G&H moves up the customer value chain with Boston fiber optic consolidation
It has long been the stated aim of G&H to constantly improve the value it delivers to customers by investing in diversification and consolidation.
As our CEO Mark Webster stated in our 2021 full year results, we remain “committed to… moving up the value chain”, and we’re delighted to announce our latest achievement in this respect, with the successful consolidation of our US fiber optic component manufacturing operation under one roof in Boston, MA.
For our customers and partners, particularly in the strategically critical aerospace and defense (A&D) market, this means vertically integrated production and frictionless supply; one easily accessible port of call for active, passive, fused, and planar fiber optic components – and the trademark G&H technical expertise and manufacturing excellence that accompanies them.
Why the focus on fiber optic?
For our A&D customers in particular, fused and other fiber optic components – and the assemblies and subsystems G&H can develop around them – play an immensely important role in the products they supply to their end-users.
They are mission-critical in, amongst other applications, inertial navigation platforms (fiber gyros), communications networks (microwave over fiber), and directed energy weapons (DEWs).
This is a market experiencing strong expansion. Global A&D spend is expected to increase from $700.30 billion in 2021 to $755.24 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8%, according to some industry analysts, and the ability to produce both active and passive fiber optic A&D components at scale yet at consistent quality in the Boston facility will help move our customers’ own value proposition up a gear in this space.
At the same time, fiber optic components are evolving rapidly, and the Boston facility enables G&H to both produce, in-house, the materials required for these deliverables, and to manufacture them in volume.
Chip-based planar components that provide new ways to split light down into multiple streams without the physical bulk and weight of separate couplers are a particular focus for G&H in this arena, for example.
A proud past moves forward…
The consolidation in Boston wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the forerunner Baltimore operation that not only successfully moved fiber optic manufacturing to Boston amid a Covid pandemic, but allowed many of its experts to transfer to the Boston facility at the same time.
The result was a rapid move into productivity, with Boston shipping its first Baltimore-designed fiber-optic module to a customer before Christmas, and shipping of the first polarizing-maintaining (PM) couplers expected this quarter, at the time of writing.
…with more innovation to come
By consolidating US fiber optic manufacturing in Boston, and having all the relevant experts in one place, we have also created an environment where innovation can thrive.
This is a theme that’s close to our hearts, and one that we have championed across the business in many other ways, including with the recent opening of our Optical Systems Innovation Hub.
In Boston, one of the advances that innovation will imminently deliver is the production of fiber optic isolators, passive devices that prevent back-reflections and back-scattering of light in optical fibers, minimizing interference and protecting sensitive optical parts.
These are critical ingredients in many A&D systems and demand for them is expected to be high. However, innovation never stands still at G&H, so expect updates on further new developments in Boston over the course of the coming year – and beyond.