Obituary: David Belforte 1932-2023

It was with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of David Belforte.

Dave MacLellan, Executive Director of AILU, writes:

“David Arthur Belforte, a visionary figure known to me as the Editor of Industrial Laser Solutions and a pioneering force in the realm of industrial laser technology, passed away on August 7th, 2023, leaving an indelible mark on the world of laser material processing and manufacturing.

Born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1932, David served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and Cold War. After his military service ended he graduated from Northeastern University in Chemistry (1963) and Production Engineering (1970). He worked for Raytheon, Alloyd Corporation, and co-founded Electron Beam Corporation which after a merger led to him being the vice president of Thomson Welder Company.

Moving into the laser industry in the 1970s and 1980s he worked for numerous companies promoting the early adoption of laser material processing and founded a subsidiary of Ferranti Electric (Scotland) in Sturbridge, MA.

Having “cut his teeth” in manufacturing and laser processing, he moved on to establish Belforte Associates, a consulting practice. Always keen to share knowledge and using his expertise in writing, he co-authored the landmark “Industrial Laser Annual Handbook” and founded Industrial Laser Review, which later evolved into Industrial Laser Solutions (ILS), the singular magazine read in over 150 countries, cementing his status in the industrial laser world.

He was honoured with the LIA’s Arthur L. Schawlow Award in 1995, the same year that AILU was founded. From this point on he displayed no lack of energy and drive, especially in the publishing arena. Personally, I spent a happy 2 hours having coffee and a chat with him during ICALEO in 2018. At this point, he was struggling a little bit with his mobility – but his mind was still very sharp as he described to me the process he used to acquire data on the industry size for global industrial lasers. I always looked out for the annual market review he published, collating data from other experts and sharing it widely to inform the manufacturers and users about the global market.

As publishers of The Laser User, we were always keen to read the excellent ILS magazine which he edited. There were a few occasions when we were let down at the last minute by authors who had promised to meet an article deadline, David was happy to enable us to contact one of the authors of a recent ILS article to see if they would allow us to reprint it within our magazine. It gave me great pleasure to return the favour when he was in the same situation.

David was a supremely modest gentleman, never happier than when talking about the industrial laser market and some of the characters that inhabit it. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and all those who have been touched by his warm dedication and expertise over the many decades of his life. He will be sadly missed.”