Story 14: asphericon over the years

Back in 2001, smartphones were still just cell phones or mobiles, all cars ran on combustion engines, and the batch production of aspheres was almost too difficult to contemplate. But in Jena, two young founders with other ideas joined forces– and successfully set up the batch production of aspheres. They went on to exceed their goal many times over – and of course, several other things at asphericon have changed in the intervening 20 years. Join us as we take a look back at asphericon then and now

They’re still young today, undeniably – they just look a little more mature 😉: asphericon’s CEOs, Sven Kiontke and Alexander Zschäbitz, shown in 2001 and today.

The company’s product range has also changed. The vision of aspheres becoming the standard in the industry has long since become reality. That’s just the beginning, for in addition to aspherical optics such as aspheres, acylinders and axicons, asphericon’s range now includes complete optical systems used for instance to shape laser beams. These days, the company also offers related services such as optical coating, optical design and frame construction.

In addition to the many faces and brilliant minds representing the company, asphericon is also symbolized by its logo and its various publications. When its logo was redesigned, certain details were removed, the font was modified, and attention was paid to scalability for mobile applications.

Our brochures have also had to change over the years. Individual data sheets became brochures – whose page counts have risen continuously due to our growing range of products and services.

The expansion of asphericon’s product range and the modernization of its corporate design have been matched by the evolution of its website. Originally launched as a purely informative site without many pages, it’s since been enlarged to include a webshop, a blog, and various tools to calculate the optical specifications of asphericon’s products. The website is now closely integrated with the company’s social media activities, and the languages available are being supplemented to include Chinese and Czech.

Above all, working conditions and especially the working environment have changed a lot in 20 years. The first prototypes were built in Hesse, where optical machinery manufacturer OptoTech allowed asphericon to use its demonstration room at weekends. A little later, the startup moved into its own premises in Erfurt, before relocating to the TIP Technology and Innovation Park in Jena. In 2011, a major milestone in the company’s history took place when asphericon moved into its purpose-built headquarters at Stockholmer Strasse 9 in Jena.

The company’s growth has also been reflected in its displays at international trade shows. At first, its stands at large expos such as Photonics West in San Francisco usually consisted of a solitary display case. But now, asphericon now appears at exhibitions as a fully-fledged company with its own custom designed and built exhibition stands as well as product demonstrations.

A lot has changed in 20 years, and not just at asphericon. It’s hard to imagine life these days without smartphones and electric vehicles. In fact, there are now over 20 e-cars in asphericon’s fleet, while the company’s products support for example laser-based battery manufacturing. Photonics – and therefore asphericon – have become influential drivers of economic development.