Recent advances in laser technology have resulted in the development of multikilowatt lasers which have been engineered for industrial applications. This paper will review these developments for CW CO2 lasers and the application of these lasers in the metal-working industry. The physics and engineering problems associated with obtaining a uniform electric discharge at the required high power densities will be reviewed. The applications of multikilowatt lasers in the metal-working industry reviewed in this paper will highlight the newer processes of surface hardening and surface alloying. These are processes which have recently impacted the automobile industry to replace conventional hardening and hard facing techniques.