Sales of industrial laser equipment and systems in North America fell to $116.6 million in the third quarter of 2007, which is a drop of 17.6 percent from the previous quarter, according to sales data compiled by the Association for Manufacturing Technology in McLean, Va.The association said, however, that the decline is not particularly alarming and that it falls within normal quarter-to-quarter market fluctuations. Robert W. Gardner, vice president of public relations, said that long-term sales of industrial lasers have been trending upward, and no single factor or event explains the recent drop.The agency’s quarterly Laser Market Data Survey found that the value of orders for CO2 lasers decreased by 16.4 percent in the third quarter. A total of 225 units, with a value of $96.4 million, were sold. During the same period, the number of Nd:YAG units ordered fell 26.4 percent.Overall, of the 374 total units of all types that were ordered in the third quarter, 68.4 percent of industrial laser orders were configured as a laser system (laser source and workstation). Orders within North America in the third quarter accounted for $80.2 million in sales, while exports accounted for approximately $36.4 million.The third-quarter 2007 figures are based on data voluntarily reported by 24 laser companies participating in the survey. Second-quarter data was revised to reflect any changes participants made during the course of the third quarter.The Web-based benchmarking survey tracks and reports order data from North American manufacturers and suppliers of industrial lasers, including complete industrial laser machines (workstations and laser source), beam delivery only (workstations) and source only.