Berthold Schmidt, CEO of TRUMPF Photonic Components, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC). EPIC has become an important player in the European photonics community. It just celebrated its 700th new member and they are still growing by ten to twenty new stakeholders every month. Members include local big shots such as ASML, Schott, and Zeiss, as well as non-European players such as Corning, Coherent (and Lumentum, II – VI) and Hamamatsu. Even global technology brands like Huawei, or IBM have joined EPIC. They achieve critical mass, which has already played an important role in program and budget discussions with the European Commission in Brussels.
But what is it, that makes EPIC stand out? Some facts have been analyzed in this journal three years ago: “Three ingredients for successful photonics community engagement” Making contacts, sharing ideas, and promoting the photonics community in Europe were some of the consortium’s core tasks. It can be added that there is a persistent engagement for and with members. For example, it has become an EPIC tradition to ask every workshop speaker: “What can you do for other EPIC members– and what can they do for you?” This is not just a rhetorical question but the basis of a serious discussion.
In a mini-interview, Berthold Schmidt was asked, why it is important for TRUMPF to be a member of EPIC: “Being a family-owned company gives TRUMPF a lot of creative freedom, because we don’t have to answer to investors. But that doesn’t mean we can simply act as if we were the only player in the market! We’re an integral part of a broad-based industry that is undergoing highly dynamic changes, especially in the realm of laser technology.” After all, it is an efficient platform for professional exchange of ideas, and creating business: “In 2018, we organized a two-day EPIC event in Ditzingen focusing on laser applications in industrial settings. That forged all kinds of links and points of contact that can help us take our products and technologies to the next level.”
What goals does Schmidt hope to achieve as a new member of the EPIC Board? “EPIC covers a broad range of photonics technologies, so it can be challenging to define clear and meaningful focus points for its members. I’ll obviously be making regular efforts to prioritize topics that are relevant to TRUMPF and that offer added value to our customers. To give a concrete example, I’m currently planning to prepare a joint EPIC panel discussion on the future of metal 3D printing. The consortium offers the perfect framework to invite customers, integrators and suppliers from the photonics industry to get together and exchange ideas.”