The History of

LAI International

LAI International grew from its roots as a regional contract manufacturer to its status today as an international leader in the development of advanced manufacturing technologies. The management team has led the success and growth of the business with a vision to provide superior service and deliver outstanding quality in the company's tradition of innovation.

1970's - 1980's

In 1979, Laser Applications, Inc. was founded by Robert Ulrich in Maryland, specializing in laser welding and laser heat-treating processes. Throughout the 80's the company continued to expand adding proprietary waterjet machining, laser drilling and cutting capabilities. The company broke ground at the LAI East facility in Westminster, Md.


In the early 90's, the company expanded to the LAI Midwest and LAI Southwest locations. LAI International developed a global reputation as the world’s premier abrasive waterjet hole-driller. In 1997, LAI won Lockheed Martin's STAR Supplier Award for the F-22 Raptor air-dominance jet fighter program.


Going into the 21st century, LAI continued to gain recognition and won several awards including:

  • Lockheed Martin Corporate STAR Supplier Award (2001)
  • Raptor of Distinction Award from Lockheed Martin (2004)
  • Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing U.S. Private Company Award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Northrop Grumman Platinum Supplier Award (2008)
  • Ace Corporate Excellence Awards (2008, 2009)
  • World's first Nadcap certified company for conventional machining (2010)
  • Fabricator's FAB 40 Award for Most-Successful U.S. Metal-Fabricating Company (2010, 2011)
  • Outstanding Manufacturer of the Year by Arizona Manufacturers Council (2011)

In 2007, LAI acquired Rich Technology International which became the LAI Northeast location in Scarborough, Maine. Founded in 1960, Rich Tool & Die Co. was a contract manufacturing company that developed and manufactured machines for the aerospace, medical, power generation, and electronics sectors. The company offered material processing machines for clean cutting, welding, profile machining and holes drilling. It also offered EDM machines and fixtures.

In 2012, RLJ Equity Partners acquired LAI International, and the company earned the Minority Business Enterprise Certification.

LAI Today -Leading Advanced Innovations

LAI International continues to be an innovative provider of manufacturing technologies, engineering tomorrow's solutions today. With the addition of the Q20 EBM in 2015 and the M400-4 Laser in 2018, LAI is the ideal partner for additive manufacturing of hi-tech components for the aerospace, energy, and industrial sectors and is considered by many as the premier provider of highly-engineered, mission-critical components.