Dispelix is involved in developing the next wave of digital reality. The Photonics Center, which will open after the summer, will support growth by bringing together actors in photonics, in the Joensuu region.
Dispelix manufactures augmented reality displays. In addition to its own DPX product family, the company produces tailored display components: Potential customers include global giants in phone manufacturing and social media content production, says VP of Manufacturing and Manufacturing Development Petri Stenberg.
– Our components are suitable for wearable computers and AR glasses. The market is now focusing on spectacle type AR glasses. This is probably the product group that will open the wider market, explains Stenberg.
He continues that Dispelix differentiates itself from the competitors with its design and the lightness of its display components. One of the company’s strengths is the display optics design tool, developed by the company itself, which is not commercially available to other actors. The display’s light is controlled by nanostructures, the design and manufacture of which is a special expertise of Dispelix.
– Lightness is particularly important in wearable devices. Because we have R&D and pre-production in-house, we can easily pilot products to see if they can be exported to series production. For us, the path from design to production is flexible.
Augmented reality is a global sector, and Dispelix’s playing field is practically the whole world. The company has offices in the United States and China; in Finland, the company operates in Espoo and Joensuu, as the domestic equipment stock and clean spaces can be found in these cities.
Services, shared equipment, and networks under one roof
Dispelix’s operations in Joensuu will be located in the Photonics Center, which will open after the summer. The Photonics Center is a center that promotes the photonics sector in the region, by bringing together shared equipment, experts, and companies.
– We wish to apply the one-stop-shop principle: If a photonics company wants to launch operations in Joensuu, Photonics Center is a natural starting point and a resource for starting growth, explains Juha Purmonen, Development Manager Photonics Business Growth Program at Business Joensuu.
The center offers facilities and equipment, specialised in photonics, such as an active alignment device for connecting camera optics and sensors. Technology needed for production and development can be a challenge for many start-up photonics companies.
– Procurement may be difficult to justify, because although certain devices are useful, they are also expensive and may be used relatively rarely. Photonics Center lowers the threshold by offering shared equipment.
For Stenberg at Dispelix, the selling points of Photonics Center are clear: A cooperation network between various photonics actors, the equipment stock of the center, the University of Eastern Finland, and research in the field.
– Shared visibility to photonics is important for building the sector and networking. I am also very much looking forward to the participation of other companies and the synergism that they bring. This will also challenge us all in a healthy way: The companies in Silicon Valley have proved that competition is not a bad thing. Growth is created through cooperation, not by jealously protecting one’s own.
Dispelix is growing fast: Stenberg estimates that the company’s personnel will double by the coming autumn.
– Our goal is to be an important supplier of display components when the consumer market begins to open up. We are a highly specialised company and already a fairly well-sized operator in our own sector. Therefore, we are in a good position for the future.
Growth lane for photonics companies
Joensuu has a strong reputation in the field of photonics experts and education, says Stenberg; a significant proportion of Dispelix employees have also studied in the photonics master’s and doctoral programmes of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF).
– Joensuu’s business activities and reputation in the field have clearly increased in recent years, and it is starting to appear as a hub city. Several top experts have studied in the UEF and, since then, been employed in significant companies around the world, which will certainly boost the city’s reputation.
Purmonen at Business Joensuu, sees Dispelix as a great pioneer company that can use Photonics Center to seek an even more rapid growth. The photonics industry is growing faster, both in Finland and around the world, than other industries, says Purmonen, so sky is the limit.
– Dispelix has already found great ways to utilise our supply, and I believe that this will continue. Overall, I believe Photonics Center provides companies with a great opportunity to recruit the sector’s top experts in Finland. When I talk with my European colleagues, the same themes keep repeating: The shortage of experts is real and optics designers, in particular, are very much sought after. Joensuu has already been put on the map, but with Photonics Center we want to be brought up in more and more discussions, both in Finland and around the world.
VP of Manufacturing and Manufacturing Development
Tel. +358 44 242 0554
Development Manager, Photonics Business Growth Program
Business Joensuu Oy
Tel. +358 50 354 3832
Photo: Jarno Artika