automatica—a shoulder check

From June 27 to 30, 2023, Messe München will bring together what belongs together: LASER World of PHOTONICS and automatica, the leading trade fair for intelligent automation and robotics, will be held together for the first time. In a short interview, Laserline CEO Dr. Christoph Ullmann speaks about the almost unavoidable connection of laser processes and automation technology.

Is the co-location of LASER World of PHOTONICS and automatica interesting for Laserline?

Dr. Christoph Ullmann: The connection of the two trade fairs is definitely useful, because laser material processing and automation are very closely intertwined with one another. Without automation, the use of laser technology is almost impossible; it’s the enabler. The laser system, from the beam source to the beam guidance to the processing optics, is integrated into a generally highly automated robot or CNC device. Only then can it unlock its full benefits in the form of highly precise, contactless material processing in maximum quality. Whether it is a welding or coating process, heat treatment or material removal, plays a minor role, since lasers can be used universally. The fact that automatica is now taking place at the same time as LASER is a logical step. Up to now, LASER has covered the chain from the most diverse individual components to the processing optics. Now, an additional step in the form of the system integration is being added—i.e., integrating laser systems into increasingly networked laser devices and processing centers.

What are LASERLINE’s expectations?

Ullmann: We expect that more trade visitors and interested customers will come to our stand, including end users who would like to use laser processes and are looking for partners in automation and laser technology. Or system manufacturers and machine manufacturers who want to integrate lasers into their products and would like to find out more about systems and components such as laser beam sources, beam guidance solutions and optics.

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

Ullmann: The use of our diode lasers is impossible without automation. Only in combination with robots, CNC machines and handling systems can they make the best use of their technological and economic potential in industrial material processing. This requires the laser and automation processes as well as the underlying data and communication processes to be closely linked in one system. In a nutshell: There are no lasers without automation.