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Laser Versatility Marks Technology’s Growth

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


It has been more than 50 years since Goldfinger’s “more practical toy”—an industrial laser—threatened Sean Connery’s James Bond as he was strapped to a table of faux gold. A little trickeration freed the fast-thinking Bond, but it has been the magic of the laser, then just in its infancy, that would make it a versatile manufacturing process. CO2 laser technology has proven itself to be a workhorse, especially for cutting medium-to-thick sheet and plate for industries including automotive, appliance, office furniture, general manufacturing, and job shops. Full Article

A Master of Innovation, Precision and Disruption

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


Al Siblani is building a modern manufacturing empire, one 3D printer at a time. His company EnvisionTEC, founded in 2002, sells printers that use unique patented methods of building objects, even complex pieces with fine detail, from digital design files. The company’s seven families of printers, which create objects in plastics, fiber-reinforced composite polymers or biologic materials, have infiltrated, and seriously disrupted, a wide range of industries. Six out of ten hearing aids, for example, are now made on Siblani’s printers. Full Article

New TRUMPF App for Punching

TRUMPF press release


The PunchGuide app, created by TRUMPF, simplifies many calculations and supports users of punching and combination punch laser machines. Full Article

3D Printing Adds the Fourth Dimension (Time)

Lauralyn McDaniel, SME Industry Manager, Medical Manager: Innovation Watch, SME Technology Interchange, Medical Manufacturing Innovations


Designing and printing a device to change over time—4D printing—helped the University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital save three very young lives. Born with tracheobronchimalacia (TBM), which causes the windpipe to collapse and prevent breathing, all three faced what could have been a short, difficult life. Using a combination of medical and engineering skills, the Michigan team built a splint that would hold the airway open, prevent outside compression of the airway, and bend and change as the child grew. Full Article

Annette Doyle Assumes Role of Managing Director at TRUMPF Limited, UK

Press Release - TRUMPF


Annette Doyle will take on the role of Managing Director of TRUMPF Limited, the UK subsidiary of the TRUMPF Group, located in Luton, Bedfordshire. She succeeds Mr. Scott Simpson who will leave TRUMPF after more than 20 years to pursue his own individual projects. Annette Doyle leaves her position at TRUMPF Inc. in Farmington, CT where she most recently served as Assembly Manager for TRUMPF machines produced in the U.S. Full Article

GF Machining Solutions Sees Steady Growth

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


GF Machining Solutions expects continued growth in its machine tools business, tied to markets such as aerospace, automotive and medical. Full Article

TRUMPF Shines a Light on Newest Tech at Open House

Michael C. Anderson, Senior Editor


TRUMPF Inc. held an Open House at their Laser Technology Center in Plymouth, MI on June 2, which featured demonstrations of high-speed 3D cutting, precision welding and marking and robotic welding and cutting. When David Havrilla, manager, Products and Applications, was asked by a participant, “what is your newest and coolest technology,” he pointed without hesitation at the TruLaser Cell 8030. Full Article

Laser Marking in Medical: The Dark Arts of Dark Marks

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


There’s been strong motivation for medical device manufacturers to embrace laser marking in recent years. First, of course, there is the FDA, which has been phasing in regulations for medical devices to have a unique device identifier—a UDI—that is permanent and can be read by machine as well as the human eye. But mature marking technologies are also growing more affordable, even as laser machine builders find creative ways to further develop the process and make their brands stand out. Full Article

SME Speaks: Lasers Grow Manufacturing

Geoff Shannon, PhD, Manager, Advanced Technology, Amada Miyachi America


Today, laser technology in manufacturing touches all of our lives on a daily basis; lasers cut air bag material and weld air bag detonators for our in-car safety; lasers weld the batteries in many of our mobile devices; lasers drill aero-engine components for planes; lasers cut the glass for our smart phones and tablets screens; lasers weld the drivetrains in our cars and trucks; lasers cut medical stents that increase and enhance our lives, just to name a few. Full Article

Additive Manufacturing State of the Industry

Tim Caffrey, Senior Consultant, and Terry Wohlers, President, Wohlers Associates Inc.


