Buying Tips for Laser Systems

This page is designed to provide useful information and important factors to consider when selecting a laser system.

You can find service related questions in the FAQ section of the website. If you would like to pose a question for our laser processing experts, please submit an email to the following address: questions@ulsinc.com.

ILS System

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Why Top Speed is Not the Most Important Factor When Selecting a Laser System

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The top speed motors can reach rarely influences the performance of a laser system. This is because of factors such as the material characteristics and the number of curves and corners in the design file that limit the laser processing speed. Therefore the motors seldom reach their rated speed. The amount of laser power available and the sophistication of the motion control system are much more important factors for optimum productivity.

  • When cutting thicker materials like plastic, wood, and leather, the cutting speed is limited by the laser power. Increasing laser power does increase the laser cutting speed. However even with the maximum available laser power, the motors seldom reach 100% of their rated speed. ULS laser sources and Rapid Reconfiguration™ technology enable you to select the ideal laser power for each material you process.

    Learn More about ULS Laser Sources
    Learn More about Rapid Reconfiguration

  • Even when cutting very thin materials like paper, operating the motors at 100% speed is not practical. Whenever the cut path changes direction (curves and corners), the motors need to slow down to avoid chatter and vibration. This is where a sophisticated motion system provides more benefit than a higher top speed. The ULS motion control system is an advanced path planner that evaluates every vector path and plans the optimum speed and acceleration for every segment of each path. The ULS path planner provides superior productivity in comparison to other laser systems.

    Learn More about ULS Vector Performance Comparison Test

  • High speed raster marking and engraving lead to blurred edges and unacceptable quality. ULS overcomes this problem with SuperSpeed™ technology, which utilizes two laser beams to double productivity without sacrificing quality.

    Learn More about ULS SuperSpeed Technology
    Learn More about ULS Raster Performance Comparison Test
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What is the Difference Between Raster and Vector Motions?

Raster Image

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When processing a design file there are two distinct ways the laser system handles different elements of the design. Raster motion (overlapping left-to-right/right-to-left movement of the optics carriage) is used for laser engraving, marking, and photo imaging.
ULS laser system control software parses design files for bitmap images, text, and filled areas, and interprets these elements as raster objects. It then automatically calculates raster processing patterns for the laser system. Overlapping left-to-right/right-to-left motion creates a filled rectangle, shown below:

Red Square Image

Vector motion is used for laser cutting, scoring, and some marking. In these cases the laser system’s X-Y axis motion system simultaneously moves in two dimensions along the path to match the shape being processed.


Vector Samples
The ULS laser system control software parses design files and interprets thin lines as vector objects. It then calculates 2D vector paths for the laser cutting, engraving, and marking machine.


Why Laser Wavelength Matters

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ULS laser sources are available with output wavelengths of 9.3um (CO2), 10.6um (CO2), and 1.06um (Fiber laser). Many materials react differently to each of these wavelengths. By offering laser sources at different wavelengths, ULS significantly increases the flexibility and capability to laser process a wide and diverse array of materials. Each wavelength is suited to a different range of materials, processes and applications. When connected to a ULS laser system, ULS laser sources communicate with the Universal Control Panel (UCP) or the Laser System Manager (LSM) to let the software know what laser source is currently installed. This is important in that the software can then display the materials that can properly utilize the unique characteristics of each laser source wavelength in the Materials Database.