Recent News

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.

Vision Software Tips

Jan 29, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision: How to Back Up & Restore Jobs

As simple as it may seem backing up your jobs is one of the most important steps in the designing process. Whether you are creating a simple template or a complex job with multiple steps, having to recreate your work because of a failure to backup is often times very frustrating and ultimately costs time and money.

Key times to back files up are:

  • After designing any template that is meant to be reused in the future.
  • After doing major node editing work.
  • Anytime your work is not complete but you need to take a break or step away from your computer for a long period of time.

To back up your file click the file tab at the top of the Vision software screen and click “Save As”


Enter the file name and click “Save”. Tip – Enter the date and any other pertinent information like customer name or quote number so you can use your computer’s search feature to help find it in the future.


To back up your file click the file tab at the top of the Vision software screen and click “Open”.


Select the file you want to open and click “Open”.


-Vision Engraving & Routing Systems

2018 Universal Laser Service Bulletin

Jan 15, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

2018 Universal Laser Service Bulletin

If you have been in the laser engraving business for a few years, you have probably discovered just how important the operation of your laser truly is. With a laser you can produce tens of thousands of profitable work each year. You probably have also discovered that your laser can go down at any time. Given the importance of lasers today, even in the smallest of shops, the best protection against a costly laser outage is to understand your laser, plan for it, and properly maintain the functioning of your laser. While there are a number of variables that affect the service life of a laser engraver, below are some service and cleaning tips to follow to help keep your laser running smoothly.

Universal Laser Maintenance – How-To Video

To Schedule a Service Call
Call 817-261-7256 or Email

To Order Parts

– Check Optic and Mirrors- Clean if needed.

– Clean X & Y Axis Bearings and Belts- Soapy water only
– General Dusting with damp cloth

– Vacuum under table
– Empty Downdraft Cutting Table
– Clean Cloth filters on back of system

– Clean and lubricate Z-axis turn screws

– Check wear on belts and bearings on X-Axis
– Clean exhaust plenum and inspect exhaust hose and ductwork

– Check wear on belts and bearings on Y-Axis
– Check wattage on Laser cartridge before warranty ends

– Check Laser output- recharge if needed

Five Operational Rules
1. Never leave system running unsupervised (must be in room)
2. Always run exhaust or filter when engraving and cutting
3. Check focus when changing material
4. Check Optics and mirrors when you start running system
5. Never run air assist without cone

Vision: Make Path and Break Path Functions

Jan 8, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision Tips: Make Path and Break Path Functions

When importing an image, sometimes you may need to edit the image or apply different tool paths.  However, if the image or object is not grouped, then the only way to get it into pieces is to Break Path which breaks it all down.  From there, you can edit, delete, etc., and when finished you can Make Path to make it into 1 piece again.

After bringing this border in from clipart, I then Break Path to edit it.

From here, I delete some of the inner rectangles, then Make path to make it back into 1 piece.  It is not enough to just group it if you want to do a fill between the rectangles, that’s another reason to use Make Path.

— Vision Engraving and Routing Systems, December 2017

DCS F6T White Ink: Optimized for Dark Garment Printing

Dec 18, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

The New F6T White Ink: Optimized for Dark Garment Printing!

The new F6T white ink further refines our ground breaking combination of UV print technology, ink formulation, and process steps.

Used in conjunction with standard F6 CMYK+Cl inks and compatible F6T Edition Direct Jet UV LED printers, operators are relieved of the task of using harsh chemical pretreatments for dark garments, both synthetic and cotton. The process steps are time saving, simple, and easy to follow.

