The Laser Institute of America (LIA) of Orlando, Fla., and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) of Rockford, Ill., have purchased the Automotive Laser Applications Workshop (ALAW) from Frank DiPietro, who founded the event in 1992. The workshop is targeted to those with an interest in flexible applications for automotive laser materials processing systems.ALAW is now owned equally by LIA, a society dedicated to laser applications and safety, and FMA, which provides resources for metal fabrication companies to improve operations through education and training. The intent of the acquisition is to provide an educational laser technology conference that increases the use of lasers in auto manufacturing.The 2006 conference included three days of presentations by international experts in the field on fiber lasers, Nd:YAG and remote-beam laser welding, combined laser cutting and welding, and laser surface technology in automotive applications.ALAW 2007 will have basically the same format and emphasis as this year’s meeting, according to Peter Baker, executive director of LIA. A steering committee to represent the needs of the various interested parties will be formed over the summer, he added.DiPietro, a former executive at the Detroit-based General Motors Corp., will be chairman of next year’s conference. It will be held April 17 to 19 in Plymouth, Mich., and will continue with the theme of flexible laser processing for automobile manufacturing.