Photonics in motion: Interview with Dr Bernd Ludwig, Head of the Adlershof Photonics and Optics Centre
ADLERSHOF SPECIAL: There’s motion at the Photonics Centre in Adlershof. Is this more than just the ups and downs in the wake of the crisis and recovery?
DR BERND LUDWIG: It’s not as though there had never been a crisis at all on our sector. At the final count, our company’s turnover has remained stable all in all, and in the course of this year, the economy pulled noticeably. The Photonics Centre hasn’t seen a single idle area in years, and it has 17,000 square metres to offer. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of motion. Last year a quarter of the rented areas were leased out to new tenants because the former holders of many years’ standing have now set up their own headquarters. The administration of Sulfurcell Solartechnik GmbH moved to its new building at Groß-Berliner Damm, and one of the major tenants, Sentech Instruments GmbH, has now taken up residence opposite the Photonics Centre. Next year over 3,000 square metres will be vacated because other companies have so to speak grown out of the Photonics Centre. But I’m convinced that this time too these areas will quickly find new tenants.
What reasons do you see for this trend?
Besides the general economic trend, these can be found quite specifically in the technology fields of photonics and optical technologies. The sector is predicted to grow by about eight to ten percent annually, a prediction that has been confirmed by some of the local companies we surveyed recently here. These companies are planning expansions, and some are even intending to build themselves. I believe the next ten years will see us double our area and triple our turnover. And we can keep up this growth for some time to come.
How do you explain these companies’ unflagging interest in settling here?
We have the various founder and technology centres for tenants, fully developed areas of the right size for medium to large companies, and an extremely motivated and well trained workforce. In addition, an excellent traffic link, also internationally, to the BBI Airport and an extremely attractive environment: the City of Berlin and its affluent suburbs. Although the original foundation of the location is science and research, these days twothirds of the budget and revenue here come from the companies. Science and business work closely together – even beyond the limits of technology fields. Photonics and optical technologies are classical cross sectional technologies, with close links e.g. to microsystems engineering, IT, bioengineering, and medical engineering. In the meantime, the business and science location Adlershof also generates a certain magnetism.
To what extent has the Adlershof Technology Park become a concept?
Earlier I used to ask Berlin taxi drivers whether Adlershof said anything to them. Now they all know Adlershof. In expert circles the location has a good reputation anyway, both in Germany and on an increasing front abroad too. But of course you’ve got to market it as well – and all the more so if we intend to continue our growth here.