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Light Brings Greener Skies, Manufacturing’s Future

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2013
Karen A. Newman, Group Publisher, karen.newman@photonics.com

“The people in manufacturing need to reinvent themselves. They need to rethink the way they’re doing things.”

Those strong words come from AV&R president Eric Beauregard at the end of Contributing Editor Hank Hogan’s article in this issue about eco-friendly processes being introduced into aircraft-parts manufacturing. And it seems that many manufacturers are getting the message. The feature, “Photonics Helps Create Greener Airways,” presents laser and imaging technologies being put to work making airplane engines more fuel efficient. AV&R makes robotic finishing and automated visual inspection systems for use on gas turbine parts.

Manufacturing is on the rise again in the US, and while it neither looks nor feels like the factory heyday of the previous century, industry here is retooling for economic and environmental sustainability. Photonic technologies have advanced significantly and are an ever-growing part of manufacturing’s future.

Some aviation industry manufacturers are turning to automated visual inspection as well as laser additive manufacturing to take weight out of components and ensure parts are made correctly, Hogan reports, adding a reminder that additive manufacturing is a nascent technology. Just a couple of years ago, additive manufacturing was an emerging technology with a goal of “has arrived” status by 2014, said Scott Deutsch, a spokesman for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. For more news from the manufacturing front, including what’s needed from lasers, read the entire article, beginning on page 38.

If you are looking for the latest in laser technology for manufacturing, check out Laser Institute of America’s Lasers for Manufacturing Event (LME), Sept. 11-12, in Chicago. LME aims to be a one-stop show for manufacturers looking to bring laser technology to their production process. You will find Photonics Media at booth 1026.

The role that photonics plays in manufacturing will be the subject of an Expert Briefing webinar from Photonics Media in late September. Watch for details coming soon.

2014 Prism Awards

Finally, if you have recently introduced a light-based product for advanced manufacturing – 3-D printing, automated alignment techniques, modified component designs or anything else – you may want to submit an entry for the 2014 Prism Awards, which close in late September. Advanced manufacturing is one of 11 categories of interest for this round of the annual awards, which Photonics Media is proud to present in partnership with SPIE at a gala event during SPIE Photonics West in February. For complete details, visit www.photonicsprismaward.com.

Enjoy the issue.


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