Fall 2016's hot conferences for laser material processing

Fall is upon us again, and that means everyone is gearing up their show and customer-visit travel schedule. 

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Fall is upon us again and that means everyone is gearing up their travel schedule, particularly to attend a number of important conferences and shows and also, while in the field, to visit customers onsite.

During the week of September 12th, the big event will be held in Chicago at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) show, which takes place every other year. This show used to have a laser pavilion to promote laser machining to some degree, but a few years ago they stopped promoting laser manufacturing in general by suggesting that Fabtech was perhaps a better venue. So, even though to some extent IMTS abandoned the laser community, this community would not completely abandon the show! This is especially true for the bigger vendors that have both traditional machine tools and laser-based manufacturing tools.

This year, the Laser Institute of America (LIA) has scheduled a conference on laser processing in conjunction with the show, which will be held on Tuesday, September 13th, and address all forms of laser-based industrial manufacturing. IMTS in general will have over 2000 exhibitors, and current registered attendance is in excess of 114,000. Coming out of a fourth straight month of economic expansion in the US (as of June 2016 and reported by the Institute of Supply Management), the show promises to be vibrant, as most vendors are optimistic about the next few quarters, even with uncertainties like the US Presidential Election and Brexit hovering overhead.

The following week is the MDM show in Minneapolis. This medical device manufacturing event has become very active in the past few years and probably has surpassed the NYC MDM show in quality, if not attendance. The Minneapolis area is still a hot area for medical device manufacturing, and there are also a number of laser vendors in the area offering both equipment and services. As usual, this show always attracts engineers from places like Boston Scientific, St. Jude, the Mayo Clinic, 3M, and a number of other manufacturing companies looking for not only medical device fabrication, but also for high-precision processing. And as usual, the hottest laser venue of the week is the Open House held at ILT (Innovative Laser Technologies) on Tuesday night before the show.

For everyone in New England, the regional Design to Part show will be held in Marlboro, MA, on September 28-29. This is one of a number of smaller venues that feature more intimate interaction between people than the bigger shows.

Note also that the LIA's flagship show, ICALEO, will be held in sunny San Diego again this year during the week of October 16th. This is a fabulous conference for meeting and interacting with some real power players in the international laser industry. Fabtech, another international venue, will be held in Las Vegas during the week of November 14th. (I will comment more about these shows in upcoming blogs.)

In conclusion, I hope everyone had a great and relaxing summer and I look forward to getting on the road, seeing old friends and meeting new ones—while promoting laser machining technology.

I am always interested in hearing your thoughts concerning laser micromachining, the laser industry, comments on entrepreneurial endeavors, etc. AND … we are always looking for fresh, publishable material. Please feel free to contact me at rschaeffer@photomachining.com.

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