Skyrocketing growth in the polymer optical fiber industry prompted Boston Optical Fiber Inc. to move into a larger facility. The newly leased facility in Westborough, Mass., houses the company's expanded research and development laboratory and additional extrusion manufacturing lines.
Officials declined to provide details about the investment or expansion.
Boston Optical employs about 30. It manufactures several products, including Optilight illumination products; Optimega, a POF that allows 300 megabits per second over 100 meters; and its newest product, Optigiga, which allows 3 gigabits per second over 100 meters.
Karl Bergstrom, vice president of sales and marketing for Boston Optical, said that some of the company's newest technological breakthroughs in POF have allowed it to move into the data communications market.
``The big play in the market now is for the horizontal subsystems within office buildings,'' he said.
POF is used primarily for office local-area networks.
``About 95 percent of office LANs are less than 100 meters, making POF applications ideal,'' Bergstrom said.
General glass-optical-fiber networks bring the communications systems to the building, but POF can be used inside the building, Bergstrom said. One of the primary benefits of using POF is that, unlike copper wiring, the material does not create electromagnetic or radio frequency interference, which can interfere with computers and other communications devices.
Also, POF costs less to install. Unlike glass optical fiber, which uses high-cost thermoset connectors, POF can use lower-cost injection molded connectors. Because the size of POF is much larger in diameter than glass, it is easier to handle and alignment issues are not as critical.
Boston Optical Fiber is a member of the High Speed Plastic Network, a consortium of companies including Boeing Co. and Honeywell Inc. The network was established a little more than a year ago to specify, design, produce and market advanced plastic-optical-fiber-based components and systems.
Bergstrom sees the market for POF growing rapidly, and believes that will necessitate another move in the near future to accommodate increased demand for the company's products.
``We plan to expand very quickly,'' he said.