Universal Laser Systems is the only laser system manufacturer that offers Rapid Reconfiguration™. This patented technology (US6424670) allows users to adapt their laser materials processing solution to match their ever-changing business needs – no tools or special training required. At its core, Rapid Reconfiguration allows users to very simply install and reinstall any ULS laser source onto any ULS laser system. On other laser systems, the task of changing laser sources can be complicated and dangerous and can cause several days of downtime. Rapid Reconfiguration has a multitude of benefits to customers, each of which are described in detail below:
Laser material processing systems are extraordinarily versatile instruments. A single ULS system can cut, mark and engrave hundreds of thousands of materials. However, there are many instances in which optimal material processing is achieved only with appropriately-selected laser sources. Three major considerations drive selection of a laser source for a particular application: Rate of Energy Delivery, Rated Power and Laser Wavelength. Each of these considerations is leveraged by Rapid Reconfiguration technology.
Rate of Energy Delivery
As CO2 laser sources are turned on and off, they generate pulses of laser energy. Within each pulse is a specific amount of energy that is equal to the area underneath the power curve. High- and low-power lasers are capable of delivering pulses with a specified amount of energy, but do so at their rated power. Higher-power lasers can dispense large amounts of energy very quickly. During this short time, the intense energy of the laser causes materials to ablate or vaporize. This is perfect for some material processes, however in other cases ideal results can be obtained from a slower trickle of energy created by a lower-power laser source.
In addition to numerous materials processing benefits, Rapid Reconfiguration allows users to become more productive with their equipment no matter the scale of their operation. Even operations with one laser system can have incredible flexibility, as it can quickly adapt to any laser processing task by reconfiguring laser sources. Other laser systems cannot attain this level of agility because reconfiguring them may take longer than the processing task itself.
With Rapid Reconfiguration, a growing business has the built-in capability to reconfigure its solution for optimal efficiency and system utilization. On the manufacturing floor, Rapid Reconfiguration enables flexible, scalable solutions by switching out laser sources, optics and accessories to satisfy changing customer demand. Benefits include, tool-less prototype development, fast and accurate job estimation and seamless re-allocation of lasers based on production demand.
In multiple laser system configurations, users can match system size and laser power to particular processes. For example, an ILS12.150D is a large system which may be required for marking large panels. In this instance, a lower-power laser with a larger field size is all that is required, meaning that the higher-power lasers can be paired with smaller-sized systems to process more power-intensive but smaller parts. This again maximizes Return On Investment (ROI) by ensuring that the most efficient combination of lasers and systems is always in use.
Many customers start with a single system and a single laser source. As time goes by and their business grows, they may purchase a second laser source to expand their range of material processing capabilities and/or increase productivity.
With other laser systems, each new laser purchase diminishes the benefit of the laser sources that the customer already owns, since they cannot easily be reinstalled onto their system. However, this is not true with Rapid Reconfiguration. A vast majority of laser sources purchased from ULS in the past maintain compatibility with ULS systems, meaning that a past investment in laser sources impacts the future by providing both long-term laser compatibility and virtually limitless possibilities for future system configurations.
Rapid Reconfiguration also affords customers a high level of flexibility with their investment. For example, a customer can choose to purchase lasers of the same wattage, or instead decide on mixed wattages, depending on the needs of their specific applications. With Rapid Reconfiguration, they can choose the less costly option now, with full knowledge that a future upgrade is extremely easy and that the upgrade will not only provide a throughput advantage, but will also yield all of the processing advantages associated with having two laser sources.
ULS manufactures high-quality laser sources which operate reliably for many years, however, all laser sources eventually require service. Rapid Reconfiguration essentially eliminates downtime. For example, users with multiple laser sources can pull from their own stock to maintain manufacturing capability while the laser source requiring service is sent back to the factory. Alternatively, refurbished laser sources can be requested for exchange from ULS. When the new laser arrives, the old laser is sent back in its place. Both of these scenarios result in virtually zero system downtime.
In the unlikely event that a laser source requires service before scheduled maintenance can be performed, ULS can ship refurbished lasers overnight to many locations around the world. Once the new laser source arrives, it takes only minutes to install.
On other laser systems, it can take hours to remove, replace, and realign a new laser onto a system. This process requires extensive training and customers often hire an expensive technician and must shut their laser system down for an extended period of time to perform the task. Once the laser is installed, the processing settings, such as power and speed may require adjustment. Testing and re-aligning the laser also creates scrap material, adding to the already-protracted downtime.
Conversely, ULS Rapid Reconfiguration requires no tooling or specialized training. ULS pre-aligns all laser sources to a common reference standard at the factory, dramatically simplifying the installation process. Typically, it takes about one minute to reconfigure a ULS system. The laser system then internally communicates which laser is installed and adjusts for any processing changes automatically. If a user is cutting 3/8” plastic with a 40 watt laser, but then adds a 75 watt laser to increase productivity, the ULS software computes the required processing settings to accommodate the additional laser source. This means that the user does not need to spend time re-establishing parameters on the system each time a laser is interchanged – it all just works.
Rapid Reconfiguration allows customers to maximize the utility of several other Unique Universal Features and Technologies such as: SuperSpeed™, Multi-Wavelength™ and MultiWave Hybrid™ technologies, along with several features within the ULS software. This technological ecosystem is indicative of the high degree of consideration that goes into the design and construction of all ULS products, with the goal of maximizing customer capability, flexibility and profitability.
Rapid Reconfiguration has many benefits, but most of all it maximizes the customer's ROI through increased flexibility, capability and throughput. Customers can adapt their system for nearly any application – reconfiguring their laser processing solution to accommodate day to day demands. Their investment evolves with them to support the needs of their business as it grows and/or changes. When service is required, it's a fast and painless process, resulting in practically zero downtime. Customers also have the assurance that ULS will provide support and help to ensure their continued success.