9 December 2010

Lasers in 21st Century Manufacturing: Working with Polymers

  • Sector: Laser Processing
  • Location: Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Conference Centre, Grantham
  • Attendees: All welcome




Download an Event Flyer here

About this workshop

This workshop, held in conjunction with the polymer section of the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network, brings together the laser and the broader polymer communities.

Polymer-based materials are widely used in many forms – films, sheets, mouldings, extrusions, fibres, laminates, textiles, coatings, composites etc, with applications across a broad range of
industries. Lasers are used for joining, cutting, machining and surface modification (including marking) of polymers; and the last few years have seen major developments in laser types and beam delivery. It offers a comprehensive review of recent developments in laser processing of polymers and, through many examples of new and improved applications, new opportunities in the context of 21st century manufacturing needs.

The laser community of manufacturing users, researchers, and product and service suppliers in the UK established the Association of Laser Users (AILU) in 1995 to help industry make the best use of laser technology. The highly successful AILU workshops epitomize this effort, providing every opportunity for workshop delegates to ask questions and engage in discussions with the presenters and with one another. The presentations, combined with generous lunch and refreshment breaks and a tabletop exhibition have been combined in a programme designed to give maximum opportunity for networking between the laser and the broader polymer communities

Ian Jones, Workshop Chair

Ian Jones has been at TWI for 21 years working in the Laser Group and Polymer Group, where he introduced laser processing of polymers. He has worked on a wide range of laser processing applications. He invented and developed the Clearweld® process, which can be used to join plastic parts and fabrics without altering the colour or appearance of the product. He has also managed many collaborative projects for the advancement of laser processing in European industry.

Who should attend?

Delegates to this workshop will include industry and polymer specialists and users and researchers in laser materials processing. The benefits of attending are particularly great for:

  • Engineers and Managers from manufacturing industry looking to improve product and/or production capabilities, considering expansion into promising new manufacturing areas or simply wishing to keep abreast of the latest developments. Key industries include: Biotechnology, Chemical, Clothing and Footware, Communications, Defence, Electrical equipment, Electronics, Food and drink, Healthcare, Medical, Pharmaceuticals, Polymer, Sensors, Transportation.
  • Strategists in manufacturing wishing to be appraised of new opportunities for lasers in polymer-based manufacturing
  • Researchers in materials and laser materials processing wishing to review the current status and new developments in polymer processing with lasers.


09:15 – 10:00 Registration and refreshments

10:00 – 11:30 Session1: Applications of macro and fine processing of polymers

An introduction to polymers and lasers for processing
Sam Rostami, Consultant

Manufacture with Plastics: Who Needs Lasers?
Jim Methven, Manchester University

Laser processing of carbon fibre reinforced composite
Paul French, Liverpool John Moores University

Laser surface treatment of polymeric materials for enhanced cell response
David Waugh, Lincoln University

11:30 – 12:00 Refreshments

12:00 – 13:10 Session 2: Micromachining of polymers

Keynote presentation
Laser Micromachining of Polymers - Current Medical Device, Aerospace/Defence and Renewable Energy Applications
Ronald Schaeffer, PhotoMachining Inc, USA

An overview of lasers as used in these exciting and high growth fields. Lasers throughout the wavelength spectrum can be used on a variety of materials to realize otherwise unattainable results - allowing very high resolution, precision, quality and affordability in manufacturing.

Excimer lasers for microprocessing of polymers
Ralph Delmdahl and Heiner Eckermann, Coherent GmbH, Germany

New tools and applications for polymer micromachining
Paul Apte, Rideo systems

13:10 – 14:10 Lunch and EXHIBITION

14:10 – 15:15 Session 3: Joining and additive manufacturing

Laser micro-welding of polymers
Aurelie Tolton, TWI Cambridge

Manufacture of polymer textiles
Stuart Jackson, EOS Electro Optical Systems

Polymer welding with diode laser and pyrometer control
Adrian Bolton, Rofin-Baasel UK

Closing remarks and open discussion
Ian Jones, TWI Cambridge

15:15 Refreshments and departure


The workshop will be held in the theatre room, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining at The Boilerhouse, Grantham LL17 0JD.
T:+44 (0)1745 535100

GPS/SatNav use NG31 7BG


Delegates should enter through the main entrance from where they will see signs for the workshop.

