ICALEO 2016: Strong conference with strong attendance

Oct. 24, 2016
The 35th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) convened in San Diego, CA, on October 16-20, 2016.
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The 35th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) convened in San Diego, CA, on October 16-20, 2016. Over 400 attendees from the US and 20 other countries filled the meeting rooms, where speakers presented over 185 papers on advanced uses of industrial lasers for cutting, welding, cladding, surface texturing, microprocessing, ablation, nanoprocessing, additive manufacturing, drilling, and other new and emerging applications.

ICALEO was spawned from the 1981 International Laser Processing Conference, a joint venture between the Laser Institute of America (LIA) and the Japan Society for Laser Processing, which was the first conjoining of international speakers and attendees on this nascent technology. This event, which I had the pleasure of arranging, producing, and chairing, was a first-time commingling of many of those personalities who were to become the leading authorities on industrial laser processing—a virtual Industrial Laser Technology Hall of Fame.

At this year's LIA annual meeting and luncheon, listening to Peter Baker reminisce as he retires after 28 years as LIA Executive Director, I recalled my 45 years in the LIA serving as President, Board Member, and Schawlow Award honoree, as well as the early ICALEO days where a growing society matured and assumed a place as a leading international forum on laser material processing.

Many times in the course of my editorship of Industrial Laser Solutions, I am asked about emerging applications that will feed the growth of industrial lasers in the coming years. My response is to steer the inquirer to the proceedings of past ICALEOs where, likely as not, the hot applications of their time were introduced.

After this year's event, they may be ultrashort-pulse (ultrafast) laser cutting of polymers and surfacing ceramics, nanosecond processing of carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, microfabrication of microneedles, dissimilar joining of PET to aluminum sheets, and high-power aircraft paint stripping, to name a few.

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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