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November 4, 2009
3 Min Read
Originally Published MPMN November/December 2009
Benchtop Laser Wire Stripper Prevents Damage to Critical Electronics
A benchtop wire stripper with CO2 laser-light technology is suited for use with applications involving critical electronics.
Mechanical, thermal, or chemical wire stripping processes can compromise the integrity of critical electronics by accidentally nicking, scraping, or touching the conductor, according to Ideal Industries Inc. Because of this problem, many manufacturers have turned to laser-based stripping technology; however, most laser wire strippers are massive in both size and cost. In an effort to offer affordable, compact laser-based wire stripping, Ideal Industries has introduced what it maintains is the world’s first benchtop wire stripper that employs CO2 laser light technology to complete a 360° cut.
“In the medical industry, it’s absolutely critical that you maintain the electronic qualities and integrity of the signal of the wire that you’re trying to strip,” stresses Peter Crichton, an Ideal applications engineer, precision wire processing. “If someone has a piece of equipment inside a body during an operation, the last thing you want to have is some sort of electronic failure due to a poor strip.”
Strip-related electronic failure is traced back to damaging the conductor. Most conductors in critical applications incorporate a stranded conductor, which
is composed of many miniature wires grouped together, explains Crichton. “One of the big things about stripping wire is if you take off one of the strands, you start to lose the electrical properties that you’re going to need, and it affects other things as far as temperature rise and signal integrity,” he adds.
Laser stripping technology, in contrast, uses light waves. The reflective properties of a CO2 laser enable it to cut through polymeric and polyolefin materials, but not metal. Instead, the laser light technology bounces off of the conductor with no impact.
This type of technology has been available for some time. But the WireMaster benchtop model, Crichton notes, represents the first time this laser-light technology has been available to perform a 360° cut from a substantially smaller unit—14.5 in. wide × 12 in. tall × 24 in. deep—with a smaller price point to match. It also offers the choice of straight longitudinal cuts or spiral cuts to facilitate jacket removal. The benchtop system can quickly vaporize insulation off of wires as small as 0.001 in. in a noncontact process.
Because of its precision processing capabilities, the product is suited for use in a range of medical applications, including electronic surgical instruments. “The medical industry gets into very small diameter wires,” Crichton says. “The smaller the wire, the more difficult it becomes to strip because you don’t have the column strength in it that you need for a mechanical stripper, and alignment with a mechanical stripper becomes very difficult. By using a laser, it takes a lot of that out of it.
Copyright ©2009 Medical Product Manufacturing News
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