Despite the difficult worldwide economic conditions, Laser World of Photonics trade fair hosted more exhibitors than the previous Laser show. Exhibitors showcased numerous innovations and took advantage of the synergies between industry and science that the trade show and the accompanying World of Photonics Congress provided. Attendees gave the trade show the best ratings in the event's history.
Laser 2009 set a new exhibitor record with 1040 exhibitors (2007: 1008). The percentage of companies attending from outside Germany rose from 53% in 2007 to 57% this year. An independent market research survey showed that exhibitors gave the event outstanding evaluations with regard to its character as a leading trade show in the industry.
The survey results also revealed that attendees awarded top marks for the event's stature as a leading trade show based on the completeness and depth of the offerings, the international exhibitor mix and the presence of market leaders.
The exhibition area expanded from three halls to four, which brought the total to 452,000 square feet of floor space. This additional space particularly benefited the two largest exhibition segments, "Lasers and Optronics" and "Lasers and Laser Systems for Manufacturing."
There was a slight drop in the number of professional attendees, from 26,655 in 2007 to over 24,000 this year. The drop was primarily due to the lower number of attending professionals from the industrial sector, which has been hit particularly hard by the current economic difficulties.
Nevertheless, the exhibitors expressed strong satisfaction. Jens Bleher, managing director of Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH commented, "The number of contacts was only just slightly below what we experienced the last time this event was held, and we held some very concrete conversations. There was a particularly strong interest in our innovative lasers for photovoltaic manufacturing."
Optimistic outlook for biophotonics, photovoltaics and illumination
2200 visitors took advantage of free "application panels", presented by individual exhibitors, to learn about current developments and innovation. Dr. Matthias Schulze, director of marketing at Coherent, commented, "Our application panel on biophotonics was very well attended. It showed the next steps in the medical progress being made in laser-based diagnostics - a field that ranges from the treatment of AIDS to the diagnosis of diabetes and offers tremendous market potential."
Industry leaders gather for CEO Roundtable
This year's CEO Roundtable hosted a number of laser-industry CEOs who discussed "Optical Technologies - Bright Hopes in Times of Crisis"
The participants unanimously agreed that optical technologies offer potential solutions to worldwide economic challenges. In addition to providing highly efficient and reasonably priced methods for analyzing and treating serious illnesses, laser technology can enable new manufacturing methods for efficient and resource-conserving production lines, safety engineering and automobile construction, power-saving lighting and highly efficient solar power conversion modules.
The international participants were Dr. John R. Ambroseo, President and CEO of Coherent, Benoit Bazire, CEO of Qioptiq SAS, Günther Braun, President and CEO of Rofin-Sinar Laser, Yunfeng Gao, President of Han's Laser Technology Co., Stuart Schoenmann, CEO of CVI Melles Griot and Dr. Ulrich Simon, President and CEO of Carl Zeiss MicroImaging. The discussion was chaired by Prof. Dr. Gerd Litfin, President of the German Physical Society.
World of Photonics Congress creates theory - practice synergy
This year's World of Photonics Congress again attracted approximately 3,100 worldwide delegates. The congress was larger, attracted more international delegates and focused more sharply on practical applications than ever before. The seven individual conferences covered the entire spectrum of optical technologies. A new addition was the "Manufacturing of Optical Components" conference, which was organized by the European Optical Society (EOS). The focal point topics emphasized at the trade show were also examined in a number of conferences at the World of Photonics Congress.
The close interlinking of theory and practice was very well received by trade attendees and exhibitors. Dr. Wilhelm G. Kaenders, president of Toptica Photonics, explained, "For us, the congress plays a significant role because it attracts high-caliber scientists who also come to the trade show."
Fostering young talent
In order to encourage new specialists to enter the field, Messe Munich organized a variety of activities in conjunction with policy makers, associations, and the industry. These activities included programs for about 185 elementary school children, who became familiar with the world of optical technologies by performing their own experiments.
At "Luka's Explorer Cabin" at the trade show, part of the "Fascination with Light" program initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), kids were able to experience an adventure story about "Luka and Lilly" using an experiment workbook called "We're going into the Internet - with light."
High school students who are participating in advanced-level physics classes listened to interesting talks that shed light on the career opportunities in optical technologies. The students visited approximately 30 exhibitors to learn about optical technology job opportunities.