LASYS Report, Day 1

Stuttgart, Germany - After a typically slow start (Germans never seem to flood the aisles on the first day of certain trade show as they are always in transit), LASYS 2010, the international trade fair for systems solutions in laser material processing, got off to an auspicious start with attendance building through the day yesterday. The first days of sunshine and mild temperatures this spring may have caused some to stock up on nature's Vitamin D, as many lolled around the immense plaza fronting the Messe Stuttgart complex here at the international airport.

At the annual Working Committee on Lasers and Laser Systems of the VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen und Anlagenbau), Managing Director Gerhard Hein told the assembled journalists what most of them already knew, that 2009 was one of the worst, if not the worst of all years for industrial lasers in Germany. Production of industrial laser systems' order intake was down 50.5% from 2008's € 733.6 million and order intakes were down 47.2% from € 729.6 million. Of the latter, domestic orders were down 54.4% and foreign orders down 44.25%.

Western Europe represented 45.1% of total export orders of these laser systems, Central Europe 10.5%, and Asia 29.1%, with the remaining in North America and other countries. Asia exports were dominated by China at 13.3%, the government of which stimulus-boosted sales, which was in some respects the salvation  of German suppliers who commented that China was the bright light of 2009.
Total sales of industrial lasers for 2009 was € 314 million, down 43.5% from 2008, with laser systems down 50.5% to € 541 million. Not a pretty picture.
As the Committee reported, the "German laser industry resolutely believes in worldwide resurgence in the demand for investment goods and the economic crisis does not diminish growth opportunities, with Germany remaining pro-manufacturing and an investment location for optical technologies."
This morning, I could see from my hotel room that crowds were streaming out of the S Bahn station and the airport, a sign that the show was a draw.

– David. A. Belforte

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