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Laser Processing Services and Equipment

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

SPOTLIGHT

Laser Processing Services and Equipment

Polymer-tube processing

A laser machining services provider has added two capabilities to its range of services involving the application of laser energy to polymer-based materials and coatings. In addition to fine-wire stripping, parylene ablation, Teflon marking, and polyimide skiving, the company can perform laser machining of polyether urethane tubing and laser marking of pigmented silicone tubing. In the former process, precise features are machined with virtually no residual discoloration; in the latter, dark, legible text that meets implantable-device standards is produced without compromising the tube wall. Avicenna Technology Inc., 1602 Benson Rd., Montevideo, MN 56265.


UV micromachining

Excimer, frequency-tripled, and frequency-quadrupled lasers are used by a job shop to perform UV laser micromachining services from R&D to high-volume production. Ultraviolet photons process components via cold ablation, achieving very small feature sizes and extremely clean edge quality with precisely controlled material removal. No postlaser cleaning is necessary in certain applications. The service provider also offers custom UV workstations. PhotoMachining Inc., 4 Industrial Dr., Pelham, NH 03076.


Laser welding and ablation

Laser welding of miniature coils is performed by a company specializing in the manufacture of implantable cardiac and neurostimulation leads. Dissimilar metals are commonly welded. Also available is laser ablation of medical-grade plastics, including hole drilling, stripping of coatings, cutting of woven materials, and ablation to depth. All services are carried out in an FDA-registered, ISO 9001–certified facility. Biomec Inc., 7452 W. 78th St., Minneapolis, MN 55439.


Six-axis micromachining

Advanced six-axis micromachining technology enables three-dimensional minimally invasive medical devices to be laser machined quickly and economically. Stage travel in the machine's x- and y-axes is 12 in., z-axis travel is 4 in., yaw is ±160°, pitch is 45°–90°, and roll is 360°. Resolution is 0.5 µm in x-y-z and 6 arc seconds for yaw, pitch, and roll. Accuracy is ±6 µm in the three coordinate axes and 3 arc minutes for yaw, pitch, and roll. Rotary repeatability is 12 arc seconds, while repeatability in x, y, and z is ±1 µm. Resonetics, 4 Bud Way, #21, Nashua, NH 03063.


Laser welding

A full-service laser applications company that offers contract manufacturing and R&D has added laser welding to its previously existing laser marking and micromachining capabilities. Its medical device microfabrication facility is now equipped with a 220-W Lasag pulsed Nd:YAG laser with 200- and 600-µm-fiber delivery. The welding system is fully integrated with a four-axis workstation for maximum device processing flexibility. Mound Laser & Photonics Center Inc., P.O. Box 223, Miamisburg, OH 45343.


Laser processing services

The laser-based advanced materials-processing capabilities of a company dedicated to serving medical device manufacturers have been extended by the addition of wire-cut electrical-discharge machining capacity. The firm's service potential is expanded now that the new EDM capability and conventional machining expertise can be combined with its core laser processes for cutting, welding, drilling, and engraving. Secondary finishing services also are provided. Its ISO 9002 certification means that the company can meet quality requirements from raw material supply to provision of complete assemblies. Accu-Met Laser Inc., 65 Western Industrial Dr., Cranston, RI 02921.


Metal component marking

A single-source supplier of metal device fabrication services can mark and engrave medical and surgical components and provide in-house laser welding, electropolishing, and passivation. A proprietary process has been developed for corrosion-resistant marking of 300-series and Type 17-4 and 17-7 stainless steels. The company also uses its own CNC linear and rotational motion systems to perform calibration banding and laser welding of cylindrical components. Northeast Laser & Electropolish, 246-C Main St., Monroe, CT 06468.


Turnkey workstation

A modular laser workstation can be used to mark, engrave, and cut a wide variety of materials used in medical device manufacturing. The turnkey Laser Mate II operates as a stand-alone system but can also be mounted over an existing cleanroom conveyor line. Additional system inputs and outputs accommodate the attachment of such peripheral devices as dials, conveyors, and indexing apparatus for high-volume production. The manufacturer has several hundred proven standard system configurations in its library. Windows-based software controls the consistent marking of more than 150 characters per second in text heights that can be smaller than 0.015 in. Online Inc., 3980 Albany St., McHenry, IL 60050.


Plastics-welding systems

Turnkey and production-line laser systems for plastics assembly operations provide high flexibility and precise, repeatable hermetic welding of thermoplastics and thermoelastomers, including dissimilar materials. Novolas systems employ the transmission welding process, in which laser light passes through a transparent top layer and is absorbed by a bottom layer, melting both components to create a weld. Weld widths as narrow as 0.004 in. are achievable. Contour, simultaneous, and mask systems offer a selection of weld patterns. Leister Technologies llc, 1253 Hamilton Pky., Itasca, IL 60143.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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