LIA and FMA take over automotive laser workshop

ORLANDO, FL-The Laser Institute of America (LIA) and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA; Rockford, IL) have purchased the Automotive Laser Application Workshop (ALAW) from founder Frank DiPietro.

ORLANDO, FL-The Laser Institute of America (LIA) and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA; Rockford, IL) have purchased the Automotive Laser Application Workshop (ALAW) from founder Frank DiPietro. A former General Motors executive, DiPietro established the ALAW about 15 years ago in an effort to spur the U.S. auto industry to be more proactive in its adoption of laser materials-processing technologies and techniques. DiPietro, who is nearly 80, will chair the 2007 conference and continue as a consultant for five more years.

At its peak, the annual event drew around 400 attendees; in recent years, attendance had leveled off at around 200. But with speakers from around the world, the ALAW has become known as a major forum for advancing the use of lasers in automotive applications. This year’s conference included three days of presentations by industry leaders on fiber lasers, Nd:YAG laser welding, remote beam laser welding, combined laser cutting and welding, and laser surface technology in automotive applications.

For the LIA and FMA, the joint acquisition represents an opportunity to bring together the laser technology and safety standards expertise of LIA and the metal fabricating industry and educational strengths of FMA to produce an educational conference beneficial to both organizations’ members and readers.

“I think some people have incorrectly thought that we only deal with the science and laser/materials interaction side of things through ICALEO,” said LIA executive director, Peter Baker. “But our new involvement with the ALAW will put a sharper focus on our work with applications and end users, which is good for us.”

The next ALAW will take place in Plymouth in April 2007.

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