A Plymouth tech firm is set to create 24 jobs. Artemis Optical has secured a £230,000 grant towards high-tech equipment, a move that is set to double the current workforce of 29. The firm, based at Langage Science Park designs and manufactures high-precision optical filters, including laser protection filters for the American military.
The funding will help finance the £800,000 installation of an ion-beam assisted deposition coating chamber and ancillary equipment, enabling the company to continue to develop state-of-the-art products for medical instrumentation, research, security and space technology. Nick Hurst, Executive Chairman of Artemis Optical, said: "Keeping up with demand is a challenge, especially when we are already working on the edge of technology. We are therefore exploring ways to work with the manufacturers of coating equipment to develop their technology to be able to support the innovations that our customers demand. The directors are also looking at how Artemis builds on its reputation for technology and innovation by increasing its manufacturing capability and capacity." Market research has identified increasing demand for complex thin-film coatings. This type of next-generation technology requires higher levels of precision, quality and consistency, especially in the laser protection market.
The £10.5bn UK photonics sector is a significant international supplier and innovator, with unique strengths operating in a distinct business environment, creating growth opportunities, according to industry research. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is a major 21st century science discipline, revolutionising medicine and opening up international communication.
The project is funded by the South West Growth Fund through the Government's Regional Growth Fund initiative designed to kick-start investment and create jobs in the south west. Mr Hurst explained that Artemis made a strategic decision to diversify into new markets and compete fully to win new business in existing markets. He said directors believe that adopting this strategy and adapting their pricing model make the business more competitive and profitable.
Artemis is growing at around 40% a year by providing customers with its world-leading products and expertise in photonics, a sector specifically earmarked by UKTI as a technology growth area. Mr Hurst said: "The investment is important in an area where unemployment is a concern – it will also help the business secure its position as a world leader in its markets." The company has a vision to become the technological leader in each of its chosen market niches, and aims to grow profitably through the development of new products into new markets. Its mission is to be one of the photonics industry's most advanced manufacturers.
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