It is predicted that the world market for laser systems will grow substantially at an average annual rate of around 10% over the next five years. In the future, laser systems will increasingly replace and also complement conventional production methods in both the metallic and non-metallic materials processing sectors. Rising demand for laser systems for materials processing will therefore also call for more and highly qualified personnel.
According to a survey conducted by the Working Party for Lasers and Laser Systems in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), manufacturers of laser materials processing technology employed 5600 people in Germany in 2005. With an R&D quota of around 14% of turnover, the proportion of academics in laser member companies of the German Engineering Federation amounts to almost 40%. Gerhard Hein, managing director of the Working Party for Laser Material Processing in the German Engineering Federation, is expecting an annual increase in employment of between 3% and 4% up to the year 2012. The "Optical Technologies" study commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) also shows that companies are reporting a shortage of engineers and physicists, and that there is also a lack of designers in some areas of the laser materials processing sector.
The objective of LASYS 2008, the forthcoming International Trade Fair for System Solutions in Laser Material Processing, is to promote the qualification of specialists in laser technology. LASYS 2008 will be held at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre from 4 to 6 March 2008 and will start with a first-class accompanying program. In addition to the popular Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum 2008 (SLT '08), two other highlights will take place: the Beginners' Seminar for Laser Material Processing and the WLT Laser Summer School 2008.
"We are primarily aiming the Beginners' Seminar at interested decision-makers and potential laser users who have so far had nothing or very little to do with lasers," said Prof. Ralf Eckhard Beyer, chairman of the Engineering Sciences Working Party of Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Lasertechnik e.V. (WLT) and head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS), Dresden. Prof. Beyer: "This Seminar will impart the most important principles and clearly show what laser technology can do and where it can be used in a practical manner." This first-class Beginners' Seminar will be held from 10:00 to 1:00 on Tuesday, 4 March 2008 in Conference Room C4 1 in the Stuttgart International Congress Centre (ICS) at the new Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre. Prof. Friedrich Dausinger from "Forschungsgesellschaft für Strahlwerkzeuge" (FGSW) will explain how a laser actually works. Dr. Michael Schmidt, managing director of Bayerisches Laserzentrum GmbH (blz), will focus on laser materials processing in electronics production and precision engineering. Prof. Beyer will give a talk on how larger components can be cut, welded, and coated using a laser. Quality assurance also plays an important role in laser processes. Dr. Stefan Kaierle from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen (ILT) will provide an insight into this topic.
Prof. Claus Emmelmann, head of the Institute for Laser and System Technologies (ILAS) at Hamburg Technical University, will give a talk on the status and future of laser remote welding and on rapid manufacturing in the field of lasers. Dr. Ing. habil. Andreas Ostendorf, managing director of the Hanover Laser Centre (LZH), will explain how non-metallic materials can best be processed using a laser beam.
LASYS 2008 will also feature another highlight regarding advanced training and qualification in conjunction with the Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum 2008. On 3 March 2008, the day before the start of the trade fair, the WLT Laser Summer School 2008 will be held in the International Congress Centre at the Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre. This event, which is being organized by WLT e.V., is primarily aimed at young engineers and natural scientists from industry and research. The latest research and development results of young dedicated scientists in the field of laser technology will be presented. The spectrum of this event will range from basic knowledge and practical special knowledge through to trends in laser materials processing. The key topics will include, for example, the development of modern beam sources such as fiber and disk lasers as well as their application in production engineering and medicine. "The WLT Summer School will provide outstanding opportunities to obtain further training and become more closely acquainted with the different projects and activities of laser research institutes in Germany. In particular, the WLT Summer School will enable the open exchange of information with other young scientists," was Prof. Dausinger's summary of the most important advantages.
The international trade fair LASYS will celebrate its premiere at the New Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre from 4 to 6 March 2008 with a well thought-out concept containing two main aspects, i.e. an exhibition program with a wide range of applications in laser materials processing and a first-class accompanying program focusing on R&D.