Laser World of Photonics hosted large and varied numbers of visitors, exhibitors, and products

Economic reps at the Munich event, which drew almost 27,000 visitors from 74 countries, forecast solid industry growth, while 3D printing, medical technology, biophotonics, and resource efficiency were hot topics.

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At Laser World of Photonics and the World of Photonics Congress in Munich this week, a record number of exhibitors attended, visitor numbers stabilized at a high level, a large number of products were introduced, and an insight into revolutionary technologies was offered, say the show organizers.

Laser World of Photonics, celebrating its 40th birthday, closed with a record number of 1136 exhibitors and represented companies. Almost 27,000 trade visitors from 74 countries arrived to view photonics products, learn the latest technology, and network. The proportion of foreign visitors rose to a record level of 54 percent. Significantly more visitors came from China, Russia, and South Korea.

"The combination of trade fair and congress is unique. The congress’s Application Panels, held in the trade fair halls, are a good example of the successful intertwining of basic research and application-oriented industrial implementation," said Prof. Dr. Peter Loosen, chairman of the Steering Committee of the World of Photonics Congress and deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT.

A poll conducted by market research institute TNS Infratest showed visitor and exhibitor satisfaction. Almost all visitors (97 percent) gave the trade fair an overall rating of "excellent to good." 96 percent intended to return, and an equal number praised the contributions at the photonics forums. Most exhibitors (91 percent) gave the trade fair an overall ranking of "excellent to good," with 97 percent liking to exhibit at the trade fair again.

Exhibitors displayed innovations and solutions in the four trade fair halls. "The Laser World of Photonics is very important because in principle it is the exhibition showcase for laser technology. We have 19 products here on the stand and 13 of these products are world premieres. We use the trade fair here in Munich precisely for this presentation function," said Klaus Löffler, director of international sales of TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik.

Top trends were additive production, ultrashort pulse lasers, laser applications for electro-mobility, energy technology and automotive engineering, modern solid-state light sources (LED, OLED), automated visual inspection, lasers for analytics and imaging in biophotonics as well as laser applications and optical diagnostics in medicine.

A highlight was the special exhibition, "Digital Photonic Production," in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. It illustrated the advantages of the additive production process and demonstrated 3D printing in metal. Another visitor favorite was "Photons in Production" with live demonstrations, including laser-based joining of lightweight materials and the "biophotonics research focus area" stand.

Also popular were the user forums in the halls under the umbrella of the World of Photonics Congress. Staffed with high-ranking speakers from the photonics industry, from research or user industries such as the automotive sector or medical technology, the latest challenges in the various areas were dealt with using practical examples.

Industry growth
On the first day of the trade fair, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) presented the "Photonics industry report 2013", drawn up in collaboration with the SPECTARIS, VDMA and ZVEI associations. The study found that the global photonics market in 2011 was worth around 350 billion euros. And the prospects for the industry are good: The study estimated that the global photonics market would grow to around 615 billion euros by 2020. For more information, see the story: "German VDMA says photonics market grows steadily."

World of Photonics Congress
Around 3500 international participants attended the total of six conferences of the Congress with its 2800 lectures and poster presentations. Scientists, students, and users from throughout the world were engaged in lively debate into the evening hours. One event was the bestowing of the Herbert Walther Award, which this year was conferred on the US scientist Jeff Kimble of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

"The World of Photonics Congress is an extremely important congress. I have been coming here for many years. You pick up on the latest research developments – and also the latest industrial exhibits from the associated trade fair. At the end of the day, we’re working experimentally and this is an outstanding place to find out about the latest market developments. That in turn has a major influence on the developments we ourselves are working on in the laboratory," said Prof. Dr. Stefan W. Hell, deputy managing director at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and head of the NanoBiophotonics Department.

Organizers of the Congress were the European Physical Society (EPS), the Optical Society of America (OSA), the IEEE Photonics Society, the European Optical Society (EOS), the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Lasertechnik (Scientific Society for Laser Technology - WLT) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

The next Laser World of Photonics will be held from June 22 to 25, 2015, and the next World of Photonics Congress from June 21 to 25, 2015.

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