BluGlass (ASX:BLG) - commercial scaling milestone

Interviews

by Rachael Jones

BluGlass Limited (ASX:BLG) Managing Director and CEO Giles Bourne gives an update on the commissioning of the BLG 500 at Silverwater, strategic alliances and product roadmap.

Rachael Jones: Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Today, I'm speaking with CEO and MD of BluGlass (ASX:BLG), Giles Bourne. Giles, welcome back to FNN.

Giles Bourne: Thanks, Rachael.

Rachael Jones: Now congratulations on the commissioning of the BLG 500. Can you tell our viewers what this is and why it's such an important milestone?

Giles Bourne: Yeah, so the BLG 500 is the culmination of two years’ worth of work, where we introduced RPCVD into the largest platform ever. So, it's a commercial-scale tool that will be widely used in the industry. We've done this in collaboration with our partner Aixtron. It's an Aixtron-based equipment. They've helped us develop this tool. We've just commissioned that tool, so that's now up and running as producing material, and it's now going through performance testing. So, we expect it to contribute to our roadmap. It is going to be a novel technology. It's applying RPCVD in a way it hasn't been done before. So, it's pretty exciting. It's a huge amount of effort from our engineers and our scientists to get to this point, and we're now seeing the fruits of that labour.

Rachael Jones: And you've been awarded a co-funded innovation grant of $250,000. Can you tell me more about this and the aim of the project?

Giles Bourne: Sure. So, this is from our manufacturing growth centre, and it's really to help with the plasma source, to get a more dense plasma source, which will contribute to our main projects, through the LED and the laser diode. So, it's going to be applied to our smaller tools, the BLG 300, and it's a year-long program, and we do expect it to make a contribution to our roadmap, both technical and commercial.

Rachael Jones: Now, as a high-tech manufacturer of RPCVD manufacturing, can you tell me about the processing as a leader in that field?

Giles Bourne: The RPCVD is a unique technology. We've been working on it for a number of years. And what we've discovered is numerous applications for our technology. And for a long time we were looking at how we could license out the technology. But recently, within the last year and a half or so, we realised that there were some opportunities to apply our technology on a product-based strategy. So, rather than looking at a licensing, looking at actually manufacturing a device where we could control the supply chain and actually selling that device.

So, we now have more of this dual strategy. We continue working with our partners and licensing. And this is for LED and micro LED applications. But this laser diode device that we've been talking about a lot recently in the last year is one where we know that we can manufacture with our installed base. We can control the supply chain. We know what the customers want. We know what the roadmap looks like, both technical and commercial. And we have some per cent very precise timings of when we expect to introduce products. So, product this year, revenue next year from that. So that's something we've been establishing over the last year. It's well in place now, and we're marching along our roadmap.

Rachael Jones: And you've opened a new test centre in New Hampshire in the US. What can you tell me about what's taking place there?

Giles Bourne: So, as part of the supply chain for laser diodes, all the science really happens in Australia. So, the epitaxy on our reactors happens in Australia. Then we send out the material through our supply chain for processing. There's mechanical processing that happens to this material to turn it into laser diodes. And the very end of that process, it ends up in our processing facility in New Hampshire, which is where the testing happens, the QA, and the product will then be shipped from New Hampshire. And that facility is driven by our general manager of laser diodes, who's called Brad Siskavich, who's been with us for a number of years now, and we're hiring into that business in New Hampshire. So, we're putting in some extra technical expertise there, but that will be a major contributor to our supply chain, ultimately shipping products from there.

Rachael Jones: And recently BluGlass issued some shares under the COVID-19 Compensation Program. Can you tell me about that?

Giles Bourne: Like any business, we want to make sure we were well-funded to get through this interesting and challenging period we're going through. So, we did go back to shareholders and ask them to support the business. But to show our commitment to that business, because we're true believers in the RPCVD technology and what BluGlass is doing, the whole of the board, the management and the staff took between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of our salary in BluGlass shares for this three-month period to really just emphasise that we are entirely committed to the outcome of this business. And so shareholders appreciated that enormously. We were able to get the business funded and funded through the commercialisation phase.

Rachael Jones: And to the last question now, Giles, what can shareholders expect over this financial year?

Giles Bourne: Aside from the LED and micro LED, which we'll continue to work with with our partners, it really is a laser diode-focused business in the short term. And that really is about meeting our technical goals. So, we expect to have products launched -- and I say, products, multiple products launched this year -- and then into revenue next year. BluGlass needs an established revenue stream really to get this technology on the map, and we see this as the way to do it. Continue to work with our partners as well, but really for our investors, for our stakeholders, is really looking out to that laser diode roadmap.

Rachael Jones: Giles Bourne, thanks so much for the update today.

Giles Bourne: Thank you very much, Rachael.


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