembly workstation significantly improves yield and lowers manufacturing costs a broad range of applications in photonics equipment manufacture.

EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering (NASDAQ: EXFO, TSE: EXF) announced today the launch of a new semi-automated assembly workstation for array-type devices. The ProAlign 5000 Component Assembly Workstation is designed to lower the cost of manufacturing complex photonics components by increasing yield, product quality and throughput. The new ProAlign 5000 Component Assembly Workstation handles a broad range of applications including one-sided, two-sided and right-angled planar lightwave circuits (PLCs); optical switches; pitch converters; transceivers; echelle gratings and arrayed waveguide gratings (AWGs); and devices with 90-degree as well as angled faces.

Developed in conjunction with leading photonics component manufacturers, the Component Assembly Workstation offers numerous industry firsts.

The ProAlign 5000 system is the first workstation designed with cost-of-ownership (COO) criteria in mind; the first to include automated first-light detection (patent pending); and the first to incorporate a single six-axis NanoRobot unit moving the device to be assembled.

Together, these unique features increase production yield for photonics component manufacturers and, as a result, lower costs.

Other important features of the new ProAlign 5000 workstation include machine vision using motorized optics for rapid coarse alignment with minimal user intervention; rock-solid stability for superior alignment and bonding; and force sensors for absolute determination of part separation ensuring repeatable process control.

All aspects of the ProAlign 5000 workstation were developed with the goal of increasing product quality and yield for component manufacturers, thereby increasing throughput.

'EXFO is the only company with the broad-ranging expertise, including nanoalignment, automation, testing and bonding, needed to translate customer requirements into solutions,' said David Farrell, President of Burleigh Instruments, a wholly owned subsidiary of EXFO.

'Our new ProAlign 5000 Component Assembly Workstation redefines what an assembly workstation should be for the global telecommunications industry.

'It provides photonics component manufacturers with the most advanced solution on the market today.' About EXFO EXFO, which derives its name from EXpertise in Fiber Optics, is a leading designer and manufacturer of fiber-optic test, measurement, monitoring and automation solutions for the global telecommunications industry.

EXFO markets more than 80 product families to 2000 customers in 70 countries around the world.

EXFO and its subsidiaries develop products for two main markets.

The Portable and Monitoring Division provides handheld and modular instruments for the physical-, optical- and protocol-layer testing needs of telecommunications carriers and network service providers.

The Industrial and Scientific Division offers an extensive line of high-performance instruments, test automation systems and manufacturing automation equipment for optical component and transmission system vendors as well as for research and development labs.