SAN DIEGO - A Pavilion, N.Y., injection molder is preparing for a major rollout of a new wave of security equipment for limiting access to computers and the Internet.
Syntec Technologies Inc. is molding special parts that read and authenticate users' fingerprints. Major computer makers plan to start selling the equipment in September, according to the company.
``We are very quickly becoming a large player in the polymer-optics market,'' said Paul Tolley, Syntec's vice president and general manager.
``Fingerprints are the way to go,'' Tolley said. ``Retinal scan is not being actively accepted by the consumer.''
Syntec works closely with publicly traded Identix Inc. of Los Gatos, Calif., which developed the technology. Syntec handles design, toolmaking and molding to make the prism and other components for the project.
``Our material knowledge has opened up new avenues for polymers to be used in optical applications,'' he said. ``We use a couple of materials that no other polymer-optics company is using.''
The newest product fits into a computer port. A card optic pops out when depressed, and a user places a finger on the plastic lens in the identification process. The next phase in a series of products involves an optical reader built into the front portion of a keyboard.
Syntec's business ``is going to explode'' with these launches, Tolley said at the Optical Science and Technology Exhibition, held July 31-Aug. 2 in San Diego.
Syntec operates 10 injection molding presses of 31-187 tons. The company and its subsidiary, Rochester Tool & Mold in Rochester, N.Y., employ 72 in two facilities and had 2000 sales of $12 million. Tolley projects $15 million this year, ``even in a downturn economy.''
Millennium Ventures LLC of Boston acquired Syntec in 1999. The plastics processor had operated for nearly two decades as Syntec Custom Molders, mostly making tight-tolerance gears with engineering resins.
``Optics is the new direction for injection molding in the United States,'' Tolley said. ``A lot of tight-tolerance molding with engineering resins is moving offshore. The Far East, unfortunately, is catching up to us on standard molding technology. We need to stay one step ahead. Optics is where it is going.''
Syntec had ``made a conscious effort to get into biomedical'' optics for uses such as blood analysis, Tolley said.
``They need disposable lenses. They can't use glass. They need good-quality, cheap lenses.''