Scottsdale, Arizona-based laser engraving equipment manufacturer Universal Laser Systems announces it has been granted a patent for “flexible laser manufacturing systems and associated methods of use and manufacture”—U.S. Patent No. 9,354630B2.
Flexible laser manufacturing is an advanced concept for industrial settings. It calls for the deployment of DLMP (Digital Laser Material Processing) technology using multiple laser systems in an arrayed configuration. This systematic approach to manufacturing allows companies to develop new processes quickly, and then ramp them to higher volume manufacturing rapidly and reliably.
The patented concept employs a host computer to manage laser processing tasks throughout the manufacturing floor by electronically routing tasks to groups of available laser systems to meet required production needs based on sophisticated planning and estimating algorithms.
The host computer also monitors the productivity of each laser system and can dynamically rebalance the number of laser systems that are assigned to each manufacturing task if production output fluctuates or requirements change. This host control, along with the tool- less and fixture-less nature of laser material processing, provides an unprecedented level of manufacturing flexibility and control, the company says. Individual laser systems can also be taken “offline” for use in research and development, and then placed back into production when the R&D project is finished.