ICALEO 2016: Strong conference with strong attendance

The 35th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) convened in San Diego, CA, on October 16-20, 2016.

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The 35th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) convened in San Diego, CA, on October 16-20, 2016. Over 400 attendees from the US and 20 other countries filled the meeting rooms, where speakers presented over 185 papers on advanced uses of industrial lasers for cutting, welding, cladding, surface texturing, microprocessing, ablation, nanoprocessing, additive manufacturing, drilling, and other new and emerging applications.

ICALEO was spawned from the 1981 International Laser Processing Conference, a joint venture between the Laser Institute of America (LIA) and the Japan Society for Laser Processing, which was the first conjoining of international speakers and attendees on this nascent technology. This event, which I had the pleasure of arranging, producing, and chairing, was a first-time commingling of many of those personalities who were to become the leading authorities on industrial laser processing—a virtual Industrial Laser Technology Hall of Fame.

At this year's LIA annual meeting and luncheon, listening to Peter Baker reminisce as he retires after 28 years as LIA Executive Director, I recalled my 45 years in the LIA serving as President, Board Member, and Schawlow Award honoree, as well as the early ICALEO days where a growing society matured and assumed a place as a leading international forum on laser material processing.

Many times in the course of my editorship of Industrial Laser Solutions, I am asked about emerging applications that will feed the growth of industrial lasers in the coming years. My response is to steer the inquirer to the proceedings of past ICALEOs where, likely as not, the hot applications of their time were introduced.

After this year's event, they may be ultrashort-pulse (ultrafast) laser cutting of polymers and surfacing ceramics, nanosecond processing of carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, microfabrication of microneedles, dissimilar joining of PET to aluminum sheets, and high-power aircraft paint stripping, to name a few.

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