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Photonics’ Potential Unleashed

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James SchlettThe thing about potential is that even if it is always present, it may not be realized until the right circumstances arise. Lasers, for example, have been acknowledged as a viable joining technology. However, as detailed in our cover story (read article), “Laser Welding Joins the Lightweighting Trend,” it took the U.S. government’s imposition of stricter gas-mileage standards on automakers to compel them to more readily embrace lasers for the welding of lightweight aluminum panels for car bodies. Similarly, lidar has been recognized as an invaluable asset to mapping. But it was only after the cost of this technology came down and simultaneous location and mapping algorithms became advanced enough that mobile industrial robots managed to leave physical paths established by painted lines or magnetic tape and become truly autonomous, as Spencer Allen of Aethon explains in “Robots With Laser and Vision Systems Conquer New Industrial Terrain,” (read article).

In “Software Reinvents Machine Vision,” (read article), Pleora Technologies’ Mojtaba Hosseini details how cloud computing is unleashing the potential of machine vision systems and making them available to more manufacturers. And in “Two-Photon Polymerization: Additive Manufacturing from the Inside Out,” (read article), Newport’s Tommaso Baldacchini, Matthew Price and Phong Dinh highlight how the growing demand for microstructured materials is driving the advancement two-photon polymerization. Complementing this technical feature article is “Laser Quality Matters in Additive Manufacturing,” (read article), by Ophir-Spiricon’s Kevin Kirkham.

We hope the insights you find in this issue help you unleash your potential, too.
Oct 2016
EditorialindustrialJames Schlett

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