BluGlass (ASX:BLG) launches laser diode business


by Ortenzia Borre

BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG) Managing Director and CEO, Giles Bourne, discusses the launch of the company's new laser diode business and how this fits into its strategy.

Ortenzia Borre: Hello. I'm Ortenzia Borre for the Finance News Network. Joining me is Managing Director of BluGlass (ASX:BLG), Giles Bourne. Giles, welcome back.

Giles Bourne: Thank you, Ortenzia. It's good to be back.

Ortenzia Borre: Giles, BluGlass has just announced that it's launched a laser diode business. Can you tell us why you've done this and how it fits into your strategy?

Giles Bourne: So, the laser diode market is a very big market in itself. It's a multibillion-dollar market. We've looked at this market for a number of years, and we see that we can actually apply the work that we've been doing in LEDs into laser diodes. So, specifically, this material we call "active as grown epitaxy for tunnel junctions" applies directly to the laser diode. But the key thing about the technology that we're working on, it helps to lower the manufacturing costs for the manufacturers of laser diodes, reduces the optical loss for these devices as well, and it effectively just pushes up the performance of the device, and that is absolutely the critical component.

So, the areas that we've been looking at were there's a number of applications, such as the industrial cutting and welding market, there's display, there's automotive, there's scientific.

The interesting thing about laser diodes as well, it's a much more valuable market than LEDs. So, it's got a much, much higher selling price, you know, greater margins for us as well. Slightly lower volumes, which means that we can actually manufacture the device in our facility in Silverwater. We don't have to go and bring on new equipment. We can use the existing installed base to do this. So, we'll be doing the device manufacturing, selling the laser diode itself. So, slightly different business model, but allows us to enter the market and capture more value.

Ortenzia Borre: And when can you expect to launch your first products?

Giles Bourne: So, the plan is to actually have a technical demonstration of the laser diode product in 2020, and then actually launch products during the course of next calendar year as well, and then grow the revenue through '21 onwards.

This is underpinned by some IP that we've developed over time. So, we've developed a nice suite of patents around the RPCVD, but specifically around the tunnel junction technology. So, we'll continue to build on that as we go. And this business itself is going to be driven by our Senior Vice President of Business Development over on the east coast of the US, by the name of Brad Siskavich, and he's been involved in the laser diode business for many, many years now, knows this industry very well. So, he'll be driving this business forward for us, but we see this as an opportunity for us in calendar year 2020.

Ortenzia Borre: And what does this mean for your other business activities? Will you still be developing your tunnel junctions and cascade LEDs?

Giles Bourne: Oh, very much so. You know, all the other businesses that we've been talking about will continue as we've already talked about in the past. You know, we've put a lot of effort into our tunnel junction cascade LED for the LED industry. We recently announced we were working with Bridgelux, and we expect other strategic partnerships to come into play as well. So, in no way will the laser diode business dilute our efforts in the other activities, but the laser diode fits in very nicely with what we're doing, and it doesn't send us off onto a tangent, it just sits squarely within our strategy.

Ortenzia Borre: That all sounds very exciting, Giles. Can you tell us what have investors got to look forward to for the last half of the financial year?

Giles Bourne: So, there's many things we are doing. One of the things this year has been upgrading our facility, and that's nearly complete. The actual infrastructure is all in place. The last of those tools comes online at the end of this calendar year. It's a G4, it's a much bigger tool. That will come online and give us greater capacity as well, and demonstrate the scaling of our technology. Continue working on our strategic partnerships. Bridgelux, I've already mentioned. We'll continue to work on other activities, like the micro LED, and then the equipment partners, such as Aixtron. There's many things happening during this last half of this year. Underpinning this is a suite of patents, and we'll continue to build on that. We are filing more applications, more patents have been granted, like the one recently granted for the tunnel junction technology. So, there's lots of things happening. Sticking to our core technology, really about capitalising on the tunnel junctions, and this laser diode business fits in very nicely with that strategy.

Ortenzia Borre: Giles Bourne, thank you so much for joining us again on the Finance News Network and updating us on where BluGlass is.

Giles Bourne: Thank you, Ortenzia.


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