The Laser Institute of America’s Lasers for Manufacturing Event in Schaumburg last week was a complete success. While there was some concern on the first morning about attendance numbers, by the end of the first day, all of the vendors I talked to agreed that even if the quantity of participants was not extremely high, the quality of leads was fantastic!
Everyone reported that the show exceeded expectations. At least one of our industry colleagues was written a check for a laser on the show floor. The tutorials and talks were also well attended (even those starting early in the am …) and, in my case at least, an extra hour was spent after the tutorial addressing individual questions.
This year, the "Ask the Expert" booth was located at the Hall entrance, and until the last few hours of the second day, it was pretty busy with visitors asking questions on everything from laser welding dissimilar materials, to ITO removal, catheter hole drilling, and 3D mold profiling. "Magic Hats" were provided by the LIA organizers – which did not seem to scare people off (see photo – the blur is probably the magic aura surrounding the Experts). Next year, I hear there will be wands.
If you missed the show, plan to attend next year in the same place in the autumn (although in future years, the timing and venue may change). If you really can’t wait that long to hang out with all the cool laser people, consider attending the LIA’s ICALEO event from 6-11 October in Miami. General Conference Chair, Dr. Stefan Kaierle from Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., and his collaborators have arranged for a variety of technical talks in the Materials Processing Conference and the Microprocessing conference, as well as stellar speakers for the Plenary sessions on Monday morning and Thursday afternoon.
As I have reported previously, without going into hard numbers, the laser industry seems to be very robust, and there are always new applications, new lasers, and optical technologies being commercialized. I know of a few new products that will be launched this autumn at upcoming venues like ICALEO and Fabtech. It should continue to be an interesting ramp into winter.
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