Thirty-five years ago, believe it or not, potential users of laser energy did not have a reference book that offered clues to producing weldable joints; clean-edged, smooth cuts in stainless steel; or round, straight-sided, small-diameter holes in metals. A group of postdoc students in Germany approached this writer, then a Contributing Editor to Laser Focus magazine, asking if there was a way a handbook presenting data on industrial laser processing could be produced. With their agreement to contribute to such a publication, the Industrial Laser Annual Handbook was published, eventually for six years.
However, after the first year, it became clear that industrial laser material processing was moving too fast for yearly publishing. So, in June 1986, Industrial Laser Review (ILR) was born as a monthly hybrid newsletter/magazine to successfully fill the need for current information. Thirteen years later in 1999, ILR morphed into Industrial Laser Solutions for Manufacturing (ILS), and today, it is the only routinely distributed global publication focusing on that subject exclusively.
Over the succeeding years, the publishing world, responding to changing readership tastes, began a switch to digital, and ILS joined in with bimonthly distribution. The introduction of powerful mobile communication devices, smartphones, enabled readers to instantly access technical data, wherever and whenever they wanted.
However, to paraphrase ILS Publisher Paul Andrews, the business media industry continues to be challenged with all forms of disruption and we continually strive to better serve you, our audience, as well as our advertiser base. So, we will be implementing a change in the January 2021 timeframe. Whereas ILS has been published six times per year, in digital-edition format, we will be transitioning the publication to a 12-time frequency for 2021 by integrating our content into Laser Focus World’s magazine. ILS will have its own section within the magazine and this content will also be available as part of Laser Focus World’s digital edition. Subscribers will continue to receive the digital edition via email, but it will now include both Laser Focus World and Industrial Laser Solutions content. If you are an ILS subscriber, you do not have to do anything to receive the new edition. Our website, industrial-lasers.com, will continue unchanged. However, the website will be promoted via new navigation in the Laser Focus World website.
Regular readers can look forward to pertinent information delivered throughout 2021 with technology features contributed by industry-leading experts every month. The 2021 editorial calendar is already set. For January, we will start the new year with two thought-provoking features, the first discussing the rising international appearance of new China-developed, globally marketed, world-class industrial lasers and systems based on Chinese intellectual property. ILS Editorial Advisor Dr. Bo Gu titles his article “China decoupling—the world splits into two economic blocs.”
Not to be outdone, Dr. Irene Petrick (Intel) counters with a discussion of the importance for domestic manufacturers to remain agile to disruptions in the global supply chain, and how technology is enabling this transformation and utilizing digitalization to become more agile and resilient. ILS continues the tradition of being aware of non-technology issues affecting the technology.