Wavelength Opto-Electronic Singapore Pte Ltd (WOE), a local SME manufacturing components for the optics industry, worked with SIMTech on several collaborations ranging from the Operational Technology Roadmap (OTR), the development of the Vacuum Laser Calorimetry System (MatCalorie™) to the secondment of SIMTech researchers through T-Up.
In 2007, WOE carried out OTR to develop long-term step-by-step strategy for business growth. Through OTR, WOE identified several key Laser and Optics technologies for future business growth and developed a five-year roadmap. The OTR exercise proved to be very successful, with many trends projected in the roadmap coming to fruition.
As the market continued to change rapidly, WOE worked with A*STAR under its enhanced OTR initiative. The enhanced OTR enabled the company to identify new key initiatives, such as Industry 4.0 connectivity solutions, intelligent optics development, security and safety systems development, and the setting up of a rapid prototyping unit. The enhanced OTR exercise also outlined key R&D plans, such as recruiting additional R&D staff and applying for patents, as well as overseas expansion plans.
Laser optics manufacturers, such as WOE, need to conduct quality control and verify the absorption rate of the coating and bulk properties of their laser optics components. However, there are no commercial systems available for absorption coefficient measurement of CO2 laser optics at 1μm and 10.6μm, and companies typically have to send their components to overseas state institutes for such coating quality measurement. To resolve this problem, WOE worked with SIMTech, from 2011 to 2013, to develop the Vacuum Laser Calorimetry System (MatCalorie™) which can conduct the required measurements. WOE subsequently licensed this technology from A*STAR to use it in-house.
In 2016, the company tapped into A*STAR’s T-Up initiative to enhance the MatCalorie™. The seconded SIMTech researcher helped to expand the range of applications of the calorimeter, automate the entire measurement process, as well as add on the industry 4.0 traceability system to monitor the system's health. Through this secondment, WOE has filed a patent application.
The calorimeter has enabled the company to promptly conduct quality control for their products, reducing cost and lead time, as well as enabling them to rectify any detected flaws quickly. Since the calorimeter was implemented in its production lines for grading lens quality, the company’s annual sales have increased by more than 20 percent. The system is also useful to other companies facing similar challenges, and potential clients from countries like Japan, France and China have already expressed interest in it.