And the winner is…

A red carpet moment for industrial lasers

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural 2014 Ringier Technology Awards - Laser Industry ceremony held in Shanghai during the Laser World of Photonics China exhibition and congress. Ringier Trade Media, our partner in China publishing ILS China, created the Technology Awards in 2006, honoring a select group of innovators. This year, Ringier added innovators in China's laser industry.

The purpose of the Awards is to encourage, acknowledge, and reward those individuals and companies who have introduced and developed a new idea, methodology, product, technology for manufacturing production efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and user convenience, which might result in energy saving and more responsible clean manufacturing in the laser industry. Twenty-seven companies were recognized out of the many that submitted nominations.

It was my assignment to precede the Awards with an introduction to the status of the global laser market and then to be one of presenters in the Laser Systems for Production Engineering category. Honored in this category were: Stäubli (Hangzhou) Mechatronics for a robotic 3D cutting system, Penta Chutian Laser for a fiber laser cutting machine, Wuhan Farley Laserlab Cutting Systems for a high-speed laser pipe cutter and a car roof laser welding system using filler wire, and Suzhou Delphi Laser Co. for a ceramic processing system.

Others in this category went to: Kuka Robotics China for a high-accuracy robot, Air Products for gas purification technology, Han's Laser Technology for a CO2 laser cutter, Salvagnini China, Suzhou Lead Laser Technology and Shanghai ACL Machine Tool Sales Co. for fiber laser cutters, and TRUMPF (China) Co. for a TruLaser cell.

Awards for laser technology went to: TRUMPF, Raycus Fiber Laser Technology, iLuma Photonics, Laserline Laser Technology, IPG Photonics, Maxphotonics Wuhan Huaray Precision Laser, and Rofin-Baasel China Co.

And in the components category, awards were presented to: Nanjing Wavelength Technology, TRUMPF, Raylase Laser Technology, Bystronic, Dilas Diodelaser, Day Optics, and Hunan Farsoon High-Technology.

Michael Hay, president of Ringier Trade Media, commented that reports of this year's ceremony would likely cause an even larger number of nominations two years hence, if only because the hundreds of exhibitors at the concurrent laser exhibition would now be anxious to compete for the honors.

The World of Photonics China exhibition rivals the Munich original, both expertly organized by Messe Munich, in terms of laser systems for production engineering, and might have even surpassed that show this year. The larger, better established companies occupied the prime positions in the two halls given over to the technology, with large floor space for working systems. But on the periphery of the halls were a multitude of smaller exhibits with companies new to the technology, which may possibly move up in two years to prime space at the front of the large halls.

The show drew a record number of exhibitors and attendees this year, establishing itself as a preeminent industrial laser show that will become a 'must-see' event for those interested in the use of lasers for production applications. Admittedly, for many Westerners it's a long trip to Shanghai, but in the off-year from the Munich event it is the only single international show featuring so many laser systems focused on manufacturing operation's needs. The expansive Shanghai New International Expo Centre is an appropriate venue and as more domestic companies set their sights on the global market I predict the language of the show will be more open to English, which is the international language of laser technology.

David A. Belforte
belforte@pennwell.com

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