MCLEAN, VA-At $173.6 million, second quarter shipments of industrial laser equipment and systems for North America and U.S. exports were up roughly 75 percent from the second quarter of 2003.

According to the Laser Product Group (LSPG) of the Association for Manufacturing Technology, industrial laser equipment shipments within North America by the 41 companies reporting to the second quarter 2004 LSPG statistical program totalled $119.8 million, while exports amounted to $53.8 million.

The report shows that shipments of CO2 lasers increased nearly 50 percent and Nd:YAG lasers wereup over 130 percent, compared with the previous year's second quarter. The report also show that cutting applications accounted for a little over half off all shipments.

"Productivity and cost reduction are driving capital investment in 2004, which is why laser orders are up 60 percent through the first 6 months," says LSPG chairman Dave Phourde.