This is an exclusive preview of the Wohlers Report 2015, which has provided an annual summary on the state of additive manufacturing, with estimates and forecasts, for the past two decades. The additive manufacturing industry has entered a new era, propelled forward by expiring patents, bursts of new investment, and increasing demands on quality, price, and performance from every segment of a rapidly growing user community. Full Article

Laser Technologies Offer a Growing Array of Choices

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Lasers first started making a significant impact for manufacturing in the early to mid 1970s. Since then, a number of advances, both evolutionary and revolutionary, have made lasers a common tool of choice for applications such as cutting, welding, drilling, brazing, and cladding. They are often easier to automate than many of their mechanical competitors. No moving part contacts the metal, so no tool wears out that needs replacement. Full Article

Machine Vision Inspection Speeds Up Automotive Lines

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


The automotive industry might represent the ultimate challenge to providers of machine vision equipment used in robotic guidance and material inspection. “The automotive industry is a microcosm of the entire industrial world,” explained David Dechow, staff engineer for FANUC. “Every potential industry is represented, from raw metal to electronics to wiring to machinery and everything in between.” Machine vision—electronic imaging for inspection, process control, and automated guidance—provides unique benefits in practically every facet of the industry.
Full Article

EASTEC 2015: Fiber Laser Cutting Systems for Metal Fabrication

Press Release - VYTEK


VYTEK, of Fitchburg MASS, innovator of fiber laser technologies has unveiled the FiberCab cutting and marking system. The FiberCab line is unprecedented in its capabilities for the price with 2 models covering a working area of 4’ x 4’ and 4’ x 8’. Full Article

EASTEC 2015: Multi-Axis Laser Marking

Press Release - Lasit


Lasit  proudly introduces its newest generation CompactMark®, a rugged, industrial laser marking system with a wide range of features offering great versatility. The CompactMark 2015 now available with Split gantry or Full Gantry with up to 9 motors and optional Vision system for location, positioning, and verification of marks and parts has enhanced features for marking trays of parts, weapons, bearings, tools, drill bits, medical devices, body implants, ID tags, endoscopic rods, automotive parts, gauges, radio buttons, all size screws, and much more; flat, tapered, cylindrical or curved surfaces. . Full Article

Aerospace Automation Stretches Beyond Drilling and Filling

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Faced with ballooning order backlogs, aerospace builders and automation suppliers are exploring new ways to automate a broader range of aircraft manufacturing processes. The goal is to deliver higher-volume commercial aircraft like the Boeing 737 and 777 more quickly to customers, but also to improve the consistency and safety of the final product. To pick up the production pace, manufacturers and their suppliers are refining the automation systems used for drilling, filling and fastening operations and finding new opportunities for automation. Full Article

Stefan Fickenscher Named Managing Director, TRUMPF Canada

Press Release - TRUMPF


Effective April 1, 2015, Stefan Fickenscher will become Managing Director of TRUMPF Canada. He succeeds Stefan Schreiber who returns to TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG in Ditzingen, Germany as head of central sales subsidiaries in the machine tool division.Fickenscher joined TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG in 2002 as International Project Manager, 2D lasers. Full Article

EOS Names Fletcher President of North American Unit

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


EOS named Glynn Fletcher president of EOS of North America, as the 3D printing company moves to integrate additive manufacturing with traditional subtractive production methods. Fletcher was president of GF Machining Solutions LLC in Lincolnshire, IL. EOS and GF Machining have jointly demonstrated systems that combine both manufacturing techniques. Customers want to integrate 3D printing “with more traditional manufacturing processes,” Hans Langer, CEO of EOS, said in a statement. Full Article

United Grinding Focuses New Laser System on Diamond Tool Processing

Press Release - United Grinding


UNITED GRINDING has extended its line of WALTER EWAG technologies for cutting tool production to now include the LASER LINE ULTRA 5-axis machining center that incorporates ultra-short pulse laser technology. Full Article

Latest Evolution Of Lockheed Martin Laser Weapon System Stops Truck In Field Test

Press Release - Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE: LMT] 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of a small truck during a recent field test, demonstrating the rapidly evolving precision capability to protect military forces and critical infrastructure. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Laser Texture Molds as Large as a Full-Size Car

Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Custom Etch Inc. (New Castle, PA), a 35-person shop, has specialized in chemical etching since 1982. However, in  2011 the shop made a bold move to significantly expand its capabilities beyond chemical etching and invested in advanced five-axis laser-texturing systems.
Full Article

Precise, Clean, Lightweight Joining with Laser Welding

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Welding with lasers is a key enabler for a growing number of applications, such as lightweighting. Take, for example, tailor welded blanks (TWB), in which sheets of steel are tailor welded with different thicknesses, strengths, or coatings prior to stamping into formed parts. TWB was first introduced using lasers, and it allows designers to put thicker material where needed for strength, with thinner gages elsewhere. Full Article

Laser Manufacturing Expands Its Reach

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


There are at least two factors that are making lasers more attractive than ever for cutting, welding, and other material processing tasks. One is increasing power and the other is their improved ruggedness, according to Jim Rogowski, director of machine & power tool sales for Trumpf (Farmington, CT). More power means more productivity, cutting thicker materials or cutting the same materials faster. Full Article

Shop Solutions: Refrigeration Company Warms to Fiber Lasers

Edited by Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Traulsen has earned a premier name in refrigeration for the foodservice market. That reputation is grounded in a long history of delivering products designed and built to the highest possible standards of performance, quality and durability in the industry. These standards for innovation and value were set by its founder, Harry Traulsen, who formed the business in 1938 as Traulsen & Company in Queens, NY. Full Article

TRUMPF Inc. Presents 2014 Awards to Sales Representatives

Press Release - TRUMPF Inc.


