Interview with Richard Teo from Aerotech Inc.

  • Richard Teo - Director, Asia Pacific

GoPhotonics interviewed Richard Teo, the Director of Asia Pacific at Aerotech Inc. Currently serving as the Director of Asia Pacific at Aerotech Inc., Richard leads the company's strategic initiatives and operations across the region. His career is marked by a proven track record of driving growth and enhancing operational efficiency in highly competitive environments.

With over 20 years of experience in motion and control technologies for precision, industrial, and government/education markets, Richard is skilled in International Business, Sales & Operations Management, and Business Development. Richard holds an Honors Degree in Business Administration and Management from the National University of Ireland.

Can you tell us about Aerotech? When was the company founded and what was the objective?

Richard Teo: Founded in 1970, Aerotech Inc. is committed to delivering high-precision motion control and automation solutions. From the beginning, we've been driven by a passion for precision and innovation, aiming to meet the ever-evolving needs of modern manufacturers. We specialize in cutting-edge technologies for diverse industries, including semiconductor manufacturing, laser processing, and medical device fabrication. We are committed to pushing technological boundaries to ensure our solutions are not just reliable and fast, but also incredibly precise. We pride ourselves on being customer-focused, taking the time to truly understand and exceed each client's unique requirements. Our goal is to empower businesses with solutions that boost efficiency and productivity, helping them thrive in today’s fast-paced market.

Can you tell us about product portfolio for the Photonics & Optical sector?

Richard TeoOur product portfolio for the Photonics & Optical sector offers precision motion control and advanced mechatronics, ensuring nanometer-level accuracy to meet the tightest tolerances. We excel in automating test, inspection, alignment, assembly, and packaging tasks for Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs), Silicon Photonics (SiPh), and micro-optics. With optimized designs, we enhance throughput, maximizing productivity without sacrificing accuracy. Additionally, our extensive experience and global support network minimize implementation risk, providing peace of mind for all our customers’ automation needs.

What market segments use these products? Which segment is the largest for you?

Richard TeoOur products cater to a wide variety of market segments, as far-reaching as aerospace, data storage, semiconductor manufacturing, laser processing, medical device fabrication, and research laboratories. While all these industries benefit from our precision motion control solutions, semiconductor manufacturing stands out as our largest market segment due to its stringent demands for accuracy and reliability in production processes.

Can you tell us about your Gimbals & Optical Mounts? What are these used for? What makes your Gimbals and optical mounts different from other manufacturers?

Richard TeoAerotech's gimbals and optical mounts are trusted in advanced applications where precision and stability are paramount. Designed to handle large payloads and high dynamics, our motorized gimbals offer exceptional feedback resolution, ensuring velocity stability, in-position stability, and small-step performance. This makes them ideal for directing optical components, lasers, antennas, sensors, and precise pointing angles. Our solutions deliver two- or three-axis motion with a comprehensive range of standard options and can also be custom-designed by our motion control experts to suit the customer’s requirements. What sets us apart is our ability to combine speed and precision with the capacity to manage very large loads, meeting the unique demands of each application.

Can you tell us more about your process-specific products? - Specially those for the Photonics / Fiber Optics sector and Laser Machining.

Richard TeoOur process-specific products are designed for high-precision, multi-axis applications, meeting the stringent demands of the photonics, fiber optics, and laser machining sectors. We collaborate with industry leaders to understand their unique process needs, then develop tailored solutions that combine precision motion with market expertise.

One of our highlights for the photonics sector is the FiberMax®HP Multi-Axis Photonics Alignment System. Based on our ANT nanopositioning product line, this platform supports three to six axes for critical photonics alignment in 24/7 production environments, ensuring unparalleled speed, accuracy, and resolution. In the laser machining sector, our LaserTurn®1 cylindrical laser machining system stands out among the competition. It is capable of delicately handling materials ranging from 0.1-7.9 mm in diameter, making it particularly ideal for manufacturing cardiovascular and neural stents. The system is versatile, configurable for both wet and dry cutting, and includes options for material advance and bushing alignment platforms. The integrated linear-rotary system combines automated material handling with high-performance direct-drive linear and rotary motion, ensuring precision and efficiency in every operation.

Can you tell us about some interesting applications in the Optical/Photonics sector where your products have been used?

Richard TeoAerotech's products play a crucial role in the Optical and Photonics sector, delivering unmatched precision and efficiency. We help our customers automate manual processes with precision, which is essential for the miniaturization of modern devices. Our equipment is used for fiber alignment, optical probing and testing, and device assembly. As devices have become considerably smaller over the past 20 years, achieving precision in design, fabrication, and manufacturing has become more critical than ever. Without precise, repeatable motion control, the small moves required for device placement cannot be achieved, leading to transmission loss and degraded performance. 

Together with our partners, we developed a new integrated photonic test automation solution to create a complete testing and assembly solution for integrated photonics, accelerating the transition from lab to fab. Despite advances in photonic integrated circuits, testing and manufacturing remain challenging due to a lack of standard tools. Aerotech’s solutions streamline processes, reducing delays and simplifying complexities, and enabling smooth scaling and migration across various test or manufacturing benches.  This underscores the profound impact of our precision automation solutions in the photonics sector, delivering substantial overhead reductions and elevating product quality.

How is 2024 looking for Aerotech? Are there any new products planned for this sector this year?

Richard Teo2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Aerotech. With inflation under control and an expected increase in demand for 3C products, we anticipate a dynamic market landscape. Additionally, we are committed to further expanding our footprint in the APAC region, leveraging our new manufacturing facility in Korea as a key strategic asset. Through investments in technology and talent (R&D), we aim to contribute to the growth of automation and motion control solutions across various industries in the APAC region. We are set to have several software updates and new launches in the months ahead, and these innovations will continue to push the boundaries of precision, speed, and reliability, addressing the evolving needs of our customers.

About Aerotech

Since 1970, Aerotech Inc. has been the global industry leader in precision motion control and automation. From standard positioning technologies and control systems to custom-designed automation systems, Aerotech products support research and industrial organizations worldwide. Aerotech solutions enable manufacturing, testing, and inspection processes on a micrometer and nanometer scale for the world’s best-known technology companies in industries such as aerospace, consumer electronics, and medical devices.