It is well known that for about ten years after it was invented the laser was a solution looking for an application. The laser was used only when the processing operation could not be reasonably done in any other manner. Consequently, controlled bursts of high energy density laser beams were first used to machine hard abrasive materials or to weld in heat sensitive areas. Current implementation has broadened so that the laser provides economically competing technology. In addition, components are now being designed so that they can only be laser processed by a laser. This evolution will be illustrated, with emphasis on safety features.