History

 
   

The company OIP "Optique et Instruments de Précision" was founded in Ghent in 1919, after World War I. During this war, Belgium experienced indeed the urgent necessity of having its own optical industry, capable of providing the Belgian Armed Forces with spare parts and optical instruments, as well as repairing optical systems, e.g. military binoculars.

During the '20ies to '50ies OIP gained in prosperity and established an excellent reputation as a high-tech optical manufacturer, developing and manufacturing some outstanding quality optics and fine mechanics. Some examples are : lenses and objectives for military applications, high precision microscopes for medical and scientific applications, photo cameras and photocopy machines for the industry. This reputation of excellence soon crossed the borders and OIP became a world leader reknown for its high-tech and its innovative products.

From the '60ies on OIP played a pioneering role in the emerging electro-optics technology (the combination of electronics and optics) as one of the first companies in Europe. With a personnel of about 400 people, OIP developed and manufactured some world premières such as the first "Optical Sight" or Head-Up Display for fighter aircraft (NATO F-104 Starfighter) and the first Fire Control Systems for Main Battle Tanks (LEOPARD 1 in Belgium, Canada and Australia in collaboration with SABCA).

Important investments were also realised in developing new technologies, such as fibre optics, laser technology, light intensification and holography, as well for military as for industrial applications.

Since the '80ies OIP was granted substantial contracts for series delivery of Fire Control systems for export markets and holographic night vision goggles a.o. for the Belgian Army. OIP participated in space projects with a.o. the development of CPU (Critical Point Facility): a sophisticated opto-electronic minilab for scientific experiments in space and Proba-V: an earth-observation satellite,
OIP's reputation for excellence has culminated in its selection as a supplier of state-of-the-art technology with special attention to customized developments.