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2016 Was a Good Year for Lasers; 2017 Looks Even Better

Strong 2016 earnings among top industrial laser providers, continued brisk adoption of fiber lasers, cheaper ultrafast lasers, and a host of novel applications and notable corporate acquisitions signal a big year ahead for photonics-based manufacturing.

Auto Industry Faces Short- and Long-Term Challenges

Sales of cars and light trucks plummeted during the Great Recession and General Motors Co. and Chrysler emerged from government-back bankruptcies in 2009. Since then, total industry deliveries have surged, hitting a record 17.47 million in 2015, according to Autodata Corp.

Shops Continue to Rethink Brass and HSM

The Copper Development Association (CDA) is eager to help shops discover and tap into the high-speed machining advantages of brass. The substantial benefits of doing so have an increasing number of shops rethinking their part materials and, when possible, converting those parts to brass.

Structured Vision in Manufacturing

Structured light systems measure surfaces by projecting a pattern of fringes, then using cameras and sophisticated software to convert them into point clouds of metrology data. Accuracy can reach the single-digit microns over millions of points.

More Profitable Toolpaths

Adaptive Milling. Dynamic Motion. hyperMILL. Profit Milling. VoluMill. Waveform machining. If you’re one of the lucky people who machines parts for a living, chances are about 50-50 that you’re using one of these or a comparable high-performance programming technology.

Optimization Module Tackles Tough Materials

Most anyone who’s worked in a machine shop for any length of time has at some point attended a trade show or machine tool distributor’s open house. There they see canned demonstrations of CNC machines busily carving up chunks of brass, mild steel, or aluminum into business card holders and tic-tac-toe games.