I didn't know what time it was

Jan. 1, 2005
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, Industrial Laser Solutions expands its global reach.
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Good morning, your taxi is here,” said the disembodied telephone voice that woke me from a deep sleep. “What time is it,” I asked groggily. “It’s 5:30 and you are supposed to be at the airport at 6:15,” replied the room clerk at the Stuttgart hotel.

Twenty minutes later, slumped in the back seat of the taxi, as the driver set a speed record for the 20-kilometer drive to the airport, I tried to reconstruct how I had brought this on. The previous evening when arranging for the early morning taxi the room clerk asked if I needed a wake-up call. I demurred, as I always do, trusting instead in my favorite 25-year-old watch with its built-in alarm.

As I went to bed it crossed my mind, for some unknown reason, that perhaps I should call the front desk and request that wake-up call. But, with an unblemished track record using the watch alarm, I went to sleep self-assured that all was well. Suffice it to say that after setting some performance record by shaving, showering, dressing, and checking out in less than 15 minutes, it was obvious that my trusty watch had somehow failed.

I purchased this watch in Tokyo 25 years ago and it has always been reliable. It has more travel miles on it than many road warriors log in a life time. Back home I ran every conceivable test on the watch and it performed perfectly. So I’ll use it on the next trip, but I will likely have doubts and probably use the hotel wake-up as a backup.

Incidentally, you may be amused to learn that my taxi ride, with the waiting period added, used up every last Euro I had, as I was trying to avoid converting more dollars what with the current horrible exchange rate. And arriving at the Stuttgart airport I learned that my flight to Zurich was delayed by an hour. No breakfast, no Euros to buy anything anyway; just another travel experience.

My time anecdote is offered as a segue into the theme of this editorial, which is the start of the 20th year of this publication. Only a very small percentage of publication start-ups make it for a few years, and even less make it to twenty years, especially in this digital era in which we now live and function. ILS, positioned as it is in a constantly growing technology (see page 7), has the good fortune of serving a diverse readership who are curious to learn how this technology can benefit their companies, technically and economically.

But the times they are a changing. Twenty years ago the lead feature in Industrial Laser Review (our original name) was a snapshot of the industry, which then had shipments of 2000 units to bring the total installed base of industrial laser systems to about 6000 units. Lasers and systems were supplied by 267 companies, worldwide. Last year 547 suppliers shipped more than 30,000 units to bring the total installed base to more than 230,000. And prospects for the remainder of this decade look bright.

Entering the third decade, ILS has and will offer several new services to readers. First, you can choose to receive monthly issues digitally, if this method suits your lifestyle. Second, we will shortly make available an E-Newsletter that will supplement the monthly news by bringing you timely information when you can use it. Third, next month we will introduce, in partnership with Ringier, ILS China, published in Chinese for a qualified 20,000 readers engaged in manufacturing in China and Taiwan. China is a hot market right now so our timing is perfect. And, finally, we are beefing up our Website with more timely news and articles to bring you technology and industry information.

It’s a grand start for a new year and we look forward to serving our readers with this expanded editorial coverage. We wouldn’t have been here for the past 20 years if it hadn’t been for the support of our advertisers, and we thank them and look forward to continuing relationships.

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.

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