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:
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.
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 from our web-based Products and Services Directory are automatically forwarded to all job shop members.
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|
|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 2018)
THINK METALS, NOT PLASTIC
I’m no eco-warrior or tree hugger but recently I was filling out yet another supplier survey and I was asked if we had an Environmental Policy. As it happens we don’t at my company, however there followed a list of questions around this topic. It was at this point, as I found myself deep in explanation as to what we do and how we try to be environmentally friendly, that I started thinking that actually I’ve become increasingly concerned by various environmental issues.
Plastic has become a hot topic since being highlighted in BBC’s Blue Planet 2. Once heralded as a wonder material, now it is choking the planet. We are creating huge amounts of waste plastic that we are struggling to recycle, and large amounts ending up in the oceans, killing sea-life. There are suggestions that there is an area the size of France of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean, and that by 2050 the amount of plastic in the oceans will outnumber the fish. The exact numbers are up for debate but the problem is obvious to all.
An additional problem is caused by the plastic breaking down into tiny particles, or micro-plastics, which can easily enter the food chain. Recent research by State University of New York in Fredonia even found 90% bottled water that they tested contained at least some level of micro-plastics. How these micro-plastic will affect humans is yet to be fully understood, however common sense would say it can’t do us much good. The problem really is that plastic doesn’t biodegrade easily and it can takes hundreds of years to breakdown, whilst we are busily manufacturing it into single use items, such as plastic bottles, as fast as we can! The only small light at the end of the tunnel is that scientists think they have discovered an enzyme that can breakdown certain plastics back into their component parts, helping to recycle them. Before we all get too excited though, this enzyme is still a long way off being industrially applicable.
Metal on the other hand is the main material we laser cut. Whilst this is not renewable it is often very easily recycled. The stock material we use contains a high percentage of recycled metal and we recycle 100% of our metal waste. This is because most metals can be recycled over and over again without losing the benefits of the properties of the metal, unlike plastic. Plus, as metal has value, it is rarely thrown away, especially precious metals. Although it cannot replace plastics for many applications, I feel that designers trying to be more environmentally friendly should think about using metals more due to their durability and recyclability.
The least environmentally friendly part of industrial laser use is the amount of power they consume, both in the power to operate the machines and in generating the assist gases such as nitrogen. If we could increase the power generated by renewables to 100% then laser cutting and the laser job shop industry would be very environmentally friendly.
So until then, lets try to cut down our use of plastic as much as possible and encourage the use of alternative materials, such as laser cut metals…. and I think I’m off to write an Environmental Policy. I hope you think about it too.