Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If this is Tuesday, it must be Belgium

Four industrial laser events are coming up in the next three months, two in Europe and two in the U.S., the first here in New England in two weeks. This event, the Symposium for Advanced Laser Applications (SALA) (www.ccat.us/sala) is, as the title implies, a two-day look at advances in industrial materials processing, with a focus on the applications that are of interest to the aerospace industry. However, the presenters are careful to advise that these applications are applicable to other industry sectors as well. One of two highlights is the first CCAT Innovation Award for Laser Applications in Manufacturing Operations, a long overdue recognition of the efforts individuals make to transition the technology into industry. The second is an Open House tour of CCAT, where SALA attendees will view five advanced laser material processing systems performing state-of-the-art applications such as laser cladding, laser drilling and laser paint stripping.

The second event chronologically is AKL’10, the International Laser Technology Congress (www.lasercongress.org) to be held in Aachen on May 5-7. This biennial event featuring more than 60 speakers has built a reputation as Germany’s leading forum for applications of laser technology in the production environment. As a presenter at the opening Technology Business Day, I can vouch for the quality of the technical presentations and the always busy technology exhibits that draw large crowds. This year the organizer, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a social celebration and tours of its facility on the last day. At a Wednesday evening banquet, the Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik AKL e.V. and the European Laser Institute will present their Innovation Award Laser Technology in a very impressive ceremony.

Later in May, the Laser Institute of America will present the Laser Additive Manufacturing (LAM) workshop in Houston on May 11-12. This is the second in the series that showcases the advances being made in this fast-growing technology. This year the feature, appropriate for the venue, will be tailoring surfaces for use in the oil, gas and energy industries. As the title indicates, this is a workshop where attendees have the opportunity to network with the speakers to learn more about LAM solutions. The highlights of LAM (www.laserinstitute.org/LAM) this year are the presentations by the always entertaining Professor Bill Steen, who will share his thoughts on the technology, and by Ingomar Kelbassa. who will describe an example of a processing application on aero-engine repairs.

And finally, if you made it this far, there is one left and that is the big one, LASYS 2010 (www.lasys-messe.de) in Stuttgart on June 8-10. A relative newcomer to the international show scene, this biennial trade fair for systems solutions in laser material processing is a one-of-a-kind event where, under one roof at the beautiful new Messe Stuttgart, legions of exhibitors, many direct competitors, will show their newest laser solutions for manufacturing operations. LASYS covers industrial lasers only and to back this up a new feature, The Solutions Centre, will be staffed by professionals ready to answer your most complex laser processing questions. Concurrent with the show are the Stuttgart Laser Technology Forum (SLT), the International Symposium on Laser Precision Microfabrication (LPM) and a short course on the Basics of Lasers and Laser Materials processing by the WLT.

If I survive all these events, there should be a resulting raft of interesting blogs.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my indebtedness to ILS Senior Editor Laureen Belleville, who is leaving for the world of biotechnology. Twenty-five years ago Laureen started her career with ILS helping me produce the first Industrial Laser Annual Handbook. Just fresh out of college she decided that technology publishing was her future and off and on over the next 20+ years, she and I worked to make ILS a leading industrial publication. Most recently, Laureen had been the driver behind our journey into the digital world and she deserves most of the credit for the ILS website and the e-newsletters. Frankly, without her, this would have been a hard trip for a dinosaur like me. So thanks, Laureen, and best of luck in your new endeavor; you will be missed.

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