ORLANDO, FL, October 4, 2011 — Laser-based manufacturing got a significant shot in the arm in September as the Laser Institute of America drew nearly 70 exhibitors and over 800 experts, advocates and practitioners to its first-ever Lasers for Manufacturing Event.
LIA, the leading laser applications and safety authority, created LME to do something no other U.S. based organization has done: convene the laser-manufacturing brain trust to educate representatives from various industries about how to improve efficiency and profitability with laser welding, cladding, drilling and cutting technology. The show, held Sept. 27-28 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL, drew not only manufacturers located near the venue but attendees from other countries including Russia, Japan, Egypt, Korea and Turkey.
“This show is helping to create good-paying jobs, it’s helping to improve American competitiveness and it’s educating people on the technology they need,” asserted LIA Executive Director Peter Baker. “We are doing what the president and the government are only talking about doing.”
The Event struck a balance between educational tracks and opportunities for laser-equipment vendors to give one-on-one advice to those seeking guidance on laser applications for the automotive, aerospace, medical device and power generation sectors. A special “technology showcase theater” allowed more than 40 industry players to present vital information to attendees in 10-to-20-minute segments. Top-tier firms like IPG Photonics, TRUMPF Inc, Laser Mechanisms, Laserline, Lincoln Electric, Fraunhofer, Coherent, ABB, Laserage and others shared decades of expertise in solving a host of manufacturing problems with lasers.
“It’s a good opportunity for everybody to learn about all the technologies in the same place,” said Octavio Islas, an automotive product engineer with Magna/Cosma in Mexico. “You can get a lot of information from all the suppliers. If you have any specific requirement, you have people with a lot of knowledge and experience, and they can tell you about your application and all the details.”
Critical to LME’s value were four one-hour sessions detailing the types of lasers available, how to assemble them into powerful manufacturing systems, how to choose the proper processes for maximizing return on investment and how to use lasers safely.
Furthermore, four half-hour keynote addresses gave attendees up-to-the-minute developments in how lasers are being employed in 21st-century manufacturing. Auto-industry consultant Mariana Forrest, who spent 30 years at Chrysler, provided a survey of the industry’s increasing embrace of lasers to create more and more parts. GE Aviation consulting engineer Todd Rockstroh discussed how lasers produce highly sophisticated aviation turbine blades and overcame maintenance issues for the B1 bomber fleet in the early 1990s. Additive manufacturing expert Bill O’Neill of Cambridge University piqued attendees’ interest with envelope-pushing applications such as the “Airbike,” built by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company from the ground up solely with lasers and nylon powder. And Roberto Alzaga of Medtronic addressed how lasers are perfect for creating highly sensitive, highly regulated medical devices.
“It was a very successful start,” said LIA President Stephen Capp, CEO of Laserage in Waukegan, IL “The people I talked to were very pleased with the ability to come and just focus on equipment vendors that are very industry specific. I was very pleased at the turnout and we’re looking forward to putting together a bigger and better event next year.” LME 2012 will be held October 23-24, 2012 in Schaumburg, IL. More information can be found at www.laserevent.org.
LME was held just a month before LIA’s annual International Congress on the Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO), which will be held Oct. 23-27 in Orlando, FL. The so-called “Super Bowl” of the laser industry will feature dozens of expert speakers. Visit www.icaleo.org to register or learn more about the LIA’s full range of laser-safety publications, courses and online resources.
Laser Institute of America (LIA) is the professional society for laser applications and safety serving the industrial, educational, medical, research and government communities throughout the world since 1968. www.lia.org , 13501 Ingenuity Drive, Ste 128, Orlando, FL 32826, 407.380.1553