Celebrating 25 years

Jan. 1, 2010
Twenty-five years ago, over lunch, Morris Leavitt (Moe), publisher of Laser Focus World, and I, a contributing editor to that magazine, were discussing the dearth of useful published information describing procedures for laser materials processing.

Twenty-five years ago, over lunch, Morris Leavitt (Moe), publisher of Laser Focus World, and I, a contributing editor to that magazine, were discussing the dearth of useful published information describing procedures for laser materials processing. You may find this hard to believe but in 1985 there were a limited number of articles or books addressing the functional issues of laser materials processing. I mentioned to Moe that at a conference held in Dusseldorf, from which I had just returned, several young post graduate students had bemoaned the fact that they found this paucity of useful processing data a serious drawback to their experimental thesis work. And they postulated that this situation could impact the growth of the laser in their industrial manufacturing operations.

Moe, always the entrepreneur, asked me if these young men and women would be willing to act as advisors to a publication that would address their stated concerns. Recognizing the deep interest of these former students—many performing entry-level work on laser processing at a number of large German companies—I offered to contact them, which I did. Their enthusiastic responses and offers of support led to the creation of the Industrial Laser Annual Handbook, a hard-bound publication that mixed practical laser processing data with technical articles on the subject.

As work on this new publication progressed it became clear to Moe and me that an annual publication, while needed, was not the vehicle for more rapid dissemination of the technology news (remember this was before the Internet), as the industries were gearing up for more widespread installations of the processes. The Annual Handbook continued publication until 1993 when it was decided that it’s original goal had been accomplished with the availability of numerous publications on the subject.

Consequently, over another lunch (we seemed to make all our momentous decisions over a good meal) we decided to start publishing a subscription newsletter directed to those interested in using the technology for manufacturing. Thus was born Industrial Laser Review (later to be renamed Industrial Laser Solutions for Manufacturing) with me as editor.

By now the story of its change to a controlled circulation magazine with advertising is well known (see ILS December 2009) as a result of a very warm reception at a June 1986 machine tool show in Philadelphia. What is not as well known is that at that time the industrial laser supplier industry was fragmented, populated by laser companies looking for markets for their products. In this issue of ILS you can see how certain applications eventually drove the market.

In that inaugural issue of the magazine, for the first time a profile of the industrial laser market was made, predecessor to the annual report that appears in this month’s issue. Also in the first issue were a report by Moe from China, then only a dream market, and the first of countless reports from international laser materials processing conferences. Technology reports covered: laser versus EDM, laser microsoldering, aerosol can nozzles drilling, laser versus electron beam for welding, surface texturizing, a new laser/robot system, and an automobile bumper mounting hole cutting system. These and similar subjects have been faithfully covered for the 25 years of ILR/ILS, making the magazine the oldest continuous resource for industrial laser materials processing applications.

ILS could not have survived the years without the support of the industrial laser community to whom we are eternally grateful. There have been times when economics dictated budget reductions, but even then the industry rallied to support us. We thank you and look forward to the coming years.

About the Author

David Belforte | Contributing Editor

David Belforte (1932-2023) was an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and had been actively involved in this technology for more than 50 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, served clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David held degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (1986-2022) and contributed to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World. He retired from Laser Focus World in late June 2022.

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a Micro 3D Printed Benchmark Part: Send us your file.

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!