EuroBlech attendees question the economy

Oct. 21, 2008
David Belforte, ILS Editor in Chief, fields questions about the industrial laser market and the U.S. and global economy on the first day of EuroBlech

Believe me, we are not making this up. There are pockets of prosperity in the North American manufacturing sector that contradicts all the published statistical data being disseminated.

Short of giving you a list of confidential laser system activity the industry shared with us, you'll have to take our word for it. Much of the industry in North America is responding to an attitude summed up by one of several suppliers we have interviewed, commenting on their customers, "They are still receiving orders for products that require laser processing from recession proof companies."

So, rather than quizzing me about the laser industry being out of step with reality, rejoice for now.

ILS is now attending the last two important industry events of 2008, Euroblech and the ICALEO Vendor Exhibit. The former has more than 70 European industrial laser systems and ancillary product suppliers while the latter has about 100 suppliers of laser goods and services. By the end of the week we should have a perspective on the European market and indications on the health of the North American market.

Mind you there is no good economic news in any global market. However, allow me to share one observation about the so-called panic amongst the populace in Germany. On a rare Sunday shopping day in Hannover (all the stores were open until 8 PM) I observed crowds of people shopping in numbers reminiscent of a Saturday morning. And many of them were carrying bags bulging with purchased goods. Is this a sign of a recession?

Am I the only one living in a world that needs a reality check?

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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