Trade fair organiser and host of the upcoming Laser World of Photonics, the Munich Trade Fair Centre, known as the Messe München, has identified photonics as a key technology for several application sectors and one of the more important, rapidly growing industries of the future.
“Laser World of Photonics, an international trade fair showcasing the latest laser trends, has been the world’s leading optical technologies event since 1973 and, with the World of Photonics Congress, covers the entire range of current optical technologies,” says Messe München public relations manager Claudia Huber, citing the lighting, energy, manufacturing, automotive, optical information and communications, security technology, metrology and medical among the sectors that benefit from photonics.
The international trade fair will this year celebrate its fortieth anniversary as a key industry gathering for global optical technologies from May 13 to 16.
Simultaneously, the scientifically orientated World of Photonics Congress, Europe’s largest congress for the photonics sector, will take place at the International Congress Centre, in Munich, and will run from May 12 to 16.
Huber reports that, in 2011, a total of 1 075 exhibitors showcased their products and services at Laser World of Photonics, which attracted 27 490 visitors, more than half of whom were from countries outside Germany.
“This confirms the leading role that the fair plays in the international market, which is underscored by the fair’s comprehensive range of exhibits, the presence of key industry players and the concentration of innovation in the sector,” says Huber.
Meanwhile, Messe München has expanded its global network with an international subsidiary, Messe München International and a new India-based event, Laser World of Photonics India, which was held for the first time at the Bombay Exhibition Centre from September 14 to 16, 2012, in addition to Shanghai-based Laser World of Photonics China.
Huber reports that 127 exhibitors participated in Laser World of Photonics India, which attracted 2 699 trade visitors. The fair will now be held yearly and will take place this year from November 12 to 14.
She adds that Laser World of Photonics China continues to grow, with 475 companies from 19 countries having exhibited at last year’s fair, while the number of visitors totalled 34 326.
“This rapid growth illustrates the market position that Laser World of Photonics China enjoys in Asia. It is the leading trade fair for optical technologies in the country and is on its way to becoming the most important industry platform for optical technologies in all of Asia,” she says.
The next Laser World of Photonics China will take place at the Shanghai New Inter-national Expo Centre from March 19 to 21, 2013.
“The [photonics] industry has clearly put the effects of the 2009 global financial crisis behind it,” says Huber, citing a recent survey by industry association Spectaris, which reveals that German photonics companies are expected to generate record sales of €28.2-billion in the 2012 financial year, which corresponds to an increase of about 10% compared with the previous year.
Growth in 2011 was even more impressive, she says, with domes- tic sales increasing by 13.9% to nearly €8-million, and foreign sales increasing by 16.8% to almost €18-billion.
The survey forecasts that the export rate of 69% should remain stable this year, while domestic sales of €8.6-billion and exports of €19.6-billion are expected.
Volume on the global photonics market is estimated to be about €300-billion.
An above-average research and development rate of 10% underscores Huber’s belief that photonics is a dynamic and high-tech branch of industry in Germany, characterised by small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In fact, the Spectaris survey revealed that 90% of Germany’s photonics companies – of which there are more than 1 000 – are SMEs.
The survey also stated that the number of employees hired by the photonics industry increased by 9% in 2011 to more than 135 000 compared with 2010, while the figures for 2012 are expected to increase by 5.5% to 142 500.
Further, laser systems used in material processing are a particularly important and rapidly growing submarket, says Huber, highlighting laser and photonics market analyst Optech Con- sulting, which generated record- breaking global sales of €7.2-billion in 2011, showing a 22% increase on the previous year.
Of the €7.2-billion, €5-billion was attributed to systems for macroprocessing, with €2-billion set aside for microprocessing.
Advances in solid-state lasers are an important trend in macroprocessing as they are about five times more efficient than carbon dioxide lasers, says Optech Consulting, which estimates that it has about a 10% market share in machining applications.