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Servitization in laser job shops : interviews with laser job shops and machine providers

Annamalai Vasantha, Gokula Vijayumar and Hussain, Romana and Roy, Rajkumar and Williams, Stewart and Lockett, Helen (2012) Servitization in laser job shops : interviews with laser job shops and machine providers. The Laser User (65). ISSN 1755-5140

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Manufacturers often outsource laser cutting to laser job shops which will cut components to fairly tight deadlines and budgets. However, the concept of laser cutting as a way to improve manufacturing output is no longer novel; it has now been 'commoditised' and is driven largely by price and speed of delivery. Nevertheless, laser job shops add value through their expertise in processing design data, optimising material usage, machine operation and materials handling. Laser cutting systems are expensive to procure and run, and generally come with two years of warranty. From the interviews we have held with UK job shop owners, the broad conclusion is that, depending on the machine’s return condition, a good residual value could be realised over the first five to seven years and that , after ten to twelve years, the machine would have depreciated to scrap value. Also, despite the fact that laser systems have undergone rapid technological change, the laser job shops interviewed were not expecting many business-changing developments from laser technology within the foreseeable future.