Recent News

Vision 10 Tool Paths Grouped With Objects

Sep 9, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

In the Vision 10, tool paths are grouped with the objects they are put on which is not always desired.  To change this setting and have the tool paths separate, go to the top ribbon in the vision software, left click on Options, hover cursor over Vision Setup, left click on System Preferences.

Once inside System Preferences, left click on Tool Path Preferences at the top, uncheck Group tool paths with originals, and left click on Apply at the bottom.

By setting up the software this way, you can move the tool path, node edit tool path (which have to do to apply bridges), etc.

— Vision Engraving & Routing Systems, August 2019

CO2, Fiber, or Both – What Types of Laser Sources Do I Need?

Sep 3, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

CO2 and fiber lasers are the most common laser types for material processing including laser cutting, laser engraving, and laser marking. This overview introduces the materials appropriate for CO2 lasers and fiber lasers at power levels below 200 watts. It also introduces links to resources to help you determine the best laser system configuration for your requirements.

Materials for CO2 Laser Processing

The focused energy from a CO2 laser below 200 watts is used primarily for processing organic materials, but it can do some processing of inorganic, non-metallic materials. With high enough laser power density achieved by using special optics, CO2 lasers at these power levels can also mark some metals. Here are the processes and materials CO2 lasers are used for:

CO2 Cutting and Marking/Engraving

For cutting with 150 watts or less, a practical maximum thickness limit from .125 inch (3.2mm) to 1.0 inch (25.4mm) applies to many organic materials. The limit varies greatly depending on material density and composition. Some low-density foam materials up to 2.0 inches (50.8mm) thick can also be cut. The maximum thickness for cutting and speed of processing are heavily influenced by the amount of applied laser energy, so more power (75–150 watts) is recommended for processing thicker material or for higher productivity.

The following materials are suitable for CO2 laser cutting, engraving, and marking:

  • Plastics
  • Rubbers/Elastomers
  • Foams
  • Fabrics
  • Papers
  • Woods
  • Composites (if metal or other inorganic content is minimal)

CO2 Marking/Engraving (No Cutting)

Numerous materials can be marked or engraved with CO2 laser energy below 200 watts because there is enough laser energy for noticeable surface interaction but not enough energy to penetrate all the way through a material for cutting. Generally, if a material is inorganic and heat resistant (doesn’t melt or has a very high melting point), it cannot be laser cut with a CO2 laser rated under 200 watts.

The following materials are suitable for CO2 laser marking and, in some cases, shallow engraving:

  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Stone
  • Steel and Titanium (surface marking)

Metal marking is difficult with CO2 lasers because metal reflects or conducts most of the laser energy away from the focal point. To make steel and titanium surface marking possible with laser power as low as 25 watts, Universal Laser Systems (ULS) developed and patented exclusive High Power Density Focusing Optics (HPDFO™) that concentrate laser energy by focusing it to a significantly smaller focal spot size than possible with any standard optical system. Concentrating laser energy into a smaller spot dramatically increases power density to overcome the energy loss of reflection and conduction, enabling steel and titanium marking. Learn more about HPDFO.

Materials for Fiber Laser Processing

Fiber lasers rated 100 watts or less are used primarily for marking/engraving metal materials. The shorter wavelength of fiber lasers (compared with CO2 lasers) is absorbed by metal much more efficiently. The advantages of fiber lasers with metal are the ability to mark more metal types, penetrate below the surface of the metal, and mark/engrave faster than CO2 lasers of a similar power rating. Fiber lasers are also used for surface marking certain plastics that have fillers that absorb and react to the fiber laser energy.

Fiber Laser Marking/Engraving

The following materials are suitable for fiber laser marking and, in some cases, shallow engraving:

  • Metal (most types)
  • Plastics – including black acetal, black acrylic, black PTFE, and other plastics with laser receptive additives, fillers, or pigments. For most of these, it is not the organic plastic that absorbs and reacts to laser energy, it is the pigments, fillers, or other additives that react to the fiber laser energy.

Fiber lasers are also used to selectively remove thin metallic coatings on substrates not affected by fiber laser energy, including glass and PET plastic film.

Next Steps

The selection of laser or lasers you chose depends heavily on your processing requirements.

Before deciding on a configuration, consider all the materials important for you now and in the future. You can use our online tool to help configure a laser system with the correct laser sources to meet your material processing requirements.

 — Universal Laser Systems, August 2019

Universal Tips: Customer Custom Material Database

Dec 3, 18 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

Customer Custom Material Database

**It’s always a good idea to make a backup of the Custom Database file before updating or rolling back UCP versions**

This document was written for Windows 7 but it will be the same process for both Windows 8 and Windows 10 as well.  Some steps in Windows 8 and Windows 10 may look a little different from how they appear in Windows 7 but the file locations & file names will be identical between Windows 7 and Windows 8/Windows 10.

First thing if not already done is to unhide hidden folders.

Open “Folder Options”

Quick way: Click Start on the menu bar and in the search box type “hidden” then select “Show Hidden files and folders.”

Under files and Folders check “show hidden files, folders, and drives” then click apply and OK.

Next open C:\ProgramData\ULSDAT by selecting primary drive, Open ProgramData and then open “ULSDAT.”

Scroll down until you see “ULSMatCustom.fdb”

Select this file and right click and select “copy.”

Save/Paste the Copy file in another location, i.e Libraries\Documents

Next, go back to ULSDAT folder and name ULSMatCustom.fdb to ULSMatCustom_Original .fdb

This makes a backup of the customers original custom db file for that date in the event you have to roll back or file is

Now the file that was saved in Libraries/Documents (or wherever it was saved), copy and paste it back into the original folder. This does not mean move the file back into the original folder but make a copy of it back into the original file location.

Alternatively, right click and select copy. Then right click and select “rename.”

Rename the file to “ULSMatCustom_Original .fdb”. Then “paste” saved file so that ULSMatCutom and ULSMatCustom_Original are displayed in the same folder.

Now, if the customer needs/wants their Custom Database transferred to another computer, copy “ULSMatCustom.fdb” onto a USB drive (or e‐mail, or CD, or however it will be easy to transfer this file) and move this file onto the other computer: putting it in the same file directory at C:\ProgramData\ULSDAT.


– Chris S, Engravers Network/ Universal Technician 

Laser-Induced Graphene Technology Enabled by the XLS10MWH from Universal Laser Systems®

Jul 12, 18 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

Laser-Induced Graphene Technology Enabled by the XLS10MWH from
Universal Laser Systems®

In 2014, a research team at Rice University discovered that they could convert the surface of a plastic film to graphene by exposing it to a CO2 laser beam. Since then the team, led by Prof. James M. Tour, has been working diligently to refine the Laser-Induced Graphene (LIG) process and to explore new applications for this versatile material. The LIG development work at Rice is enabled by an XLS10MWH with MultiWave Hybrid™ technology from Universal Laser Systems.

The LIG technology developed at Rice University represents a vast improvement over previous methods of forming graphene, which are multi-step processes requiring expensive vacuum furnaces or harsh chemicals. By contrast, the LIG process creates graphene in a single step in a normal room air environment.  This reduces production cost and complexity.  

For a full review of the LIG process and its many applications, please link to Rice University’s recent publication in the journal
Accounts of Chemical Research.

3 Reasons to Step Up to Advanced Material Processing

Jul 2, 18 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

3 Reasons to Step Up to Advanced Material Processing

ULS blog

Top reasons companies like yours prefer to use Universal Laser Systems (ULS) technology in their businesses:
  • Ability to process a broad spectrum of materials –including composites, elastomers, foams, metals, fabrics, films, engineering plastics, as well as many new materials still under development
  • Unsurpassed versatility – many different types of operations, which typically requireseparate equipment, can be performed on a single system, in one seamless step
  • Extreme flexibility – systems are designed to be almost instantaneously reconfigurable to address current and future business need

Thousands of organizations around the world have successfully integrated and are benefiting from Universal Laser Systems advanced material processing technology every day. You can too!

              Visit Website               Request a Sample           Schedule a Demo

websit   request sample    demo


Universal Laser Systems® Adds More 3M™ Materials to its Materials Database

Jun 4, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Universal Laser Systems® Adds More 3M™ Materials to its Materials Database

Universal Laser Systems (ULS) announces the addition of more 3M™ materials to its materials database, the most extensive repository of laser material processing parameters for materials in the range of 10 watts to 500 watts.

The 3M materials new to the ULS materials database were specifically added for laser processing with the ULTRA and XLS platforms, suited for high accuracy and precision laser cutting, laser ablation, and laser surface modification. The materials include the following:

Laser processing notes, describing the results of the laser-material interaction for these materials, are also available in the Materials Library to help potential customers explore the advantages of deploying laser technology within their manufacturing, research and development, and prototyping activities.

ULS Press Release, Scottsdale, AZ – May 16, 2018 

DTG Printing With UV: Selecting The “Best” Shirt

May 29, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

DTG Printing

The Best Shirt or Tee Shirt for a DTG Printer
With so many shirt options, which brand should I use?DTG LED UV Tee-Shirt Printers
Your DCS UV-LED DTG Printer is ready to go. You are eager to begin production. You are ready to purchase in-bulk the shirts, tee-shirts, and/or garments yoDTG LED UV Tee-Shirt Printersu need to start. A simple Google search for 100% Polyester T-shirts produces approximately 3,750,000 results!! Where do you begin?Apart from recommending a specific shirt or tee-shirt manufactured by a specific company or corporation, it is moderately difficult to explain the process of selecting the “best” shirt or tee-shirt to print on directly. If you purchase even a few dozen tee-shirts from the various different shirt or tee-shirt manufacturers it still will not be until the tee-shirts arrive from the vendor to your own facility that you come to the realization that each shirt, t-shirt, or garment is drastically different in look and feel compared to one other. With that being said, Direct Color Systems has some guidelines and helpful tips for selecting the most appropriate tee-shirts to print on with your DCS UV-LED Printer.

Tips for selecting shirts and shirt fabrics to print on:
Shirts that do not require a white underbase:DTG UV
While this may not always be possible, shirts or tee-shirts that do not require a white underbase (i.e. white, light grey, tan, etc.), will always yield the best results. Not having to print a white underbase improves the feel and softness of the print on the shirt or t-shirt, decreases throughput time, decreases setup time, doesn’t require purchasing a spraying unit (for water) and washes significantly better. All of this, coupled with the fact that there is a much wider variety of shirts and t-shirts that yield acceptable output, makes printing to white or light shirts a no-brainer.

However, black or dark shirts are typically favored over white or light colored shirts. The selection process for shirts that require a white underbase is a little more involved and will require experimentation and validation by the operator.DTG UV

Shirts containing a high percentage (80 or above) of synthetic fibers:
DTG with UV shines in its ability to print to synthetics shirts and performance polyester t-shirts. Therefore, the higher percentage of synthetic fibers used when manufacturing the shirt, the better the results overall. However, if the shirt does not require a white underbase, 100% cotton, various cotton/poly blends and 100% polyester all work extremely well. The higher ratio of synthetic to natural fibers is very important if the shirt or t-shirt requires a white underbase.

Dark and black cotton shirts, t-shirts, or garments:
Black or dark colored 100% cotton shirts are the most difficult type of shirt to achieve any acceptable results with. Understand that some of these shirts and tees will never yield acceptable results. There are process steps and software settings that can be changed in an attempt to yield better results, but overall printing to any black or dark shirt that is not in the list of recommended shirts may be printing, profiling, and process of futility. Also, note that the IRF6-T white ink with IRF6 CMYK & Clear will produce the best results when printing to black or dark cotton shirts, t-shirts or garmets.

-Michael Perrelli, Direct Color Systems

BOFA International named BDO Mid-Market Company of the Year

Mar 6, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

BOFA International named BDO Mid-Market Company of the Year.

We are delighted to announce that we have been named BDO Central South Mid-Market Company of the Year 2017.

The BDO event, hosted by BBC South Today’s Laura Trant, was attended by over 150 business leaders and stakeholders last night in Southampton. We were shortlisted alongside another two companies, Natures Way and Sydenhams, for meeting key criteria including strong sustained performances and our approach to new markets.

