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01 September 2005

The expansion of the EU last year made dealing with many Eastern European countries even easier - and photonics is an industry taking full advantage, according to Tim Gillett

Photonics in Eastern Europe has been a growth industry in recent years - not least since a succession of countries joined the European Union in 2004.

While several photonics companies in the region have been in existence for decades - the Czech Republic's Crytur, for example, was formed some 60 years ago - many report that international business has picked up strongly since their home countries joined the EU. The year 2004 saw the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia join the European Union.

01 September 2005

With the photonics market encompassing everything from the smallest component to the largest integrated laser system and beyond, tracking a product from manufacturer to end-user is often tricky, if not impossible. By Warren Clark

So, how do products reach you? Well, there are two main routes, but even they can be broken down into several variants according to the type of product and the sector of photonics. Principally, though, you will either buy your product direct from a manufacturer or via a distributor.

The direct route is often not that direct. It is rarely a case of picking a product off a shelf or calling the manufacturer direct and expecting the product to arrive next day. That does happen, of course, but the complex nature of the photonics industry means that unless you know exactly what you want - and that it is available as a standard product - you will find that the route to market involves a few more twists and turns.

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