Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Outside my window it is snowing hard. This is the third Nor’easter in 5 days, the first two being inconsequential, just 1 and 4 inches, respectively. But this one is, as we say here in New England, a "wicked storm", with 20+ inches already down and more to come.

Friends and colleagues across the pond in Western Europe know what I am writing about as they have had one of the worst winters for snow in decades, with some of them living in countries where snow depth records were set. I’ll be seeing many of them in a few days at Photonics West in San Francisco, and I am sure we’ll greet each other with outstretched hands showing the snow depth.

My good friend and SALA colleague, Bob Murray, tells me he and his wife, Pauline, fought their way up Interstate 84 from Danbury, Connecticut to East Hartford in 5 hours Saturday night. It’s only a 60-minute drive normally, but 8 inches of unplowed snow closed the highway, forcing a backroad detour. I can’t believe he left the warmer Hilton Head, S.C., for an old fashion Nor’easter this week.

Bob was calling to bring me up to date on SALA activities. (The 6th Annual Symposium for Advanced Laser Applications will be held in Hartford on April 13 to 14.) Registrations, sponsors, and tabletop reservations are coming in and the speaker’s panel is filling up. This year the Organizing Committee has taken a new tack: All speakers will be end users nominated by a panel of product suppliers. The plan is to meet the goal of being the first “end users” symposium, and attendees are being invited from all over North America. To accommodate those traveling long distances, SALA has been moved to the Sheraton Hartford and a block of rooms at an attractive rate will make attending economical.

The program has been arranged so that attendees can pick and choose sessions and combine this with time to meet and discuss projects with the exhibitors in an adjacent room. For example, there is a session on laser drilling, another on laser welding, and one on surface modification, cutting, additive manufacturing, coating removal and process control.

SALA will be an event where users can get the latest information on their processing activity, and those new to the technology can learn more about the processes and the economics of each as shared by the speakers who themselves are users.

ILS is deeply involved with SALA. I serve on the Organizing and Planning Committees and ILS is the exclusive media partner. So we are looking forward to this opportunity to meet with a diverse group of manufacturing professionals who share one interest: laser materials processing.

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