Manufacturing Systems Today: Laser Processing

Laser ablation centers for surface texturing
Laser ablation processes offer economic, ecological, and design advantages compared with conventional etching operations, according to a system manufacturer. Capable of producing surface patterns and textures on metal and ceramic medical parts, the Laser 5Ax ablation center machines 2- and 3-D details from a high-quality digital image onto a variety of devices. Among its applications is the texturing of orthopedic implants in order to facilitate bone in-growth, for example. It features two optical and five mechanical axes as well as linear scales and rotary encoders to ensure accuracy. Additionally, the environmentally friendly system does not produce fluids, slurry, or chips.
GF Agie Charmilles
Lincolnshire, IL
www.gfac.com

Laser sintering system for high-performance polymers
A manufacturer has introduced to the market what it claims is the first laser sintering system that operates at up to 385ºC for processing high-performance polymers. Building on the company’s previous P 730 model, the EOSint P 800 e-manufacturing system features revised process chambers and a removable frame suited for high-temperature processing. It allows for the fabrication of parts with good performance characteristics while retaining the advantages of conventional laser sintering, according to the company. However, the company states that the material employed, temperatures used, and resulting product characteristics are higher than those associated with polyamides. Suited for fabricating complex geometries using high-performance polymers, the unit recently enabled the development of the first PEEK craniofacial test implants produced with laser sintering.
EOS
Novi, MI
www.eos.info

Laser welding workstation with process validation features
Capable of joystick-controlled deposit welding and high-precision CNC-controlled welding processes, a system is equipped with functions to support process validation for medical device manufacturing. The Select laser welding workstation allows for the observation of crucial welding parameters, including the yielding gas monitoring, to ensure process reliability, according to the system’s manufacturer. The company also can arrange for the realization and documentation of the installation and operational qualification for the system according to GMP standards for medical device manufacturing. Additional features of the x-y-z–axis system include a microweld option, a large color touch screen, first-pulse control, synchronized seam welding, programmable deposit welding, and integrated exhaust.
Rofin-Baasel Lasertech
Starnberg, Germany
www.rofin.com

Short-pulse laser systems for ‘heat-free’ processing
Optimized for applications in which cut quality and a minimal heat-affected zone are required, a company’s manufacturing systems employ short-pulse laser technology. Standard short-pulse platforms include a 12-ps pulse-length laser with wavelength outputs of 1064, 532, and 355 nm; access to any of these three wavelengths is automated and straightforward, according to the company. While the 1064 and 532 beam paths share the same reflective optics, refractive optics must be switched between wavelengths. The 365-nm line has its own beam path, however. Spot sizes on targets of less than 10 µm can be achieved for processing a variety of materials, including ceramics, plastics, and metals. Among the systems’ medical device manufacturing applications are the processing of conventional and bioabsorbable stents.
PhotoMachining Inc.
Pelham, NH
www.photomachining.com

Laser-based tube cutting, drilling, and welding unit
Employing fiber, pico, or femto laser technology, a compact tube-cutting system is optimized for stent fabrication. Able to perform cutting, drilling, and welding operations, the Multi Flexi Tube (MFT) model can machine tube diameters ranging from 0.2 to 30 mm and features a cutting length of 50 to 800 mm. A contour tolerance of ±1 µm is standard. The system can laser-cut a variety of materials, including stainless steel, nitinol, CrCo, tantalum, titanium, polymers, magnesium, ceramics, glass, composites, diamond, carbon fiber, platinum, gold, and silver.
Swiss Tec Technology
Chicago
www.swisstecag.com