TRUMPF Inc. presented the 2014 sales achievement awards at its annual sales meeting on July 30, 2014. Held at TRUMPF’s North American headquarters in Farmington, Conn., the awards were presented by Burke Doar, Senior Vice President of TRUMPF Inc. Full Article

IMTS 2014: A New Layer of Interest in Fabricating/Laser Pavilion

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


Located in the North Building, the fabricating, laser and additive pavilion will be one of the biggest draws at IMTS, with the addition of 3D printing technologies that allow layer-by-layer manufacturing with more materials than ever.This pavilion features a variety of major players in the fabricating, laser and growing additive arenas. Full Article

SME and 3D Systems Announce M.Lab21 to Transform Career and Technical Education

Press Release from SME and 3D Systems


SME and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced a collaborative initiative to enhance high school industrial arts and vocational education classes through the new M.Lab21 initiative. This program will offer starter kits to transform shop classes and incorporate additive manufacturing into curriculums. Full Article

Is 3D Printing Right For You?

Press Release from PwC


3D printing (3DP), also known as additive manufacturing, is showing signs of triggering transformations in U.S. industrial manufacturing, from product design and production to restructured supply chains, according to a report released today by PwC US in conjunction with The Manufacturing Institute. The report, 3-D printing and the new shape of industrial manufacturing, which includes findings from a survey of over 100 industrial manufacturers, revealed that two-thirds (67 percent) of manufacturers surveyed are currently implementing 3DP either by experimenting with the technology or by already using it for prototypes or final products. Full Article

Mi-Light Photonics Industry Scholarships

Press Release from Mi-Light


Mi-Light, the Michigan photonics industry cluster, announced the funding and award of $5,000 in scholarships to four in-state academic institutions. Baker College (Flint, MI), Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI), Michigan Technological University (Houghton, MI) and Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City, MI). Each college or university was allocated $1,250 in funds to be awarded to students enrolled in a photonics programs.   Full Article

Machine Builders Dig Deep into Their Bag of Tricks

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


The challenge for manufacturing today is to meet the demand for tighter tolerances, better finishes, and shorter leadtimes for workpieces—all at a lower cost. Grinding results have always seemed to depend on the skill of operators who were privy to the mysteries described as some mythical “black art.” Full Article

UNITED GRINDING Launches Five New Machines

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


During a packed press conference in an auditorium at the Thun Expo, Stephan Nell, CEO of UNITED GRINDING Group, painted a glowing picture of the company’s financial performance and laid out an exciting vision for the Group’s future – celebrating the launch of five all-new or updated advanced manufacturing machines at the symposium. What’s more, Nell said the company will expand on its leadership in grinding by strategically adding other non-grinding processes to its machines and portfolio in the future, part of its focus to offer more efficient, smart production solutions to its customers. Nell said the company was open to adding these technologies through acquisition in addition to its own development.    Full Article

Improving Laser Technologies Driving Big Changes in Little Stents

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


For about 20 years, medical device manufacturers have used continuous wave lasers to make permanent metal stents, first out of stainless steel and then out of alloys like nitinol and cobalt chrome. Doctors implant the devices to prop open blood vessels or help with other medical conditions.  But during the last two decades ultrafast, pulsed lasers have been perfected that can also produce stents made of polymers, which are bioplastics that dissolve in the body once they’ve done their job. Full Article

TeraDiode Announces Sales of Multikilowatt Ultra-High Brightness Direct Diode Lasers



TeraDiode has announced shipments of multi-kilowatt high brightness TeraBlade™ lasers to major machine tool and automotive welding manufacturers in Europe and Japan.  These shipments usher in the third generation of metal cutting and welding industrial lasers, disrupting the status quo for cost and efficiency and opening applications that were cost-prohibitive for previous generations.      Full Article

Laser Welding Applications Expand

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Lasers for welding have proven their worth in the last 35 years in select applications. Despite their high capital cost, the precise, intense heat source makes lasers the right choice where there are tight tolerances, close fit-ups, and thin materials. These are applications where lasers produce less distortion, with their smaller heat-affected zone (HAZ) around the weld. Full Article

A View of the New: Ultrafast Lasers, Photonics West Highlights, and Mi-Light

Dr. Michelle Stock, Ph.D.


As a new member of the SME Industrial Laser Community with a focus on recently adopted industrial laser technology – ultrafast lasers – it’s appropriate to follow Ron Schaeffer’s inaugural blog for the SME Laser Channel with a perspective from February’s Photonics West conference. And yes, I’m jumping from that blog’s focus on the early history of light to the present “leading-edge” of laser technology.  Full Article

Quality Scan: Selecting Next-Generation Laser-Scanning Technology

Alex Lucas, Business Development Manager/Scanning Products, Nikon Metrology Inc.


