- Initial system location. Many installations take advantage of currently available space, but it is important to consider some key requirements. Temperature is important because laser systems don’t operate well at cold or hot temperatures. If you are comfortable, the laser system should be fine. The laser system should not be allowed to freeze overnight. If venting outside, being aware of your neighbors and local regulations is important as the filtration of dust and odor may be required. This is a business expense that is commonly overlooked but needs to be considered. If returning filtered air to the work area, the size of the room and air exchange are critical since filtration does not remove carbon monoxide created by laser processing many common materials.
- Operators and training. If you are the sole operator, you might enjoy the skill you acquire over time from learning and mastering laser system controls. However, if you plan on having multiple operators and training staff, you will want to consider looking for a system with the best user interface and best materials database. This will make it easier to train more of your staff or future staff. Also consider what the system manufacturer offers for additional training, including user guides.
- Maintenance and repairs. All laser systems require regular maintenance, including cleaning, and over time, they will require repairs. One major business consideration is purchasing from a manufacturer that will quickly help you. Look for a laser system from a manufacturer with a good reputation and look for a modular system designed to be repaired (or upgraded) by the user, to minimize the requirement to have a technician visit or sending a system back to the manufacturer.
- Scaling up operations. Consider what you will need to do if you grow quickly. Are you buying a modular system now that can be user upgraded (lasers/power, accessories) as your needs increase? If you need to add systems will you need to move to a larger space?
—Kirstin Scott, Universal Laser Systems