It's an idea we like — one stop shopping. Saves us time, money, energy, and gives us a chance to visualize an entire project as it is mapped out across multiple disciplines. Think of a typical home kitchen renovation — it affects tile, cabinetry, hardware, flooring, appliances, paint, windows, doors and more. Usually, all of these components can be selected, compared, ordered, and purchased from one source, which is often housed in one location. And, there are levels of expertise to draw upon throughout the entire process.
What is vertical integration in optics?
It's a genuine advantage — for customers and optical suppliers. In a sense, it provides one-stop shopping for optical assemblies, which tend to have fairly complex designs. These assemblies require a multi-step approach to manufacture, and often must have unique optical materials and unique coatings. There are labor-intensive assembly procedures, testing that requires good metrology tools, and staff with finely tuned expertise available and involved for each step of the process. Vertical integration in optics requires dedication to collaboration and communication across multiple disciplines.