At the registration desk you will receive a delegate pack containing a name badge and essential notes for the day, including a detailed programme and a delegate list. The pack will also include a name and password for downloading PDFs of the presentations, which will be made available on the AILU web site as soon as possible after the event.

A buffet lunch (including vegetarian options) will be provided together with refreshments throughout the day. Please advise us of any special dietary needs.


The exhibition, together with the lunch and refreshment breaks, will take place in the Lower Gallery adjacent to the theatre room.

On arrival, exhibitors can park in the free car park at the side of the building. ‘Pop up’ and backboards can be displayed (within the ceiling height limit of 3 m).

Access to the exhibition area for set-up is available in the afternoon of 8 December or from 08:30 on the day. Tables (approximately 6 ft by 2 ft) will be provided. A limited number of backboards and 240V mains points are also available, bookable (free) in advance.


To register for the event, contact the AILU office. AILU members need only give their name by phone (+44 (0)1235 539595) or email ( Non-members should provide telephone and email details and preferably complete and return the registration form in the event flyer to the AILU office by fax (+44 (0)1235 550499) or mail (AILU Events, Oxford House, 100 Ock Street, Abingdon OX14 5DH)

Earlybird registration: 10% discount for applications received before 25 November

AILU members and members of supporting organisations for this event receive a registration discount. Delegates who pay the full price and who decide to join the Association within 10 weeks of the event will receive this discount on their first year’s corporate membership subscription. For further information on membership go to and look for the link to ‘about us’.


Grantham is easily accessible by car, train:

By car
For full information for car travel and parking, see here
Leave the A1 at the junction with the A607 and follow the signs to Grantham. Pass a fire station on the left and at the traffic lights ahead fork right in front of the Isaac Newton pub. At the next lights turn right into Caunt Road. The Boilerhouse is 200m ahead on the left. There are ample car parking facilities at the Boilerhouse and also at neighbouring Springfield House. GPS/SatNav use NG31 7BG

Download a map here

By rail

Grantham mainline railway station is nearby, with its frequent links to London taking from as little as 1 hour, from Kings Cross Station via National Rail services; Grantham is also serviced by National Express and Hull trains on the main East Coast line. Taxis are available at the station. Ask for Springfield Business Park, which is accessed directly from Caunt Road.

By plane

The Boilerhouse is about 1 hour's drive from East Midlands Airport (35 miles).

Registration Fees

* AILU, IoM3 and Materials KTN members: GBP 142 plus VAT
* Non members: GBP 175 plus VAT
* Concessions: GBP 75 incl VAT (retired, unemployed); GBP 50 incl VAT (full time students)
* Exhibitor (AILU and supporting organisation member): GBP 135 plus VAT
* Exhibitor (non-member): GBP 175 plus VAT
* Exhibitor/delegate discount: GBP 50 plus VAT

Earlybird registration: 10% discount for applications received before 25 November

  • Fee includes a delegate pack.
  • Cancellations will be accepted up to 1 week before the event; otherwise the full fee may be charged.
  • To book (we will invoice, send no money) e-mail:
  •  For more information please contact us.


The Belton Woods Hotel Nr Grantham NG32 2LN (5 miles from venue, T: 01476 593200) offers a special rate of £79 B&B, To book phone central reservations 0844 9809950 and quote “IOM cubed” Web:

Help for Presentors

Help for presenters to upload a presentation prior to the meeting

AILU reserves the right to alter the programme or cancel the meeting at short notice and accepts no responsibility for the views expressed by the speakers or delegates.

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