This focus has helped the company grow rapidly at an average annual growth rate of 16 percent, while accounting for 13 percent of the revenues of the total market in 2007.
The company's recent innovation, the patented high refraction diamond turning (HRDT) technology, is ideal for optics applications that require high refraction, heat resistance, and near infrared (NIR) properties. The HRDT enables direct diamond turning of polymers such as Ultem™ to a surface as smooth as 60 angstroms, while conventional diamond turning can only produce a surface with an average smoothness of 400 angstroms, insufficient for precision optics.
“The technology reduces the total development cost of these optics applications by almost five times by drastically reducing the time and cost of prototype cycles,” explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Deepan Kannan. 'With HRDT you can create high performance and thermal resistant prototypes in a matter of days rather than the more typical best case of eight to twelve weeks for each cycle”.
To back up the HRDT technology, Syntec has developed proprietary software that monitors and controls harmonic balancing of the DT machine and the part being turned. This will help the company create uniform and precise surfaces that exceed customer demands.
Syntec is equally adept at innovative use of available materials. It produces tooling using advanced alloys such as CuNi that offer better thermally transmissive properties, which, in turn, enables greater control of heat exchange between molds and parts. The company has also developed new custom blends of polymers l that have optical uses even in the lower ultraviolet (UV) and NIR range. This benefit significantly expands the range of possible end-user applications.
Another example of its zeal to innovate is Syntec's proprietary methodology for precisely compensating for the shrinkage of a part with respect to its insert. This technique provides more freedom during the process optimization phase of mold development to help produce more accurate, highly repeatable parts at lower cycle times. It also allows Syntec to achieve lower reject rates and tooling maintenance costs by avoiding the extreme time/heat/pressure processing parameters needed to compensate for the imprecise shrinkage estimates provided by plastic material manufacturers.
Paul Tolley, Syntec's VP/GM notes, “ Hybrid solutions are another important concept -- improving the overall performance of optics solutions by combining polymers and other materials like glass, to achieve difficult customer objectives, for instance, very light weight but also high durability in extreme conditions. By being open to this hybrid concept, Syntec can consistently re-engineer a traditional optical assembly to become a lower cost solution that has superior quality and performance.”
Syntec has increased the recognized value of its solutions by offering excellent service.. It works with customers to reduce shipping costs and lowers the delivery time through precise coordination of multiple orders and corresponding deadlines.
While glass optics is a well-established market, large segments can now be served more cost effectively with plastics, for example defense. In working to maintain or even accelerate its growth rate, Syntec focuses on these segments but even more on new applications where polymers are the only real solution. It is currently concentrating on medical applications where non-invasive requirements are exploding and the promising biometric device market, especially in developing nations, which offers opportunities for applications such as voter registration, border control, and mineral wealth industries. Because of its proven success in solving key portability issues, Syntec enjoys an advantage in overseas markets.
“Syntec also strives for greater market reach to enhance profitability by manufacturing products that meet new technology demands as 'green' alternatives,” adds Tolley. “The company's commitment to design and produce components for light emitting diode (LED) lighting systems and solar light concentrators showcases its ability to anticipate industry trends and deliver sustainable solutions that benefit both customers and society.”
The company has devised many creative ways to create brand awareness about its diverse and inventive processes for manufacturing excellence. One such tactic is the maintenance of interactive, up-to-date web resources, while another is specialized trade advertising that allows Syntec to target specific customers and educate them on the distinctive advantages of polymer optics.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing and sustaining growth within shipments, revenues, and profitability.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About Syntec Optics
Syntec Optics (syntecoptics.com) is the largest independent manufacturer of custom plastic optics in North America — one custom lens or a million. Services are all “in-house” and include design, tooling, production, integrated assembly services and full metrology. With hundreds of completed engagements, customers worldwide can rely on skilled teamwork for high performance, low cost outcomes that push the polymer envelope.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's TEAM Research, Growth Consulting and Growth Team Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents.