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Nikon and 4JET Announce Joint Development Program

Accelerating Development and Deployment of Laser-based Riblets


Nikon Corporation (Nikon) today announced a joint development agreement with the 4JET Group (4JET), pioneers in the use of pulsed laser radiation for ablation and modification of surfaces, to accelerate innovation and deployment of laser-based riblet technology.

Riblet technology is inspired by the small grooves on the skin of a shark that help the fish travel more efficiently through the water. Riblet processing uses lasers to create customized micro-structures on an object or surface that decrease air and water resistance, and thereby increase energy efficiency. Riblets are highly effective in reducing drag in airplanes and other modes of transport, and have also demonstrated excellent potential for applications such as wind and gas turbines and other machines operating in very turbulent conditions.

A key focus of the Nikon Vision 2030 plan is leveraging innovative technology and manufacturing to build environmentally friendly systems, and Nikon placed a strategic emphasis on digital manufacturing solutions, including riblet processing, toward that initiative. The development and integration of riblet technology creates tremendous opportunities to enhance the efficiency of industrial equipment, and when applied to aircraft, wind turbine blades or other industrial components, can also contribute to reduced fuel consumption, power generation efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. The airline industry has recognized the potential for riblet technology, and Nikon is actively engaged with airline partners to demonstrate and optimize riblet capabilities.

4JET and Nikon are pleased to announce their collaboration and joint development program. The program leverages both companies’ expertise and capabilities towards the development and deployment of high-speed, large-scale, laser-based riblet technology. Jörg Jetter, CEO of 4JET, said, “Our ongoing engagement and joint development program leverage the successful combination of industry-leading 4JET laser interference patterning technology with vast Nikon expertise in optical processing, riblet technology and computational fluid dynamics. We are excited to work together with industry partners to realize the enormous potential of laser-based riblet technology across a variety of applications.”

Yuichi Shibazaki, Nikon Corporate Vice President, commented, “The 4JET team has extensive knowledge and capabilities in advanced laser materials processing, as well as a strong reputation and global market leadership across industries. Their technology and growth pipeline align well with the Nikon portfolio and objectives, and together we will accelerate riblet development to provide more energy efficient and sustainable industrial solutions.”

About 4JET Group

4JET provides laser solutions for surface preparation, cleaning and functionalization of delicate technical surfaces as well as for micromachining of glass and thin-films.

Core markets include solar photovoltaics and technical glass processing in display, semiconductor and glazing, as well as the tire industry and E-mobility space.

Since its foundation in 2006 the company has developed unique process technologies such as the PearlCut glass cutting process, the LEAF technology for micronscale surface modification by laser interference patterning and a range of laser patterning and ablation solutions for tool cleaning, surface preparation or product traceability.

The company employs over 180 specialists including over 90 engineering roles in its headquarters in Alsdorf (Germany) and subsidiaries in Atlanta (USA), Shanghai and Prutting near Rosenheim (Germany).

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.

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