The Association of Laser Users (AILU) was established in 1995 as an independent, non-profit making organisation run by and for laser users involved in activities including manufacturing, healthcare, academic and industrial research; as well as suppliers of laser-related products and services. Our current corporate members include leading players in the UK laser materials community.
The aims and objectives of the association are set out in its Memorandum and Articles of Association.
They include, in particular, the fostering of co-operation and collaboration and the dissemination of information, experience and expertise relating to industrial laser technology, laser materials processing; its applications and related technologies.
Dr Jon Blackburn, TWI
From AILU's quarterly magazine The Laser User
Issue 94 Autumn 2019
I started writing this before the 31st October, unsure whether the UK would be a member of the European Union when the article was published. A crystal ball is not part of the welcome pack for AILU Presidents, but we do have the luxury of being slightly late with our contributions to The Laser User. So, I’ve finished this article safe in the knowledge that a Brexit extension has come into force, and the potential business impacts of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit have been postponed until at least 31st January. The timing of this extension isn’t great, not least because it coincides with the deadline for the next issue of The Laser User!
On a more serious note, the uncertainty around Brexit is not good news for UK manufacturing and AILU members. Several large organisations in the automotive industry, for example, moved their traditional summer shut-down to coincide with the date of the original Brexit deadline, to de-risk potential issues with supply chains. Another week’s shut down is being undertaken at a number of the same organisations in November, again to mitigate against potential disruption from a no-deal Brexit. This is bad news for the sector and the UK economy. Looking more broadly than the automotive sector, overseas investment in UK companies has recently declined, as well as the UK’s manufacturing output.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel though. The UK Government has committed to meet a target of 2.4% of GDP invested in UK R&D by 2027, and has a longer term goal of 3%. Much of this funding will be directed towards identified ‘Grand Challenges’ for the UK. There are currently four of these – ‘Artificial Intelligence and Data’, ‘Ageing Society’, ‘Clean Growth’, and ‘Future of Mobility’. Industrial laser technology has strong links to all of these challenges (for example, additive manufacturing of bespoke implants, and laser-based assembly for electric drive trains), and offers a step-change in performance compared with more traditional manufacturing techniques. I’m confident, therefore, that despite current uncertain times, the industrial laser sector in the UK will continue to prosper from an end-user perspective. These challenges aren’t unique to the UK, and UK laser source and equipment manufacturers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this.
Finally a quick reminder - AILU is looking forward to ILAS 2020 in May next year. Please take a look at the event website (ilas2020.co.uk) - registration and abstract submission are open so don't miss out.
The organisation of AILU is under the direction of an elected standing committee made up of representatives from the UK industrial laser community. Elections are held annually at the Annual General Meeting. (See Joining the AILU committee and Officers and Committee)
AILU provides a wide range of general services to laser users and suppliers and hosts a number of special interest groups (SIGs) to better support members who have particular interests in common. These include a Job Shop SIG (established in 1995, with 86 members*) for subcontract laser-based engineering companies; a Market Development SIG (established in 2005, with 240 members*) for suppliers of laser-related products and services; a Medical SIG (established in 2007, with 55 members*) for clinicians, manufacturers using lasers for manufacture of medical devices and suppliers of laser-related products and services; and the Micro:Nano SIG, AILU’s newest, launched in mid 2008 at AILU's 10th microprocessing workshop.”
The current activities of AILU include:
Application for membership of AILU is open to the industrial laser community worldwide, and those with an interest in this community and its activities. We currently have approximately 300 members, made up of mainly manufacturing industry including laser job shops (40%), suppliers of laser-related products and services (30%) and research and consultancy organisations (25%).
To find out more about AILU membership click here.
See member benefits to review how membership could benefit you.
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