Product and Process Innovation SIG




Mission Statement

To provide a focus for academic and industrial organisations involved in the research and development of laser source and delivery technology and laser materials processing applications; to identify common needs and create the possibility of joint initiatives and activities.

Scope of the PPI Group

The establishment of a UK-wide virtual laser laboratory or a consortium of UK laser processing research centres. Possibilities deriving or related to this concept include:

  • Launching a web-based directory of laser and laser related equipment and research personnel.
  • Providing a web-based Forum for researchers to communicate through.
  • Providing a web site portal for industry to access laser materials processing research laboratories.
  • Undertaking coordinating activities to address common interests and perhaps defining future needs (e.g. updating the UK Photonics Strategy).
  • Providing links with funding organisations (Photonics21, EU Commission, UK Government bodies).
  • Developing a bridge to cross the TRL 4-6 gap for the development of new products and processes/technologies.
  • Support an organisation, or a group of organisations, who can interact with the relevant research providers, identify potential commercialisation winners, create strategies for the development of those products or processes and carry out the development in conjunction with companies or individuals who could turn the development into a product.
  • The PPI Group could provide the forum for debate on technology transfer in the laser-processing context, squaring the circle between industrial customers looking for practical and economic solutions and research centres offering creativity and originality.
  • The PPI Group could provide research workshops and technology transfer activities.

A Message from the Chair of the group: Professor Lin Li, The University of Manchester.

Summer 2013

AILU's Product and Process Innovation (PPI) Special Interest Group is one of several SIGs that AILU has set up to serve the special needs and interests of members, in this case those in academia and other organisations involved in laser materials processing research and development.

Like all of AILU's SIGs, membership is free to those in the research community. At the most basic level the PPI Group provides networking opportunities, including an annual or biennial workshop.

AILU maintains report on UK research in laser materials processing and in 2014 has co-hosted the first UK LMP roadmap.

ESP KTN funding for a Technology Transfer survey

Without doubt laser materials processing (LMP) has a big part to play in 21st Century manufacturing. Unfortunately however, the UK makes relatively poor use of laser technology per unit of manufactured output – less than 10% that of Germany - this despite the large R&D activity in LMP in the UK. It is with a view to improving of this situation that the Association of Laser Users (AILU) undertook a survey on LMP Technology Transfer to UK SMEs in the manufacturing sector.

The survey was undertaken under the auspices of the Electronic, Sensors and Photonics Devision of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and involved the leading UK organisations that provider technology transfer services in LMP.

The survey report can be downloaded here. How much it will influence government strategy with regard to the funding of R&D in LMP, and the support of transfer of this technology into industry, is impossible to say; though the good response we received clearly indicates a vibrant sector.

Assistance with AMSCI bids

If you’re interested in finding a partner for a laser materials processing activity in round 4 of an Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) then please keep in touch with AILU, who will register your interest and assist in the finding of partners.


The AILU Report on R&D in Laser Materials Processing: Identification of opportunities and Competency map of top-level providers

This report comes in two parts. Part 1 Identifies current UK research and development opportunities in laser materials processing and is based on the results of a brainstorming session involving invited members of the UK laser materials processing academic and industrial research community held in November 2008. Part 2 is a competency map of top-level UK providers of R&D in laser materials processing and is based on information collected during the Summer of 2008.

This report is also available for AILU Members to download from the Member’s area Document Library in the Strategy section.

Joining the PPI Group

Membership of the PPI Special Interest Group (SIG) is free and open to AILU members and Photonics KTN members alike.

To be added as a PPI SIG member simply contact the AILU office. If you are already an AILU member or have registered on the AILU web site, simply request to join. Otherwise, please include in the email your full contact details.

Why join?

As a member of the medical special interest group you will be alerted to workshops and other networking events, and will be given the opportunity of influencing the program of PPI SIG activities.

Also, as a member you will have access to the on-line PPI SIG Forum, where you can post a question of discussion point, respond to other peoples inputs, or simply review the existing material. However you use the forum it will be a worthwhile experience.

In all of these activities you will be connecting with other researchers, equipment suppliers and end users who share your interest in the application of lasers.

Accessing the on-line PPI SIG Forum

To access the forum you first need to login using your assigned name and password. The entry point is in the top right corner of this page. (tip: If you are still using the random number/letter password you were originally given, why not change it to something memorable by clicking on the ‘edit details’ link after you’ve logged in?)

Once you do this a link to the forum will appear in the left hand navigation column under ‘Laser User Groups’.

If you are looking for material for presentations - the DLM site is the place to go


Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative

Click here for advanced notice of an Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative
Forthcoming competition for funding (FEBRUARY 2012)

The Technology Strategy Board


The Technology Strategy Board is all about driving innovation.


The Board's role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. They promote, support and invest in technology research, development and commercialisation. They spread knowledge, bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances.

The Technology Strategy Board advises Government on how to remove barriers to innovation and accelerate the exploitation of new technologies. And they work in areas where there is a clear potential business benefit, helping today's emerging technologies become the growth sectors of tomorrow.

For more details about the Technology Strategy Board - click here
For more details about the strategy - click here
For more details about how to get involved - click here
For links into Competitions, Knowledge Transfer Networks and more - click here

Innovation in the creative industries

The Technology Strategy Board has published its first strategy document on technology innovation in the creative industries.

The UK is a world leader in culture and media and these industries make a major contribution to the economy. Technology is challenging existing business models and providing a spur for innovation and growth. The strategy focuses on the priority areas for an innovation focus and we welcome views on its implementation.

Read the strategy report online here

Back to top