For an optical coater, SPIE’s annual Optics + Photonics conference is like a boiled down version of Photonics West—a distillation of everything we want in an optics conference without the hustle and bustle of the magnificent Moscone Center. Photonics West is still a favorite because of its importance to us and our industry, but Optics + Photonics delivers the facetime and prospecting potential that we crave from a high quality trade show.
Although the basis of the show remains the same, our team is always interested to compare one year's outcomes to the next. This year's show was no letdown; it had plenty to offer in terms of new connections, new topics, and new opportunities within the industry. As we returned to our offices, though sad to leave the San Diego sunshine, we were reaffirmed in our reasoning for always looking forward to Optics + Photonics.
While we know we may leave with some different insights each time, we also know that there are a few things we are guaranteed to find at Optics + Photonics:
1. Quality Conversations
Our team members were able to spend 20 minutes, sometimes more, talking to customers, vendors and sales targets at the show. Compared to the 60 seconds we might squeeze in at Photonics West, this leads to the in-depth conversations that allow us to better understand the challenges other companies are facing and discuss ways that we can help solve those problems.
One company in particular shared their need for quality plastic coating, a challenging task for coaters who work primarily in glass. Because of our long history with plastic coating, we were able to address adhesion failures that come from working with less experienced coaters. The meeting opportunities at Optics + Photonics allow us to have richer conversations than brief booth visits at other shows might.
2. Growing Presence
In our corner of the optics world, this show is continuing to grow. Years ago, there were only two coaters in regular attendance. This year we saw four times that number. Optics + Photonics, though small, is a cornerstone in the optics market—a must-attend show. It's especially important for those who are focused on R&D and looking for new solutions and advanced technical capabilities in their manufacturing partners.
3. Healthy Competition
The show provides us opportunities to collaborate with our competition. Sounds crazy right? But in fact, we're able to discuss ideas and share technical capabilities that ultimately benefit our customers. A great coating partner wants to help customers solve their problems, even when the answer is pointing them to someone else. It is only in understanding the market fully that we can do this. Cooperation breeds advancement, and optics is a tremendously cooperative industry—one that's growth is spurred by the ongoing collaboration supported by organizations like SPIE and APOMA.
4. Latest Advancements
We also rely on Optics + Photonics to showcase the latest technological advancements. Whether it’s innovation in metrology, advanced cleaning, or component manufacturing, understanding both our customers and suppliers is paramount to our success and advancement. It is what spurs our R&D department to experiment with new coatings, searching for solutions that we anticipate our customers will need down the road. From anti-reflection challenges to emerging light filter specification needs and protective optical coating demands for new substrates, Optics + Photonics provides valuable insight on the changing needs of the industry.
With these takeaways from the show still on our minds, we’re already hard at work addressing new coating challenges with our new Buheler chamber. We’re making plans for Photonics West, but of course, we’ve already reserved our spot for SPIE’s Optics + Photonics 2017.
If you'd like to discuss coating partnership opportunities, schedule a free consultation with our team of experts.