AILU turns 25

March 11, 2020
Congratulations to our friends, colleagues, and contemporaries at the Association of Industrial Laser Users in the UK on entering their 25th year in May 2020.
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Congratulations to our friends, colleagues, and contemporaries at the Association of Industrial Laser Users in the UK on entering (in May 2020) their 25th year as an independent, non-profit organization run by and for laser users involved in activities including manufacturing, healthcare, and academic and industrial research, as well as suppliers of laser-related products and services (their words).

Historically, Mike Green, John Powell, and a few other like-minded industrial laser enthusiasts decided, over more than one pint, that it was time for industrial laser users in the UK to get together in a trade association to share their experiences, ideas and information, a concept that has not been very successful here in the U.S.  

Mike Green was the perfect person to head up what became AILU and under his leadership, with strong support from industry leaders in the UK, coupled with the blessings of the British government and academic bodies, the newly born group became a vital part in the country’s growth, and in many instances leadership in establishing many successful installations throughout the nation. 

It was my pleasure to participate in early workshops, conferences, and trade events the AILU organizedand a privilege to become a sort-of associate member. Mike Green and his successor Dave MacLellan have been very generous in sharing technical editorial to Industrial Laser Solutions, and more than once bailed me out of a last-minute author withdrawal of a promised article.  

I admire the membership’s acceptance and support of AILU educational activities and the persistence of the organization’s Editorial Board in sustaining the house magazine The Laser User. I know, firsthand, the difficulties print magazines face today and applaud the generous financial backing this publication draws, enabling the AILU to continue to meet its goal to “disseminate technical information and to present the views of its members.   

Best wishes to the AILU as it enters the next phase of its continuation.

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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