Now that we’ve been back from the Laser World of Photonics Munich show for a while, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the experience. I always like trade shows, it gives me a chance to learn about all the applications out there, catch up with customers, and usually, when everything goes well, meet some potential new customers. It’s exciting. I don’t, these days, particularly enjoy traveling. Frankly, I’d rather stay at home, but I really do enjoy meeting people and engaging in discussions. There is a symbiotic teaching and learning process in every discussion that we have. The hope is that the folks we meet will learn something as well and perhaps take away something that is useful for their products. I have found that the most important organ we have at these shows is our ears. Learning what each customer and market segment considers important is critical for us as we develop a corporate understanding of each market segment that we serve.
As a supplier of small specialized cooling systems, we serve multiple markets across a broad spectrum of applications. These applications range from Military to Industrial Laser, MedTech to electric vehicles, and electronics and laboratory equipment. Each interaction with every person we meet at these trade shows is an opportunity to learn. Because we serve so many markets, we spread our time across each of them in turn. The trade shows are a chance to take some time and develop a real understanding of how our offerings and technology are able to penetrate a market and effectively help our customers compete in those markets.
For example, the Dry Cooling approach that we are doing with EKSPLA started years ago when we learned that something like 80% of the laser companies don’t like their chillers. We came up with what we called a direct refrigerant cooling approach, also referred to as dry cooling. This eliminates the source of most chiller failures by eliminating the pump, liquid loop, and reservoir. The reliable portion of the system is the vapor compression loop. Analysis showed that the Direct Refrigerant approach would be at least 40% more efficient, virtually maintenance-free, and much more reliable than any pumped loop system. The technology we brought to bear on this came from military programs where we developed direct refrigerant approaches to cooling phased array antennas and battery packs in electric vehicles. The experience with our Environmental Control unit on military programs since 2010 shows just how reliable these systems can be when subjected to harsh field conditions. After a discussion with EKSPLA at the last live Laser World of Photonics in 2019, this military-developed technology has now transitioned onto their Femtolux laser in an industrial laser application. EKSPLA had the vision to integrate dry cooling into their lineup of lasers. They are now leveraging military-proven technology into the industrial laser market as a result of a technical conversation at Laser World of Photonics. We learned that our combination of military reliability, size, capacity, and efficiency was uniquely able to meet critical requirements for this market.
At a trade show, there is more time for discussion. There is no substitute for face-to-face discussion, even for technical matters. I once heard a government official state that he never approved a contract with someone he hadn’t met. He, officially is not allowed to do that, but the point is, that meeting people with different ideas and applications is critical to the progress of business, markets, and technology.
Until the next show,