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E-mobility and autonomous cars to feature at Laser World of Photonics

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This year’s Laser World of Photonics, taking place in Munich, Germany, on 24-27 June, will have a particular focus on electro-mobility and autonomous driving, two global megatrends that are expected to grow dramatically over the coming decade.

The laser and imaging technology on show at this year's exhibition will play a crucial role in breaking into these mass markets, including in the efficient mass production of electric vehicles and improved safety enabled by smart sensors. 

Market observers anticipate that by 2025 one in every four new cars worldwide will be electric-propelled. And the forecasts for 2030 are for an electro-mobility market share of between 50 and 75 per cent.

Laser technology provides the necessary accuracy and flexibility for the production of electric vehicles, from the welding of hairpins and the cutting of electrical sheets for electric motors, to the welding of connections in battery cells and the joining of dissimilar materials in lightweight vehicle designs.

A dedicated application panel: ‘No E-Mobility without Laser Technology’ has therefore been added to the range of presentations taking place throughout the exhibition halls this year. The new panel will take place on Tuesday 25 June between 15:00 - 17:20, and will be chaired by Dr Hans-Joachim Krauß of Bayerisches Laserzentrum, Dr Günter Ambrosy of Trumpf, and Dr Alexander Olowinsky of the Fraunhofer Institute for Lasertechnology ILT. The pre-existing Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM 2019) section of the Laser World of Photonics Congress – run in parallel with the trade show – will also include presentations on how lasers can be used to facilitate e-mobility.

Photonics also provides the technological backbone of automated driving, with lidar and imaging systems increasingly taking over from human drivers’ sensory perception – offering superior performance particularly at night and in difficult weather conditions. Visitors will be able to see how up-and-coming lidar technologies will enable future mobility at the application panel ‘Improving LiDAR performance with advanced photonics technologies’, also on Tuesday 25 June between 15:00 - 17:20, where exhibitors such as Jenoptik will provide an introduction to the technology and showcase its applications.

Special show: Photonics in Production

Topics including battery manufacturing and laser beam welding with blue light – a new trend in laser processing identified to be especially suited to the field of e-mobility – will be showcased at the ‘Photonics in Production’ exhibit in Hall A3 at booth A3.251. Here, 300m2 of floor space will be dedicated to providing a comprehensive view into current trends and research findings in the field of laser material processing. Two live demonstrations will be given at the exhibit, one on high-efficiency welding with blue light, and the other on measuring welding depths using OCT and machine learning technologies.

New conference: Imaging and Applied Optics

Other technologies enabling future mobility – particularly those for inline inspection during production – will also be discussed at a new conference in the Laser World of Photonics Congress: ‘Imaging and Applied Optics’ which will be hosted by OSA – The Optical Society. Topics of the new conference include: Imaging Systems and Applications; Computational Optical Sensing and Imaging; Mathematics in Imaging; and Propagation Through and Characterisation of Oceanic Phenomena.

Encouraging young talent

The trade fair continues to support the relationship between industry and academia with activities such as the Makeathon, which made its debut in 2017. Here around 80-100 students – both from Germany and abroad – have the chance to demonstrate their photonics expertise by developing innovative solutions using the technology over a 24-hour period. The solutions are then presented in a ceremony at the end of the 24-hour period. According to Katja Stolle, exhibition director for the trade fair, this event has been moved to a more central location within its exhibition hall this year, further highlighting the event and encouraging more attendees to stop by and learn about the projects being undertaken by the students.

The organisers of the trade fair are also encouraging students to visit exhibition booths more with a new ‘QR Rally’, where certain exhibition stands throughout the halls will feature a scannable QR code that students can capture with their smartphones. The code will then lead them to a set of questions that they can answer and discuss with exhibitors.

Both the Makeathon and the ever-growing Start-Up Pavilion, which offers discounted exhibitor rates for new companies looking to make their market debut, will be located in Hall B2.

Guided tours

This year the guided tours – introduced in 2017 – will be based on the topics discussed in the applications panels. The topics of the upcoming tours, which require advanced registration, are: Current trends in laser beam drilling; Laser beams with high performance; Inline process monitoring and laser beam welding; and Laser beam welding in visible wave lengths.

Image: More than 33,000 visitors are expected at the show in Munich. Credit: Messe Munich 

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