OEM Contract Engineering and Manufacturing

Experience the advantage of working with a small and dedicated group of award-winning engineers to develop and manufacture your solution. With broad industrial and scientific experience, our team will be your partner in defining your requirements and making the product a reality.



Experience the advantage of working with a small and dedicated group of award-winning engineers to develop and manufacture your solution. With broad industrial and scientific experience, our team will be your partner in defining your requirements and making the product a reality.

Origin and History

89 North was formed in 2009 as a subsidiary of Chroma Technology Corporation, an employee-owned manufacturer of high-quality optical filters for the life science industry since 1991. Since our inception, 89 North has developed and distributed products primarily for fluorescence imaging, occasionally developing and manufacturing custom systems. Custom engineering and manufacturing is a complement to our core capabilities and has become a substantial focus for us.

Value to the Customer

We offer our customers the advantages of working closely with a small employee-owned firm with the same level of award-winning engineering talent typically found only in much larger organizations. We also offer the opportunity for customers to acquire integrated solutions incorporating optical filters produced by Chroma in a seamless process because of the close relationship between the two companies.


Our leadership team brings more than 50 years of experience to the design and commercialization of products across a variety of markets. This experience includes research and development, optical system design, electro-mechanical and opto-mechanical equipment design, system design, integrated product development, project management, and manufacturing at top institutions and companies.



Technical Areas

  • Microscopy
  • Illumination sources
  • Lasers
  • Imaging
  • Machine vision
  • Sensors
  • System integration
  • Thermal management
  • Instrument packaging


  • Design for manufacture
  • Design verification
  • Product validation
  • Cost engineering
  • Product launch
  • Program management
  • Machined, molded, stamped, laser-cut parts
  • Optical components, custom and OTS



  • Industrial design
  • Optical system layout and optimization
  • Electronics and controls
  • Optomechanical systems
  • Electro-optical systems


  • Build to print
  • System assembly
  • Assembly equipment
  • Forming and fabrication processes
  • Prototyping
  • Low and high volume builds
  • Sourcing and supply chain management
  • Testing systems





    Julie Martin, General Manager

    Julie has over 15 years of experience developing products in the aerospace, medical, and photonics industries, where she has held technical leadership roles in mechanical and systems engineering, as well as project management and engineering management roles. With her industry experience as well as a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Vermont, Julie contributes engineering expertise in addition to her program management capabilities. She has a keen interest in process development and deployment and oversees 89 North’s quality system. As programs take shape, she serves as the primary point of contact for our customers throughout commercialization and release.

    Mark LaPlante, Senior Staff Engineer

    Mark is an engineer with tremendous creative talent for problem solving and design. His 35 years of experience have produced more than 50 patents and skill that stretches far beyond his original training in mechanical design. He is equally comfortable selecting a lens, designing a drive shaft, developing new suppliers, or machining up a quick prototype.

    89 North’s Engineering Team

    In addition to our accomplished full-time employees, 89 North’s engineering team also includes experts in key areas who work with us on a contract basis to meet customer requirements. Our contractors are carefully chosen not just for their expertise but their ability to be a full-fledged member of the development team.

    Chroma’s Design and Manufacturing

    Being a subsidiary of Chroma gives 89 North access to some of the top thin-film coating designers in the industry, resulting in seamless integration of filters and polychroic mirrors in your product.



    Initial Contact and Starting the Process

    Our process begins with developing an understanding of the top-level customer requirements so that we can determine if our skill set is right for the needs of the project. If we are not the right group to address your need, we are more than happy to help you find an alternative that is a good fit.

    Our team will provide a pre-proposal describing our understanding of your objectives, estimating costs and timing, and sharing our general concept for meeting the requirements. The pre-proposal will also highlight any assumptions and open questions that need to be answered before a full statement of work and quotation can be generated.

    Statement of Work and Quote

    If the pre-proposal meets your needs and you are prepared to move forward, our team will provide a full statement of work and quotation. This will involve 89 North deepening our understanding or your objective through additional exchange of information. Our goal at this stage is to expose requirements at a level that drive time and costs so that our quotation is accurate and the timeline is achievable.

    Once the statement of work is accepted and the costs are agreed upon, the work can be put under contract and begun. Generally, turn-around time from inception to a full proposal can be as little as two weeks provided that information is exchanged quickly.

    Program Plan and Requirements

    Once the work begins, the first two steps, generally, are the creation of a detailed program plan and a detailed set of requirements. The program plan serves both parties, making sure that the project timeline meets your needs and that any information required from the customer arrives in time to keep the program on schedule.

    We believe that a written requirements document is perhaps the single most important piece of information for achieving objectives on time. Our philosophy on specifications is very simple: only specify what needs to be specified to ensure the product meets the customer’s objectives. Every nonessential requirement adds risk, cost, and time to a project.

    We also appreciate that every requirement may not be determined at the first stages of the program. For example, if our customer is designing an instrument, we appreciate that there may be items in the specification that need to change as their design progresses. Our program plan will lay out in detail when specifications must be locked down in order for the program to meet schedule. If changes are needed we are very forthright in discussing and managing how those changes will affect schedule and costs so that we can return to the most important aspect of the project, producing a high-quality solution.

    Design, Prototypes

    With requirements specification complete, detailed design moves ahead. Through design, prototyping, revision, and validation activities you will be involved in design reviews and functional reviews at regular intervals as we move toward production.

    Commercial Product Launch

    The final step will be to prepare the design for commercial production and acquire the necessary equipment and parts to fulfill orders.