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Doing What Needs to Be Done

Photonics Spectra
Nov 2011
I work in an office, but I have a real fondness for the noise and commotion of a manufacturing plant – the energy and activity of things being made – so I was excited to attend the inaugural Lasers for Manufacturing Event (LME), produced by the Laser Institute of America (LIA) in Illinois in September. The mission for the show was “to provide a one-stop event for companies interested in integrating laser technology into their production.”

Of course, there wasn’t any manufacturing going on at LME – or any of the noise of a factory floor – but there was plenty of energy and excitement about the technologies being featured by speakers and exhibitors. Think lasers in automobile production and airplane engine manufacturing – just two of the keynote topics presented to underscore the point that lasers are critical tools in the making of things the world needs and wants. Of course, people worldwide are talking about manufacturing and jobs creation, something truly needed.

“What we’re doing right here at LME, with no taxpayer support, is what the president and his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have failed to do: creating well-paying jobs, training people on technology and increasing US competitiveness,” LIA Executive Director Peter Baker told me at the event.

LME is the latest effort by the organization in pursuit of its mission to “foster lasers, laser applications and laser safety worldwide.” Baker believes that the LIA is doing what needs to be done. “I’m very pleased and proud about that.”

The next LME is scheduled for Oct. 23-24, 2012, and will be held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill.

If lasers excite you, two articles in this issue may be of particular interest. REO’s Trey Turner and Mark Damery contribute an overview of how high-precision aspheric lenses for visible and near-infrared uses are fabricated, coated and tested, helping purchasers properly specify aspheres while avoiding unnecessary costs. The article, “Aspheric Optics: Ask for What You Want,” begins on page 59.

Contributing editor Hank Hogan offers a look at where extreme-UV laser technology stands today, where it needs to be and when, and how it might get there. Read the article, “Extreme Ultraviolet: A New Frontier for Lasers,” beginning on page 54.

After a trip to ICALEO in Florida at the end of October, I repacked my bag for Vision 2011 in Stuttgart, Germany. Look for our coverage of both events, and if you are at Vision 2011, I hope you’ll stop by the Photonics Media booth to say hello.


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