Optical Filters USA designs and manufactures display enhancement products for electronic displays and enclosures including EMI shielding, heaters, cover lenses and optical bonding for displays and touch screens. Special applications include military, marine, avionics, medical and in-flight entertainment. High-grade touch screens and displays are laminated to LCDs utilizing their proprietary Viz-Bond™ wet bonding system resulting in durable, sunlight-readable displays. Products manufactured via the Viz-Bond process represent about 30% of their current business. Optical Filters currently services a wide-range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, computers, and many others.

The company approximates that they have experienced a loss of at least 5% in defense-related contract revenues. They noted that their Department of Defense (DoD) contract market opportunities had increased over the past two years, but were projecting that opportunities would decrease in the coming years. This decrease is primarily anticipated due to a primary contractor losing funding for a project that the company currently serves as subcontractor.

Working with NWIRC and other economic development partners, it was determined that to support the continued growth of the company, it was essential to identify and evaluate potential new industrial and geographic markets for best fit of their differentiating optical products to contribute to the top and bottom line. NWIRC assisted Optical Filters USA with the development of a Technology Driven Market Intelligence research and reporting project that 1) applied divergent thinking to uncover a range of potential markets for these new technologies; 2) identified and explored viable industries; 3) conducted a thorough vetting of the most promising markets identified, including engaging industry experts and potential clients, and 4) provided key market intelligence- all with a goal of identifying 5-10 potential leads within each of up to three target markets for Optical Filters to target with business development efforts.

The market research project was completed, with assistance from RTI, in accordance with the project objectives. NWIRC conducted high-level research on the strengths and weaknesses of six markets of interest to Optical Filters. Of the six markets researched, they selected two markets for deeper research to evaluate the potential for market fit for their capabilities and services. The conducted research and analysis suggest that Optical Filters pursue both selected markets for increasing sales revenues and diversifying market reach. “The project with the NWIRC provided much needed bandwidth to help us consider new markets and opportunities that will contribute to the future growth of Optical Filters in NW Pennsylvania,” said Nicola Dent, CEO at Optical Filters. Estimated impact is $250K in increased sales, $250K in retained sales, 34 jobs retained and $50K in workforce practices.