Zeiss sets up new photonics unit

Zeiss, one of the oldest and largest optical technology companies in the world, has decided to establish a new business unit consolidating a broad array of applications, ranging from planetarium optics to spectroscopy.

Known as “Zeiss Photonics & Optics”, the division will include existing businesses outside of the four main Zeiss segments, employ around 900 people, and represent annual sales in the region of €200 million.

That is equivalent to around 2 per cent of the broader Zeiss operation, which posted annual sales of more than €10 billion last year, and is dominated by applications in semiconductor manufacturing, microscopy, industrial quality control, and research.

Specific businesses moving from the firm’s existing consumer products division will include those dedicated to cinematography, mobile imaging, photography, and optics for hunting and nature observation.

They will be joined by Zeiss’ efforts in micro-optics, spectroscopy, planetariums, and simulation projection solutions, and the combined activities will be based out of locations in Germany, Hungary, the UK, the US, India, and China.

Brand value
Starting operations in October this year, the new division will be headed up by André Kutz, currently the Zeiss head of strategic corporate development, and Bernhard Ohnesorge, who represents the firm’s “shared production unit” on the management board.

“Both have international experience in strategic development and in building and growing new and smaller businesses with a strong focus on technology and innovation,” stated Zeiss, with CFO Stefan Müller – who will have executive responsibility for the new division – adding:

“The establishment of Zeiss Photonics & Optics provides the appropriate environment for these smaller, specialized units with management, culture, and business supporting functions tailored to their needs.

“The goal of this new strategic business unit is to make the individual businesses thrive economically and to support the further development of the Zeiss brand.”

Zeiss highlighted the significance of the different consumer-facing elements of the new business to the wider Zeiss brand, pointing out that more than 20 million people visit a Zeiss planetarium annually, while over 15 million use Zeiss optics for mobile photography.

“Films produced with Zeiss lenses fascinate audiences worldwide in theaters and on streaming platforms,” added the firm. “Micro-optical high-performance innovations like multifunctional glass from Jena, presented at the CES in Las Vegas in 2024, will have broad applications in the automotive and smart home industries.”