| Conard Holton|
Associate Publisher, Editor in Chief
Laser Focus World
Peter Baker, executive director of the LIA, said the goal had been distilling what might be found at numerous other large North American trade shows where a laser exhibitor might see only a few interested attendees out of thousands, and where attendees might have difficulty learning about industrial laser processes and finding laser companies with products of interest.
The location in Schaumburg was a bit remote, but still only 20 minutes from O’Hare airport and easily accessible to manufacturing companies in the upper Midwest. Baker said it was fulfilling the mission of the LIA, which is to foster lasers, laser applications, and laser safety—not to mention spurring economic development.
In addition to free courses on laser basics, advantages, and safety, speakers such as Todd Rockstroh from GE addressed topics such as lasers in aerospace, automotive, and biomedical device manufacturing. Bill O’Neill, director of the Centre of Industrial Photonics at Cambridge University, gave an engaging talk on the impact of laser technology on additive manufacturing, describing the waste and inefficiency of most processes and inefficiency of supply chains (see photo). His description of additive manufacturing, including laser sintering and 3D printing, opened a few eyes to the potential for consumer products, personal electronics, displays, solar power sources, and much more.