Lasers make it better

Looking back at the final pages of the old year, my jottings became heavier with industry happenings as the final days drew to a close.

Jan 16th, 2018

Economy is strong focus of this issue

A year passes and a new, fresh one appears as I flip my calendar over, with 12 months of blank space under each day except for some commitment appearances. Looking back at the final pages of the old year, my jottings became heavier with industry happenings as the final days drew to a close. Is this an omen for the early days of the new year?

If so, I will be relying again on the valuable services provided by the revamped ILS Editorial Advisory Board. Last year, the Board members supported me in developing the 2018 Editorial Calendar well in advance of its deadline. Individually, they pitched in with editorial contributions of their own, so special thanks go to Ron Schaeffer, Tony Hoult, and new advisor Geoff Shannon.

Bo Gu, Anant Deshpande, and Milton Lima—all new to the Board, along with Geoff—were helpful in many ways, as I called on them frequently. Also, Stan Ream and Kunihiko Washio continued to offer sage advice based on their long association with the technology. These gentlemen volunteer to be ILS Editorial Advisors in addition to the many other demands they receive as very active participants in the industrial laser community, and I am deeply appreciative of their support.

This issue focuses on the economy, as it includes my Annual Economic Review and two articles by aforementioned ILS Editorial Advisors Milton and Anant from the world’s potentially major markets—Brazil and India, respectively.

Anant tapped the leading suppliers to the India market, gaining a valued inside look at a market McKinsey & Company describes as having “a golden opportunity to join the global big leagues.” And yet, it’s a country about which CNN asked, “what happened to Modi’s (the Prime Minister) promise of an economic boom?” This is essentially a conundrum that Anant attempts to unpeel, at least in relation to growth in the industrial laser market (see article).

Milton has a slightly different problem—how to explain his country as a leader in the Southern Hemispheres after it plunged into recession and tries to turn around with expectations of only a 2.2% GDP growth in 2018 from 0.7% growth in 2017 (see article).

In the Annual Economic Review, I show how the industrial laser market runs counter to the situations in these two potential markets by racking up a giant increase in 2017 revenues (see article).

Within the economy theme of this issue is a feature that describes what may be a disruptive factor in 2018 laser revenues—the introduction of an industrial blue laser (440 nm) for welding applications by Jean-Michel Pelaprat (NUBURU; see article). I am intrigued by the sudden industrial interest in this laser. At the recent ICALEO tradeshow, it was a hot topic among advanced laser applications adherents. Later in 2018, we will revisit this technology with a feature on blue laser surface treatment.

Also in this issue, Scott Schmidt (Aerotech) discusses the attempts to address a few of the most common thermal concerns in managing thermal effects in precision scanning systems. He suggests that more work is needed to completely address these concerns (see article).

I wish all readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous year.

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