14-17 October 2013
Rochester Riverside Convention Center
Rochester, New York, United States
SPIE Optifab is the largest optical fabrication event in North America, presenting both research and industry in a unique format that enables valuable insight into the optical fabrication market. Optifab is sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and APOMA, the American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association.
Right people, right place
SPIE Optifab, North America’s largest optical fabrication event, drew nearly 1,700 to Rochester to see an expansive exhibition of 165 companies and to hear more than 100 technical presentations on the latest research in the field.
Exhibitors were enthusiastic about traffic and lead quality during the three-day show. Among the comments:
- "We have been so busy that we haven't had time to take lunch. Exhibitors and visitors are upbeat and positive. We are hearing about new projects coming up, not just the same old thing."
- "We also exhibit at Optatec in Germany and have walked Photonics West. We are quite happy with Optifab. We have found interest in our product, and new customers."
- "Our goal for Optifab was to meet the Rochester-area optics companies and to show our new products. The show has been good!"
- "Optifab has helped us introduce our new and innovative polishing products to the optical fabrication market."
- "We are meeting new people and they are the right people! If we got no more leads after the second afternoon we would leave the show happy with the quantity and quality of the interest we've gotten. It's been so busy we haven't been able to get away for lunch!"
Overall, "companies exhibiting at Optifab bring enabling technologies to meet the demands of new applications for more accurate, more compact, and most cost-effective optical components and systems,” noted Jay Kumler, president of JENOPTIK Optical Systems, immediate past president of APOMA, and a Fellow of SPIE.
See photos from the exhibition below.
On the technical side
Among the week's well-attended technical sessions were Grinding and Polishing Processes, chaired by Michael Bechtold, OptiPro Systems, and on Optical Fabrication of Freeform Surfaces, chaired by Jonathon Ellis, University of Rochester.
Steven Sasson, Retired, Eastman Kodak Co., provided Tuesday's plenary presentation on "Disruptive innovation: The story of the first digital camera."
Sasson (at left, with SPIE President-Elect Philip Stahl) talked about the creation of the first digital camera prototype in 1975 at the Eastman Kodak Company, as well as how the concept was demonstrated within Kodak during the following year.
Sasson also spoke about subsequent technical innovations with megapixel imagers, image compression products in the mid 1980s, and the early commercialization of professional and consumer digital still cameras in the early 1990s. The internal Kodak reaction to these developments were highlighted, as were some of the learned observations about how to deal with disruptive innovation within an established corporate environment.
Professional development courses were well-received, with topics such as structural adhesives for optical bonding, taught by John Daly, and single-point diamond turning, taught by John Schaefer, proving especially popular.
An industry executives panel (below) drew a large audience to hear thoughts on the future of metrology. Panelists included Scott DeFisher (OptiPro Systems), Andrew Kulawiec (QED Technologies), Erik Stover (AMETEK Precitech), Marc Tricard (Zygo), and Steven VanKerkhove (Corning). Thomas Battley of New York Photonics was the moderator.
Opening the exhibition -- with ceremony
Richard Nasca, Corning Tropel Corp; H. Philip Stahl, SPIE President-Elect; Maureen Duggan, Director of Economic Development for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter; and James Sydor, Sydor Optics, Inc., (l-r), cut the ribbon opening the exhibition.
First-time exhibitor Valerie Mack with Eminess Technologies said the company plans to be back in 2015. "Optifab is our first trade show. We are delighted that beginning the first day attendees are walking up to us on the show floor with our name highlighted in the Exhibition Guide," Mack said, adding, "we're seeing even more people and getting even more leads on day two."
And the winners are ...
Top presentations were honored with APOMA Best Student Paper Awards presented by exhibition co-chair Rick Nasca of Corning.
Michael Echter (above, left), University of Rochester, accepted the Exceptional Student Paper Award for "Slope-sensitive optical probe for freeform optics metrology" (with co-authors Andrew Keene, University of Rochester; Christopher Roll, MIT Lincoln Lab; Jonathan Ellis, University of Rochester).
Outstanding Student Paper Awards were accepted by Sandi Westover, for "Improved MRF spot characterization with QIS metrology" (with co-authors Christopher Hall, Michael DeMarco, QED Technologies) ...
... and Erick Koontz, for "Interaction of N-FK5 and L-BAL35 optical glass with various carbide and other precision glass mold tooling" (with co-authors Peter Wachtel, Clemson University and CREOL, University of Central Florida; David Musgraves, Clemson University, CREOL, University of Central Florida and IRradiance Glass; Kathleen Richardson, CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida and Clemson University; Safer Mourad, Michael Huber, Andreas Kunz, Martin Forrer, FISBA OPTIK AG).
Nearly 500 participants were guests at a popular clambake sponsored by APOMA, coordinated by Sydor Optics.
Happy to be in Rochester!