automatica—a look over the shoulder

From June 27 to 30, 2023, Messe München will bring together what belongs together: the LASER World of PHOTONICS and the automatica, the leading trade fair for intelligent automation and robotics, will be held together for the first time. Karl-Christian Messer, CEO of Blackbird Robotersysteme GmbH, welcomes the co-location since Blackbird is constantly active at the interface between photonics and automation.

LASER World of PHOTONICS and automatica are being held simultaneously for the first time in June. What’s your assessment of the co-location of both trade fairs?

Karl-Christian Messer: I think the decision’s great, because holding them both at the same time is practically the ideal configuration for us. Our most important market is the automotive industry, which plays a key role in automation. Our remote laser welding solutions are used there in the production of bodywork, doors and seats, and now also widely in battery and fuel cell production. All the system manufacturers that use our systems can be found at automatica. In addition, we will meet many of our suppliers, research partners, and, of course, our international customers at both trade fairs. Thanks to the co-location, we can reach many more potential customers and partners during the trade fair week than if the two were separate. In addition, the short distances will allow us to exchange visits to maintain contacts with existing partners.

What are your expectations regarding the co-location of both trade fairs?

Messer: I expect us to have 30 to 40 percent more traffic at our stand. We will staff it accordingly and look forward to lots of interesting contacts. Previously, we were at automatica as a visitor to meet with our customers. We now have the opportunity to visit them from hall to hall, invite them to our stand, and present our latest innovations to them in person. We no longer need to make two trips to do that but can now exchange ideas in a highly focused manner on the one date. That makes the co-location an excellent platform for us with real added value.

What role does the combination of photonics and automation play at Blackbird and your sister company SCANLAB?

Messer: State-of-the-art solutions for remote laser welding only function in automated systems. Just consider the demands for precision, the process speeds, and the repeatability, while maintaining consistently high-quality requirements. In that regard, robots and automated handling devices are far superior to human motor skills. We see ourselves as an automation accelerator and for this we extend the functionalities of the laser-scanners from our sister company SCANLAB with our software- and hardware-based control solutions. Together, we solve the challenges of highly automated productions of our customers in the automotive industry, agricultural engineering, battery and fuel cell production, and other sectors. We adapt our solutions to the individual requirements of our customers. In addition to spatially and temporally precise beam shaping and deflection for very fast and highly efficient laser welding processes, we also ensure their traceability in the ongoing production process as well as their automated documentation. You could say that our sphere of activity is exactly at the interface between photonics and automation. The co-location of LASER and automatica represents this sphere of activity. We expect things to really take off in June—especially since I also expect there to be a whole lot more international trade visitors now that the pandemic has died down. Anyone who wants to find out about our company and our solutions in advance is welcome to visit our new website