About Us


The Association of Laser Users (AILU) was established in 1995 as an independent, non-profit making organisation run by and for laser users involved in activities including manufacturing, healthcare, academic and industrial research; as well as suppliers of laser-related products and services. Our current corporate members include leading players in the UK laser materials community.

The aims and objectives of the association are set out in its Memorandum and Articles of Association.

They include, in particular, the fostering of co-operation and collaboration and the dissemination of information, experience and expertise relating to industrial laser technology, laser materials processing; its applications and related technologies.

The President's Message
Prof Lin Li, University of Manchester

February 2018

In the latest edition of the AILU magazine we had the honour of publishing an article by Professor Bill Steen outlining the history of laser processing in his research groups from the 1970s to the 2000s.  The article is extracted from a longer document which I'm sure Bill would be happy to share if you interested - please contact him via the AILU office.

Reading this article brought me back to the 1980s and 1990s. I joined Bill’s laser group at Imperial College London in 1985 as a PhD student working on intelligent adaptive control of the laser cladding process. The project involved the closed loop control of laser power, powder flow-rate, clad deposition height and dilution using a hierarchical, multiple sensor and multiple loop structure combined with artificial intelligence (AI).

In 1988 I followed Bill to Liverpool University, working as a research assistant and later research fellow in a number of projects, including monitoring of high speed laser welding for industrial packaging and laser based nuclear decommissioning, until 1994 when I joined UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) as a lecturer.

The 9 years of studying and working life with Bill laid down a solid foundation on which to build my entire career in the area of laser engineering.   Bill was a most inspiring teacher, supervisor and a friend. He always inspired and encouraged students and researchers and gave them the opportunities and freedom to solve challenging scientific and engineering problems. Everyone was happier after talking to Bill in technical discussions.

Students and researchers were often invited to Bill’s house and annual barn dances were held for the laser group members and friends. He regularly sent PhD students and post-docs to various conferences to learn and interact with wider laser communities.

Bill received the Arthur Schawlow Award from the Laser Institute of America in 1996 and the prestigious Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2017. We congratulate Professor Steen on his lifetime achievements that have changed the manufacturing world.


The organisation of AILU is under the direction of an elected standing committee made up of representatives from the UK industrial laser community. Elections are held annually at the Annual General Meeting. (See Joining the AILU committee and Officers and Committee)

AILU provides a wide range of general services to laser users and suppliers and hosts a number of special interest groups (SIGs) to better support members who have particular interests in common. These include a Job Shop SIG (established in 1995, with 86 members*) for subcontract laser-based engineering companies; a Market Development SIG  (established in 2005, with 240 members*) for suppliers of laser-related products and services; a Medical SIG (established in 2007, with 55 members*) for clinicians, manufacturers using lasers for manufacture of medical devices and suppliers of laser-related products and services; and the Micro:Nano SIG, AILU’s newest, launched in mid 2008 at AILU's 10th microprocessing workshop.”


The current activities of AILU include:

AILU’s Membership

Application for membership of AILU is open to the industrial laser community worldwide, and those with an interest in this community and its activities. We currently have approximately 300 members, made up of mainly manufacturing industry including laser job shops (40%), suppliers of laser-related products and services (30%) and research and consultancy organisations (25%). 

See member benefits to review how membership could benefit you.

Cost of membership

There are two principle types of membership available: corporate and individual. The first member from an organisation whose activities are related to laser materials processing must enrol the organisation as a Corporate Member. Any additional employees of the Corporate Member, as well as with persons whose business activities is unrelated to laser materials processing, can join at a much reduced rate as an Individual Member. In addition, a concessionary rate is available for students, unemployed and retired persons. For 20012/13 the rates are as follows:

Corporate Membership: GBP 405 + VAT (@20%)

Individual Membership: GBP 100 + VAT (@20%)

Concessionary individual membership: GBP 60 + VAT (@20%)
Unemployed and retired persons.

Student Individual Membership:  GBP 60 + VAT (@20%). Available for full-time students.

If you are interested in joining the Association, you can apply for membership on line or by calling the AILU office on +44 (0)1235 539595. To apply online complete the AILU Registration Form and submit.  The AILU Registration Form can be used to apply to become a Member or to become a Registered Visitor.  Details of the benefits and privileges of Membership and Registration are described here.

Please note that membership cannot be approved immediately; but please telephone the office on +44 (0)1235 539595 and we may be able to email you any information you need quickly. Also, you may be pleased to hear that payment is not required at the time of applying for membership and that the annual subscription pays for a full 12 months, whatever time of the year you join.

©AILU: Text on this page is available under the terms of the Wikipedia GNU Free Documentation License.

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