Shirts Print Times



Vision: 10 Benefits of Rotary Engravers

Dec 11, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision: 10 Benefits of Rotary Engravers

  1. Rotary engraving is environmentally friendly, creating no fumes or residues other than chips, which are removed by a simple vacuum. Laser systems burn material and require extraction systems within your facility. When burning any type of plastic, lacquered or painted products, a charcoal and particulates filter should be used to collect hazardous fumes and dust.
  2. Rotary engravers allow for the use of different sized cutting tools. This allows you to engrave in fine detail with a small cutter, and engrave large areas quickly with a larger tool.
  3. Allow for beveled-edge cutouts.
  4. Rotary Engravers allow you to engrave onto PVC, which is toxic when lasered.
  5. Our Vision Rotary Engravers will drill holes and automatically insert braille beads to easily create ADA compliant signs.
  6. With a rotary engraver you are able to engrave on uneven or warped surfaces with a nosecone to create uniform engraving over your entire item.
  7. Rotary engravers give you the ability to mark metals, including stainless steel, without the extra time and expense of applying a chemical coating.
  8. Rotary engraving plastic materials can cost 20-50% less per sheet than laser materials (based on current engraving plastic catalog prices).
  9. Rotary engravers are typically less expensive to purchase and maintain than a laser engraver. No specialized cleaning, critical alignment, or periodic recharging is required.
  10. Rotary machines form facets when engraving, creating depth and richness in the look of the finished product.

-Vision Engraving & Routing Systems 

Laser Cut and Engrave Christmas Ornaments

Dec 4, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

How to Laser Cut and Engrave Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of year again! Your Christmas tree is up, your decorations are out, and the lights are hung. You step back to admire the holiday cheer but something still feels like it is missing.Wood-ornaments-460x690
Don’t worry. We have the perfect fix! Whether you are looking for inspiration this holiday season or simply are looking for additions to your Christmas décor, these fun and festive ornaments are perfect for every household.

Made from finished alder wood, you can now download some customizable designs to fit your own personal holiday style.

Get started with this CorelDraw Christmas File!

Materials Needed:

– 1/8” Laser Wood

– Universal Laser Systems

Uniquely Universal: Advanced Materials Processing Center

Nov 15, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Advanced Materials Processing Center

The state-of-the-art Advanced Materials Processing Center (AMPC) plays a key role in the end-to-end support offered to our customers. The goal of the AMPC is to advance laser material processing science and develop technology innovations that address the critical needs of our customers. Through the AMPC, we apply years of knowledge and expertise in laser materials processing to support customers in their decision-making from configuration to deployment and beyond. All ULS customers benefit from the ongoing research and development of the AMPC as it remains a resource to them as their business may expand or change.

As a result of our constant research and development of laser material processing, we are able to provide customers unique products and an extensive, ever expanding Intelligent Materials Database that is integrated into our laser system control software that is available on all ULS systems.


The Intelligent Materials Database automatically calculates optimized laser material processing settings for hundreds of materials. This eliminates the need for users to develop settings through trial and error. Whether the ULS system is used as a “laser cutter”, “laser engraver”, “laser marker” or a combination of processes, the Intelligent Materials Database allows users to achieve professional quality results without undue effort.

The AMPC identifies compatible materials to add to the materials database based on a set of criteria and general understanding of the material characteristics and the potential use of the material. Each material goes through testing and analysis to develop a compatibility profile for laser material processing. Below are examples of the types of tests included in our comprehensive assessment before adding settings to our materials database:

1. Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) – testing of the material to determine the smallest HAZ  possible

2. Compatible Laser Processes – testing of the material with different wavelengths and power levels to determine which processes of laser cutting, engraving and/or marking are compatible with the material

3. Uniformity – applying the laser processes of cutting, engraving and marking across a graphic to ensure consistency of results

4.  Edge Quality Optimization – testing to determine the optimal edge quality for the material when laser cutting (ex. smooth polish on acrylic edges; no serration along edge)

5. Change of Appearance – testing of the material to determine potentially desirable and undesirable effects on the material

6. Material Integrity – testing of the material to determine whether the integrity of the material is impacted by a laser process

7.Effluent Analysis – testing of the material to identify any environmental, hazardous health or safety considerations when using the material with laser technology

– Universal Laser Systems,

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