Story 15: Facts and figures - asphericon in numbers

2001, 3, 170, 750, 1500, 54, 41, 520, 5600, 75, 80. 2001, 3, 170, 750, 1500, 54, 41, 520, 5600, 75, 80. You might be wondering what this series of numbers has to do with asphericon. Read on to find out!


A Space Odyssey? Much better, in fact, for 2001 was when asphericon was founded, the year it all began. Sven Kiontke graduated with a dissertation entitled ‘Simulating the Polishing of Aspheres’ and met first Alexander Zschäbitz by responding to an announcement on a noticeboard and then Thomas Kurschel, the third co-founder of asphericon GmbH, via the computer science faculty at the University of Jena.


But asphericon was destined to expand beyond Jena, for two other locations have been added in the meantime. As they say, all good things come in threes!

In 2015, asphericon, Inc. saw the light of day in Gainsville, Florida, with a clear objective: to address the needs of the US market faster and more directly. The small team headed by Steffen Schneider, president of asphericon, Inc., is now based in Sarasota and serves all asphericon’s customers in Canada and the USA.

Mind you, efforts to cultivate customer relations and forge new technical partnerships weren’t confined to this side of the world map. In 2017, planning began for another subsidiary: asphericon s.r.o, based in the Czech city of Jeřmanice. What started in a small garage reached new heights in 2019 with the grand opening of a brand-new production plant. The apshericon team is currently enhanced by more than 30 colleagues in the Czech Republic.


It goes without saying that without the right staff, there’d be no commercial success. All in all, there are 170 employees and counting proudly working at our various sites across the world. With asphericon’s motto “Bringing visions to life” in mind, employees in the areas of optics production, construction and optical design, research and development as well as marketing, administration and sales are constantly coming up with new ideas and meeting our customers’ wishes.


This is a number we’re particularly proud of. Some 750 customers worldwide use aspherical optics, freeforms and systems made in Jena and Jeřmanice. We’ve successfully accomplished many wonderful projects together, including optical elements for the satellites used in the European Space Agency’s Sentinel programme, freeform optics for driver assistance systems, and beam shapers for fluorescence microscopy.


… optical elements are produced by asphericon every week. The success factor of our reliable, efficient production is the software architecture, which is constantly being developed. The principle behind it is Industry 4.0 – the number behind the number. We digitize our customers’ requirements and can directly transfer them to the production process. No manual intervention is required from the specifications gauged through production to final documentation. Everything is digitally managed, enabling flexible manufacturing processes.

54 & 41

Mobility is an indispensable achievement of our age. A total of 54 company vehicles make our employees mobile. An increasing number of these are purely electric vehicles or hybrid plug-ins. They can be conveniently charged during working hours at the company’s own charging stations. But we’ve saved the best till last, for we’re extremely proud of the 41 company bicycles in our fleet of vehicles – our greenest and healthist means of transport!


Sustainability takes top priority at asphericon, and 520 stands for the number of megawatt hours of electricity that we’ve generated since purchasing our own photovoltaic system in 2014. We use the electricity produced in this way to power for example our e-vehicles. But that’s not all. Thanks to the ecologically sustainable planning of asphericon’s headquarters in Jena, waste heat from production can also be used to heat the premises.


… square metres of production space are available to asphericon at its two production plants in Jena and Jeřmanice. This area is enough to house several grinding and polishing machines, state-of-the-art measuring equipment, in-house coating facilities, and even the company’s own optics laboratory. Planning is already underway for further expansion.


In addition to optics production, research and development is one of asphericon’s key activities. Scientific publications on products, technologies and processes are regularly produced in-house, in collaboration with research institutes, or following joint development projects with clients. The number 75 represents the number of publications to date in which asphericon employees have been involved.


This figure also relates to R&D. All that time spent working in the laboratory, the workshop and our production facilities would be in vain if the findings and the resulting IP rights weren’t protected. asphericon holds more than 80 patents, including for the production/machining and measurement of rotationally symmetrical workpieces and freeforms as well as grinding and polishing tools, and also for the products in our BeamTuning range such as the a|AspheriColl and the two beam shapers a|TopShape and a|AiryShape.