There has been a growing interest, among the industrial laser equipment suppliers, for a trade show of their own in which to promote their products to potential buyers who attend because of this interest. The Laser Institute of America (LIA), an international society mainly known as the organizer of the world renowned International Congress on Lasers and Electro-Optics (ICALEO), stepped up to the plate last year and they organized the first Lasers for Manufacturing Event (LME).
The October 22nd second convening of this event, again held in Schaumburg, IL, was a larger version of the inaugural with an additional 30% exhibitors and a growth in attendance of 37%. Peter Baker, LIA executive director, told me that the growth of LME was akin to that old adage, "You must crawl before you walk." Consequently the LIA, with two years under its belt, has committed to another three years at the attractive and convenient Schaumburg Convention Center.
Attempting to slide an industrial trade show into an already crowded calendar is not an easy task. Many of these trade shows (IMTS, Fabtech, EuroBlech, MD&M, and even the LIA's own ICALEO) have industrial laser material processing related content, drawing away potential exhibitors and attendees. However LME is a truly different show -- it is a show of industrial laser suppliers showing their products to interested laser buyers. As more than one exhibitor told me this year, "The level of interest among attendees is of high quality because this is an industrial laser show, and the majority of visitors came because they have interest in this technology." Another exhibitor said they had doubled their orders this year over last year. Confirming this good news, 90% of exhibitors surveyed advised they will return next year.