It started with radio production
Flashback: In 1934 the “Belgian American Radio Corporation”, Barco for short, was established in the little Belgian town of Poperinge as a manufacturer of radios. In the 1950’s it extended its products to include TV sets. Shifts in demand led to the company‘s withdrawal from consumer markets in the 1970’s and its concentration on business-to-business activities. At this time Barco had already gained a solid reputation as a producer of automatic control systems for the textile industry and monitor systems for TV studios. Both fields still belong to the company‘s business activities today.
Digital projectors, high performance, compact size
The main focus in Barco‘s product portfolio is its projection systems division, with annual sales of around 250 million euros. The company moved into this field in 1980, producing picture tube projectors to show films in passenger aircraft. Cathode ray tube (CRT) technology, with its high resolution and good color reproduction, is still state-of-the-art today in the fast-growing home cinema sector. The newest generation of CRT projectors, “Barco Cine”, integrates TV, video, DVD, PC and Internet applications. A milestone in product history was the use of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)-based projectors in 1992. A further development leap followed in 1999 with the launch of ELM (Extreme Light Machine) projectors based on Texas Instruments‘ Digital Light Processing™ (DLP™) technology. Since 1999 Barco has continued to develop solutions based on light emitting diodes (LED). These “Dlite” and “Ilite” high-brightness screens are used in theme parks and stadiums, as digital billboards or large screens for concerts and other events. Today, Barco also presents digital projection systems for cinema applications, based on Texas Instruments‘ DLP Cinema™ technology, as an alternative to conventional 35 mm film projectors.
The diversity of projection technology methods and the variety of features in individual devices open up a host of potential applications: corporate presentations, training courses, sports, music or political events, indoor and outdoor advertising, home and digital cinema, process control and simulations. The 6000 series forms the backbone of the digital high-performance projector range. These projectors, made in Belgium, feature high brightness, excellent color reproduction, compact and modern design as well as ease of use and maintenance. “The high brightness, resolution and color brilliance make the images come alive”, said Peter De Meerleer, R&D Manager at Barco in Kortrijk.
SCHOTT Auer: Breaking new ground in reflector development
The heart of the 6500 range is the 62 mm diameter reflectors made of “Suprax” glass from SCHOTT Auer. This high-quality borosilicate glass is highly resistant to temperature changes and is coated with high-purity TiO2/SiO2 using the PICVD (Plasma Impulse Chemical Vapor Deposition) process. This technology was developed by SCHOTT and is particularly suitable for processing three-dimensional substrates with hard layers. “Projectors are getting smaller, yet their performance is increasing, posing a real challenge to us as reflector manufacturers”, explains Dr. Jürgen Weichert, head of SCHOTT‘s Advanced Lighting Components business segment and second in command at SCHOTT Auer. As a partner of the lighting industry, his company, based in Bad Gandersheim, Germany, has a particular advantage: its own state-of-the-art light engineering department. Here the performance and design of existing lighting systems, reflectors and lenses are optimized and new systems are developed, either in close collaboration with customers‘ development departments or independently on a need-driven basis.