Founding of the company by Lothar Kugler in Salem, Baden-Württemberg. Start of the development and manufacture of interferometers for lens and plane surface measurement as well as of air-bearing processing machines.
The company is now known worldwide and builds lathes and milling machines with air bearings for manufacturing metal optics for international customers. In the meantime, the “application laboratory” for mechanical engineering has developed into an independent production area for metal optics. Delivery of resonator mirrors as well as beam guidance components for manufacturers of high-power lasers.
Development, construction and delivery of air-bearing processing machines for new types of printed circuit boards, equipped with sensors and control elements for partially automated production. Start of construction work on a modern extension building in Salem. Takeover and integration of Protop-Bleile-GmbH, a specialist in polygon mirror production.
Foundation of Kugler of America for on-site customer support and the production of metal optics. The development and patenting of the first real free-form mirror for beam shaping for laser hardening takes place in Salem; further work is carried out on adaptive mirrors for focus control in laser systems.
The production of beam guidance components for high-performance lasers is at its peak: The lossless polarisation adjuster LIPOR wins an innovation award, a height sensor system for laser cutting systems is presented, beam guiding mirrors are equipped with flat thermal sensors for beam adjustment. In the following, these activities will be successively “scaled back”, the focus on the core business of mirror manufacturing allows the acquisition of competitors as new customers. Certification according to ISO 9001.
Entry into series production of ultra-precision actuators for the semiconductor industry. Beginning of the manufacture of pioneering hydrostatically supported micro-processing machines “Mikromaster” with sub-micrometre axis accuracy with simultaneous vibration-free operation for nanometre roughness values.
Series production of polygon scanners for femtosecond lasers for use in ophthalmology. The basis is the HSPP model, which has been manufactured since the mid-90s. Establishment of a special clean room for the production of lens components for a generation of wafer steppers with F2 excimer lasers.
Design, simulation and manufacture of components such as polygon scanners and freeform mirrors for line focusing in systems for the treatment of steel strips for the manufacture of motor and transformer sheets. Kugler established itself worldwide as a manufacturer of key components for such systems. First projects on focusing heads for multi-kW fibre lasers.
Another extension of the company building: Modern open-plan offices create short distances between employees from sales, development, purchasing and work preparation. One of the world’s most precise coordinate measuring machines, in use at Kugler since 2010 is located in a new, highly air-conditioned area. Together with the expansion of conventional production with high-precision milling centres, the value chain for ultra-precision parts is kept fully in-house.
The beam quality of high-power fibre lasers gets better and better; Kugler now also develops and manufactures components for single-mode laser systems. At the same time, customers are increasingly demanding standard parts made of aluminium: Scanner mirrors for 3D applications, spectrometer mirrors or gas cell mirrors – all of the highest quality and thanks to the efficient Kugler manufacturing processes at extremely economical prices.
Efficient processes require efficient organisation: A new ERP system has been in use since the beginning of the year, after being tested and configured in previous years. This is accompanied by a fundamental reorganisation of the company with the focus on the customer-oriented production of ultra-precision parts, components and systems in small and large quantities. Lothar Kugler stays with the company, albeit more in the background, but the next generation will lead the family business into a successful future