GE has a new 20kW hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) system that's a lot more advanced than the welding methods we have now. Comparatively speaking, the new GE laser wields enough power to weld one-inch thick steel in a single pass. Current welding technologies need up to a half dozen passes.
All that power translates to speed and more speed means more products get manufactured in less time. Time is money, baby! But most importantly, when these new lasers get adopted, the manufacturing process of products will be cheaper too. Using GE's HLAW would save companies a lot of weld metal (and time) which means they're spending less money to manufacture products, which means we're spending less money to buy products. Good all around! Not to mention that improving mankind's laser technology is almost always a good thing. [GE]