New product development is a powerful force in expanding manufacturing’s impact on economies around the world. The focus on improving production efficiency and part quality while meeting stringent production schedules is unrelenting. Measurement and inspection is one vital area being marked for improvement by advances in laser-scanning technology. Full Article

A Network of Little Silicon Valleys

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


One of the biggest moments of the 2014 State of the Union was President Barack Obama’s announcement of six new manufacturing hubs, or innovation institutes. Two are already in the works, including “America Makes,” the additive manufacturing hub, in Youngstown, OH, and the recently announced wide bandgap semiconductor hub in Raleigh, NC. Together, these institutes, Obama said in his address to Congress, give us "the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs.”

Full Article

On Being the First: Lasers, James Clerk Maxwell, and Other Musings!

Ronald D. Schaeffer, PhD, CEO, PhotoMachining Inc.


The Industrial Laser Community is one of the most active and fun in all of SME and it is an honor to be asked to write the first blog for the new Laser Channel at  This being the ‘first’, I thought I would discuss some early history in the search for the understanding of light. Most people have heard of Newton and Einstein, but how many know about James Clerk Maxwell?  Full Article

Mazak Introduces New Optiplex 4020 Laser-Cutting System

Mazak Optonics


Mazak Optonics Corp. now offers their industry-leading OPTIPLEX CO2 laser-cutting system in a new 6’ x 12’ format. The new design incorporates all of the performance advantages of the original OPTIPLEX with an expanded workspace for larger jobs. Full Article

Mazak Introduces 2D Tube Gear Laser for High-Speed Tube & Pipe Cutting

Mazak Optonics


Mazak Optonics Corp. has released a new TUBE GEAR 2D laser-cutting machine with industry-leading processing speeds for tubes and pipes. The TUBE GEAR’s high-speed capabilities for thin-walled applications offer increased efficiency and a significant reduction in cost per part compared to similar tube and pipe cutting systems. Full Article

Mazak Optonics Partners with Tekmag, an Italian Automation Manufacturer

Mazak Optonics


Mazak Optonics Corp. has announced a new partnership with Tekmag, an Italian automation systems manufacturer specializing in customized storage solutions. The new partnership will add to a continuing 12+ years of providing automation systems for clients of Mazak Optonics’ sister company, Mazak Europe. Full Article

Lasers Drill Precision Holes Quickly

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Laser technology for drilling precision holes has taken a leap forward with faster, cheaper, high-accuracy fiber lasers, which are used in the aerospace industry for turbine engine hole-drilling and other industries. Full Article

Laser Makers Under Pressure: Do More, Faster

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Lasers get more powerful, accurate and affordable, improving productivity of laser marking and cutting Full Article

Lasers Cut Medical Devices with Precision, Speed

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Lasers cut, weld and mark the metal alloys and polymers used to build the latest medical implant breakthroughs, surgical instruments, and other related medical products. Many key characteristics of today’s lasers make the devices ideal for use in medical applications such as cutting stents and endoscopes, pacemaker components and other medical components. Full Article

Laser Cutting and Welding Technologies Advance

Patrick Waurzyniak


Laser technologies for cutting and welding parts have been steadily refined since the laser was invented some 50 years ago. Today, laser technology is easily used to quickly cut 2-D or 3-D sheetmetal parts and to make high-quality welds. Full Article

Lasers Enable Medical Manufacturing Innovation

Editor Brian J. Hogan


The success of the laser as a tool for manufacturing medical devices has occurred due to an alignment of its features to that of the industry. Those requirements for high quality, accuracy, miniaturization, and reliability match up well with the laser’s inherent fine resolution, high controllability, and stability. Full Article

Fabricating with Lasers

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


The flexibility of lasers becomes evident in a variety of sometimes surprising applications Full Article

Laser Technologies

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Advances in laser technology offer shops more powerful, cost-efficient ways to boost cutting efficiencies Full Article

Laser Technology Supplement: Manufacturing with Light

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


Lasers for industrial fabrication are getting more powerful, sharper focused, and easier to use Full Article

Lasers Cure Ills in Medical Manufacturing

Contributing Editor James R. Koelsch


They “soothe the pain” caused by new materials, tighter tolerances, more stringent regulations, and greater cost pressures Full Article

Lasers on the Shop Floor Supplement: Profit from High-Tech Lasers

Contributing Editor James R. Koelsch and Senior Editor Jim Destefani


Many fabricators are making the same discovery about laser cutting that one manufacturer of decorative shelves recently made: justifying the initial investment and operating costs of a laser system is much easier than it was a decade ago. Advances in technology make laser cutting much more versatile and faster. Full Article

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