Over the last 12 months, BDO has identified the top performing mid-sized businesses in the areas of international activity and profit growth and BOFA was shortlisted from a list of over 40 companies.

Malcolm Thixton, lead partner at BDO Southampton, comments:
“BOFA performed exceptionally well against our key criteria of leadership and vision, driving innovation and approach to new markets, all leading to sustained growth with great prospects for the future. They have a very clear three year plan that has been written following sound collaboration and research and that includes investment in new technologies and a real focus on retaining and rewarding their people.”

After what has been a fantastic year for us here at BOFA, we are honored to be recognized as being one of the regions’ best performers in the key areas of international activity and profit growth. We are sure that 2018 will be just as successful, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

-BDO, United Kingdom




Buying Tips for Laser Systems

Feb 20, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

ULS Logo

What Are the Advantages of Metal Core Lasers Over Ceramic Core Lasers?


The main body of a laser, containing the critical laser gas mixture, is referred to as the core. The core can be made of metal, ceramic, or glass. The primary advantages of metal core lasers over ceramic core lasers are discussed below.
Ceramic core lasers were developed for commercial applications as water-cooled, ion gas lasers in the 1970s. All metal core laser technology has its genesis in military developments for demanding and mission critical applications. By the late 1980s, these military programs were complete. However, metal core laser development continued on to make the highly reliable and serviceable lasers available for commercial and industrial applications.

Metal core lasers are constructed from aluminum and go through a passivation (micro-coating) process during manufacturing, building a thin, dense layer of ceramic (AL2O3) on all internal components and eliminating the possibility of metal contact with the gas mixture. This very thin ceramic layer (just a few microns) does not impact thermal conductivity. Both ceramic core and metal core lasers are decontaminated and evacuated to high vacuum levels in the manufacturing process to remove any contaminates before gas fill. Therefore, ceramic and metal lasers both offer contamination free cores.

One of the key advantages of metal core lasers is ease of cooling. Only part of the electrical energy consumed by a laser is converted to laser power, while the rest of the electrical energy is converted to heat. A CO2 laser’s gas mixture is sensitive to high temperature, and removing excess heat is extremely critical. Metal is a much better choice (as opposed to ceramic) for required laser cooling because the metal core transfers heat quickly in order to keep the laser mixture at optimal operating temperature. Ceramic is a relatively poor conductor of heat, making it a less than an optimal choice, especially for air-cooled lasers.

Another distinct advantage of metal lasers is linear polarization. Laser beams with linear polarization can be combined into a single, cross-polarized beam to produce a broader range of power options and to deliver superior advantages in laser material processing. Additionally, in systems compatible with multiple lasers, metal lasers with different power and wavelengths can be combined, sharing the same optical path. Conversely, current ceramic lasers produce randomly polarized beams that cannot be combined.

Finally, metal lasers can be serviced easily, thereby extending their useful life indefinitely. Hundreds of thousands of metal core lasers have been manufactured by ULS and other companies in the last 20 years, with many laser sources over 10-years-old remaining in service. While ceramic lasers could provide a reasonably long operational life, they are not designed to be maintained easily due to the direct attachment of the laser resonator optics to the ceramic core, using glue as a bonding and sealing material. Metal core lasers, on the other hand, use metal or semiconductor grade elastomeric seals. Metal lasers also can operate for an extended time in the field before maintenance is needed and are designed for long term reliability and serviceability.

As summary, top global laser system manufacturers design, manufacture, and use metal core air-cooled CO2 lasers in their laser systems because these lasers offer the broadest range of power options and unlimited laser lifetime for a vast list of laser material processing applications. When making a decision regarding a laser system, consider the advantages offered by metal core lasers.

– Universal Laser Systems, 02.09.18

Direct Color Systems: Intro to UV

Feb 12, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Watch This: Intro to UV

Looking for a brief introduction to our UV printing technology, application capabilities, and challenges? Check out this interview with Jay Spencer as he discusses our UV LED printers. Shot at the NBM Charlotte show, Jay answers numerous questions about the technology including pricing printed products.