Published August 16, 2011
Volume 19, Number 8

Omron Network Products, Fiber Optics Specialists, Expands to Hacienda 
Company Brings Engineering, Manufacturing Capabilities to Park, Along with a Class 10,000 Cleanroom 

An Omron employee works on specialized equipment in the
company’s Hacienda manufacturing facility.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

Omron Network Products (OMP) moved to Hacienda in June to increase the manufacturing capacity for its advanced fiber optic modules. Part of the fit-up of Omron's new 17,725 square foot space at 5700 Stoneridge Drive is a class 10,000 cleanroom that houses the production of integrated optical assemblies. Designed for professional audio/video markets, the optical modules are used to send high-definition video signals over a single strand of fiber.

Realizing that the diameter of each fiber optic strand is just 50 microns—roughly that of a human hair—helps to put this accomplishment in perspective.

“Single fiber is not easy to do,” states OMP Director of Marketing Martin Smith. It is significant, he explains, “because high-definition video signals are pretty complex. There are multiple data streams in one video signal, and we can send multiple lines of data, bi-directionally, on a single fiber. Our competitors have to use multiple fibers or a combination of fiber and copper. We have a patented architecture that has made us the leader in the transmission of high-definition video on a single fiber.”

Applications for the technology run the gamut from the automated home to medical imaging. For example, a radiologist in her office in one area of a hospital can view and consult in real-time on a procedure being performed in the operating room three floors below through a live video feed. “Even over a few hundred meters, the bandwidth required by HD video makes transmission extremely difficult over copper wire,” Smith comments.

ONP's production space is a sophisticated, controlled, ESD (electrostatic discharge)-safe environment. Gown-up is required before entry, and it takes skilled employees to operate the high-precision equipment that makes the modules.

The other side of the house presents a different picture. “Ours is a high-tech, collaborative, innovation-based corporate culture,” Smith relates. The open-landscape office area is filled with engineering cubicles, but ping pong and foosball tables and a few X-box units reflect the emphasis on creativity. “There is a lot of working while walking around,” Smith says.

The new facility, more than twice the size of the company's previous location, currently accommodates roughly 50 employees but has enough space for the 25 to 50 new positions expected to be created over the next few years as ONP forges ahead in high growth mode.

“The next generation products that we will be designing and manufacturing at our new facility will change the way the industry looks at fiber solutions,” ONP President Brian Peters has promised. “Our new products will make upgrading long-reach equipment to HDMI, Display Port, and other high definition protocols significantly easier and more robust than ever before.”

ONP is an Americas subsidiary of the Japan-based Omron Corp., which has grown over the past 75 years into a $7.5 billion global leading supplier of electronics and control system components and services. For more information, visit www.omron.com.


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