Job Shop Special Interest Group


What is a Laser Job Shop?

We define a laser job shop as ‘any commercial organisation that uses industrial lasers and complementary techniques for profit.‘ Membership of AILU automatically entitles such
laser users to free membership of the Job Shop Group.

The Job Shop Special Interest Group

We believe that making a success of running a laser job shop is more of a challenge than ever and the growth of the laser job shop group (established in 1999) to its current level of over 80 members has clearly demonstrated that there is a need and much to be gained from the group’s activities.


Mark Millar, Essex Laser
Job Shop Committee Chair



Job Shop Member Quotes

"The Association has much to offer any company involved in laser profiling technology" says JS SIG founder member David Lindsey .  “For the membership costs each year, AILU represents excellent value for money,” Mr Lindsey advocates. “I personally sit on the Jobshop sub-committee and find it an invaluable resource for the sharing of ideas and networking but as is the case with many industry associations, it would be even more effective if we could increase membership levels. As a result of an AILU gas survey, a little brow- beating and threats to move supplier we managed a saving of £80,000 over a twelve month period."

“Visits to other AILU Job Shops have allowed us to implement some simple organisational and layout changes to the way we operate”
Neil Main, Micrometric Ltd.

“Our Electricity Survey highlighted that 2 members spending the same monthly amount on electricity had an 11% difference in overall cost per unit – highlighting a potential annual saving of almost £20,000”
John Powell, Laser Expertise Ltd.

“The annual AILU Breakdown Response Survey allows us to hold the laser suppliers to account for their level of customer support.  Pressure from AILU Job Shops has resulted in positive improvements from the suppliers.”
Mark Millar, Essex Laser Ltd.


Benefits of membership include:

  • Networking opportunities

We run at least one informal business meeting a year for group members and invited guests, with key presentations on topics of common concern and interest.    

  • Advice on technical and safety matters

We offer a Job Shop Forum on the web site for posting questions and answers plus a free over the phone consultancy service.      

  • Sales leads

Sales leads from our web-based Products and Services Directory are automatically forwarded to all job shop members.      

  • Free surveys

We conduct at least two surveys a year on commercial value to laser job shops. These surveys are free to participate in, and only participants receive the survey results, with total anonymity. Recent topics have included gas, electricity and breakdown satisfaction.


Jobshop SIG Committee Members

 Jonathan Horne  Laser Process Ltd
 John  Powell  Laser Expertise Ltd
 Neil Main  Micrometric Ltd
 Phil Carr  Carrs Welding Technologies Ltd
 Cirrus Laser Ltd
 Fimark Ltd
 Mark Hannon  Midtherm Laser Ltd
 Mark Millar  Essex Laser Job Shop Ltd
 Jamie Sharp  Laser Engineering UK Ltd


Chair's Report by Mark Millar

From AILU's The Laser User magazine (August 2019)


Recently I was called up as a replacement for one of the other Job Shop board members to deliver their presentation at AILU’s “Lasers for Makers” event held at Imperial College Hackspace in London. Not knowing what a Hackspace was, and rarely getting the chance to engage in any other activity which doesn’t directly involve laser cutting of metal in a Job Shop capacity, I was somewhat apprehensive. However I was pleasantly surprised and indeed inspired enough that I thought it was an experience worth sharing.

A Hackspace is effectively a shared workshop with a wide variety of tools to help those without any facilities create prototypes and working models on a low budget. Some of the machinery Imperial have on offer includes 2 table-top CO2 lasers, a large CNC wood-routing machine and many 3D printers of varying sizes. Whilst the 3D printers clearly dominate the Hackspace environment due to their flexibility, we were all there to talk about lasers. The benefit of lasers, as we all know, is the variety of materials and speed at which they can be processed, compared to 3D printers.

The Hackspace provides a very creative atmosphere where ideas can be nurtured and developed without the pressures of the real world, like customers to satisfy or deadlines to hit. It was refreshing and indeed inspiring. I even asked if I could use some facilities as my mind started to think of all great things I could make as we don’t even have some of the kit they do!

I was surprised at how keen and interested all of the makers were in laser cutting metal. As it is my normal day-to-day activity it’s easy to forget that metal cutting lasers are really impressive machines which are all too easily taken for granted. When you don’t have access to these machines and when even the subcontract costs are beyond many for prototypes etc., it’s very frustrating to be stuck trying to make working parts from just wood or plastics.

The event seemed a great success to me and the most positive thing I took away from it was the number of people whose minds are busily working away on inventing and developing ideas, not just making things to order or deadlines! There are a huge number of like-minded people out there looking to create and make things. They may have no budget and limited experience but I urge you to try and connect with these people, as many of them are next-generation designers, to help them fulfil these ideas in any way you can. I found my afternoon with them very rewarding, and if you get chance, check out your local Hackspace, I’m sure you’ll be just as inspired as I was!

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