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Recommitting to Innovation, Cooperation

Jun 2013
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher,

Spring was in the air, and renewal and growth were on the minds of photonics industry leaders at meetings in Brussels and London in April and May.

“Boosting economic growth and the creation of jobs in Europe through strengthening its innovation capacity will be the major challenges of Horizon 2020,” said Photonics21 President and Jenoptik CEO Michael Mertin in a speech at the Photonics21 annual meeting held in Brussels in April. “Through the establishment of a public-private partnership, the photonics community fully commits to strive for photonics innovation in Europe, and to reinforce the cooperation between public and private sectors. Our innovation capacity will substantially contribute to Europe’s economy and thus benefit European citizens.”

At the gathering, the photonics industry officially renewed its commitment to joining the European Commission in a public-private partnership as part of Horizon 2020.

“Such a partnership would represent an important joint investment between the European Union, industry and academia until 2020. This is the kind of mobilization of people and resources that Europe needs in order to secure leadership in global photonics and to create economic growth and new jobs in Europe,” said Khalil Rouhana, director of Components and Systems at the European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

In her keynote speech at the event, Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes highlighted the photonics sector’s role: “Europe has a great high-tech story to tell, and photonics is at the center of that story. Photonics makes ultrahigh-speed fiber broadband possible; it is the key to the 3-D printing revolution. And – most importantly at this time – it is the raison d’être of 5000 of Europe’s most innovative SMEs. I want to make sure those companies have the R&D support they need to lead the €300 billion global photonics market, improve lives, and support new and existing jobs.”

Another industry group reiterated the importance of photonics in UK manufacturing at its meeting in London in May. The Photonics Leadership Group (PLG), whose members come from more than 50 UK photonics manufacturers, associations and research institutes, named Dr. Christopher Dorman, general manager of Coherent Scotland, as its new chairman; the group also elected Dr. John Lincoln of Harlin Ltd. as its chief executive.

Among its goals, the PLG looks to provide a clear voice for the UK photonics industry, emphasizing the value of photonics as an essential element in solutions to societal challenges and as a rapidly growing manufacturing industry driving significant economic growth.

Machine vision is a healthy part of that global market, and for this month’s cover story, Managing Editor Laura Marshall polled industry experts on the market’s present and future. She spoke with Gabriele Jansen, the CEO of Vision Ventures in Heppenheim, Germany; and with two members of EPIC, the European Photonics Industry Consortium: Dr. Thomas Kessler of Karlsruhe, Germany, who is executive vice president for global sales at Edmund Optics and managing director of Edmund Optics GmbH in Karlsruhe and of Edmund Optics SARL in Lyon, France; and Dr. Markus Ehbrecht, managing director of Qioptiq Photonics in Munich.

Marshall asked these leaders to share their thoughts on what will be “the next big thing” in machine vision; their well-informed answers range from automation to ever-higher resolution, from emerging markets to the rise of adaptive optics and more. Read the entire Q&A, beginning on page 20.

Enjoy the issue. As always, I welcome your comments at

adaptive optics
Optical components or assemblies whose performance is monitored and controlled so as to compensate for aberrations, static or dynamic perturbations such as thermal, mechanical and acoustical disturbances, or to adapt to changing conditions, needs or missions. The most familiar example is the "rubber mirror,'' whose surface shape, and thus reflective qualities, can be controlled by electromechanical means. See also active optics; phase conjugation.
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
3-D printingadaptive opticsBelgiumChristopher DormanCoherent ScotlandCommunicationsEditorialEdmund OpticsEnglandEuropeEuropean Unionfiber broadbandGabriele JansenGermanyHarlinHorizon 2020imagingindustrialJenoptiksJohn LincolnKaren A. NewmanKhalil RouhanaLaura Marshallmachine visionMarkus EhbrechtMichael MertonNeelie Kroesphotonics industryphotonics innovationPhotonics Leadership Groupphotonics marketPhotonics21Photonics21 annual meetingQioptiq Photonicssmall-to-medium sized enterprisesSMEThomas KesslerUK photonics industryVision Ventures

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