ULIS shares infrared market optimism for 2016 and beyond

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Profitable end-of-year with double-digit sales increase in 2015; early indicators signal continued growth in 2016

ULIS, a leading manufacturer of thermal image sensors for commercial and military applications, today announces that the company experienced strong growth in 2015, with close to a 20% increase in volume sales over 2014.

Thermal image sensors - family picture

New customers in outdoor leisure equipment, continued sustainable growth in traditional markets, such as surveillance, thermography and defense, and several key contract wins drove the bulk of ULIS’ €48M ($52.3M) activity in 2015. ULIS’ volume sales climbed to 94,286 in 2015, up from 79,350 the previous year.

“The pattern of ULIS’ volume sales performance appears to reflect market analyst forecasts of rapid growth within the uncooled infrared camera market, indicating +22% CAGR in units between 2015 – 2020,” said Dr Eric Mounier, senior technology and market analyst, MEMS & Sensors at Yole Développement.

ULIS is also upbeat about further growth opportunities in emerging markets, such as smart building and automotive applications, where it has developed strong leads.  

“We exceeded our objectives for 2015; gearing ULIS towards even higher prospects in 2016. I am very happy with my team and their dedication. I thank them for their drive and support,” said Jean-François Delepau, managing director of ULIS. “Our customer base also grew in 2015. The price/performance of our complete portfolio of Pico Gen2 products made a significant impact; they struck the right chord with camera makers and system developers across many market applications. In 2016, we will aim even higher to bring even greater product and service satisfaction to our customers.”

ULIS is the second largest producer of thermal image sensors (microbolometers). These enable all-weather and night vision, intrusion detection and temperature measurement, among others. Since its creation in 2002, the company has delivered 500,000 thermal sensors to equipment makers, helping them produce low weight, low power consumption and cost-effective thermal imaging gear. ULIS is active in traditional infrared (IR) sensor markets. It is increasingly addressing new trends in thermal imaging for energy efficiency in smart building applications, people counting and road safety.

Delepau is confident that the company’s growth rate will maintain the same pace for the next two years, then accelerate due to further penetration into new markets, such as smart buildings and automotive. “As early as January 2015, we saw initial signs that we would secure a high percentage of sales. This year, we have already begun seeing other positive indicators.”

Currently, ULIS is close to going to market with its Pixel Level Packaging (PLP), which is at the industrial process stage. As the pioneer of the 17-micron pixel pitch thermal image sensor, the current industry standard, ULIS is pursuing development of its 12-micron pixel pitch thermal image sensors, which is nearing completion. Pixel pitch is very important for cameras as it contributes to better SWaP (Size Weight and Power) reductions.

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