The digitization of European companies will be accelerated by PhotonHUB and PULSATE
The webinar “ Innovation and Photonics Technology – Now You Can!” held on March 23d attracted the interest of both Lithuanian and foreign representatives. During this event, two European projects PhotonHUB and PULSATE were presented. Projects provide to small and medium-sized industrial enterprises an access to Europe’s strongest centers of excellence, consultancy and finance for the experimentation of laser or photonics-based technologies to modernize production processes and products. According to Francesca Moglia, project manager at the European Photonics Industry Consortium (EPIC), this event is amazing that it has brought European countries together for an important, common goal.
PhotonHUB and PULSATE are open opportunities to speed up digitization
Welcoming the participants of the event, Eglė Markevičiūtė Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, emphasized the importance of photonics in the digitization processes of Lithuanian industry and the creation of high-value workplaces. As a great achievement, the Deputy Minister named the establishment of digitization centers in Lithuania, the main task of which is to encourage industrial companies to implement advanced technologies in their production processes, thus creating great value for the Lithuanian economy.
Hugo Thienpoint, coordinator of PhotonHub Europe: One-Stop-Shop Open Access to Photonics Innovation Support for a Digital Europe, presented the main objectives of the consortium and the project: to strengthen the competitiveness of European SMEs and their impact on the European economy through photonics technology. PhotonHub Europe, a one-stop digital innovation hub bringing together Europe’s best photonics experts and state-of-the-art technology, will undoubtedly be the main attraction for Europe’s advanced industrial SMEs, especially in the medical, security, food, automotive, agricultural, telecommunications and textile sectors.
Another EU H2020 consortium, PULSATE, also offers great opportunities for European companies: “Fostering the PAN – European infrastructure for empowering SMEs digital competencies in laser-based advanced and additive manufacturing”. PULSATE is a PAN-European infrastructure designed to promote the deployment of Laser-Based Advanced and Additive Manufacturing (LBAAM) technologies, which will strengthen the digital competences of SMEs and slightly larger companies. The coordinator of this project, Pablo M Romero, says many companies lack knowledge of how laser technology can help them. They are also afraid of changes in the transformation of production and the competencies of employees. One of the objectives of the project is to reduce the stress experienced by companies by helping them to reorganize their activities into higher value-added ones. Also, publicizing examples of good practice and success stories that drive this transformation is expected to contribute to raising companies ’awareness of the opportunities offered by laser technology.
The Head of Department of Laser Technologies (LTS) of the Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC) dr. Gediminas Račiukaitis acquainted the participants of the event with the activities and core of the activities of the Digital Innovation Center LaserLT DIH – FTMC LTS, Laser and Engineering Technologies cluster (LITEK™), Science and Technology Park of Institute of Physics (STPIP). LaserLT DIH is a one-stop technology digital innovation center in Lithuania, providing access to the latest photonics-related knowledge and technologies to strengthen business by digitizing production processes, products and services. The laser and engineering technology cluster belongs to the PhotonHUB Europe consortium, while FTMC LTS – PULSATE. G. Račiukaitis’ report reviewed the competencies of Department of Laser Technologies, implemented international projects and achieved results.
During the webinar, participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the main activities and achievements of the neighboring Poland, PhotonHUB partner, photonics sector. The review was presented by Adam Piotrowski, President of the Polish Technological Platform on Photonics. Thanks to the results of the dynamic development of optoelectronics and photonics, the neighboring country boasts innovative products for use in both industry and science. The event is expected to be a first step in opening up opportunities for successful cross-border cooperation in the field of photonics.
Photonics. Trends and the future
“The huge innovations are coming. Every photon is more important now than ever, ”- said Jose Pozo, EPIC’s Director of Innovation and Technology, who emphasized the importance of photonics in industrial transformation. “Quantum technology is no longer the future, it is the present. Thanks to them, evolving sensors will have an important impact on the transformations of automotive industry, aviation, security, medicine, transport industry, and the digital economy, ”- he highlighted. The rapporteur has repeatedly emphasized the growing added value of innovation in photonics technology on a daily basiss.
Ulrich Hoechner, Head of Industrial Market Development at UAB „Light Conversion“, one of the largest Lithuanian laser manufacturers, based his presentation on the development of technologies. From large and expensive laser systems at the end of the last century to today’s compact and significantly cheaper fiber lasers, which can be used in various industries, this is the history of laser development and its path towards industry, told U. Hoechner. Kęstutis Jasiūnas, the director of UAB „EKSPLA“, a manufacturer of advanced lasers and laser systems, introduced the participants to how powerful scientific lasers with the help of improving technologies over the time, have been successfully transformed into compact ones, especially well-suited for medical applications.
How should the Lithuanian laser technology business develop in the future? What conditions are necessary for SMEs to become competitive in the global market? Alvydas Žabolis, a prominent investor in digital and clean technologies and urban development, shared his knowledge, visions and success stories. The investor emphasized the production of the final product based on laser technologies in Lithuania as the largest guarantor of global competitiveness. According to A. Žabolis, all this would create great added value not only for the country’s photonics sector, but also for the whole economy.
Examples of good practice are an incentive to improve
Part of the event was dedicated to making contacts and sharing experiences. During the event innovative products and technologies created with the help of laser technologies were presented by such famous Lithuanian companies as Evana Technologies (E. Vanagas), Integrated Optics (E. Pabrėža). J. Vasylius (Industrial Robotics) and M. Jasiulevičius (BaltLED) presented ideas on how photonics or laser technologies could help to create specific new products in the field of robotics and disinfection. Marta Garcia Cosio, CEO of the Spanish company CITD, which manufactures and designs systems and components for the aeronautics industry, shared its experience in optimizing technology through 3D printing. Rodrigo Linares Harrero, a representative of Spanish company „New Infrared Technologies“, which manufactures MWIR cameras for real-time control of laser processes for the industry, welcomed the successful implementation of an international project that allowed the purchase of laser welding equipment to optimize production. Irish photonics SME „Pilot Photonics“, a manufacturer of chips and integrated optoelectronic modules, has received funding to improve its technology through funding from the ACTPHAST project. According to the company’s representative Frank Smyth, the project provided an opportunity to find the necessary partners and receive expert advice. All this has accelerated the market penetration of products. All participants unanimously stated that photonics technologies, networked centers of excellence and funding for companies are the key to success in bringing new, competitive products to market.
The participants of the event were provided with detailed information on how to use the services provided by the PhotonHUB and PULSATE projects and funding opportunities. During the roundtable discussion, participants discussed the imaginary barriers or fears of companies to seek solutions based on photonics technologies, greater involvement in experimental activities encouraging the introduction of the latest laser or photonics technologies.
The webinar can be viewed here: