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Laser System Produces Cut Widths Smaller than 20 m

Originally Published MPMN January/February 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Laser System Produces Cut Widths Smaller than 20 µm
The StarCut stent-cutting system does not rely on water to refract the laser beam, thus increasing efficiency and reducing material waste.

A CNC-controlled Class I stent-cutting system creates complex geometries from thin-walled 1–10-mm-diam steel tubing. The StarCut laser produces <20-µm cut widths with nearly dross-free edges and, because of its CNC system, attains higher throughput rates than competing equipment, according to Rofin Sinar Inc. (Plymouth, MI; www.rofin.com). The company, which introduced the machine to the U.S. market at MD&M Minneapolis, will showcase it at MD&M West 2002 in Anaheim, CA.

Because the system does not rely on water flowing through the tubing to prompt refraction, as is the case with conventional units, the StarCut is more efficient than other laser cutters, according to micro business unit manager Michael Nardozzi. Sophisticated control of laser parameters allows the unit to cut tubing diameters down to 0.5 µm free of inside wall damage without the use of an assist fluid. "Setup time for part-to-part production is reduced, less material waste is generated, and the process is amenable to automation," says Nardozzi. A single operator can run several machines, he adds.

A motorized precision rotation axis and positioning axes are combined with a pulsed Nd:YAG laser in the StarCut to ensure a precision and consistency that is not achievable by other techniques used to manufacture stents, such as photo-etching, according to Nardozzi. "Photoetching is a chemical process that requires a high degree of operator attention and that is more difficult to control," he says. Rofin Sinar stands firmly behind its claims, he adds. "We will produce the specified part before shipping the machine to the customer."

Norbert Sparrow

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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