Medical Device Business Magazine-Medical Device News and Articles | Massive Equipment
Author: Matthew Nipper, Director of Laser Processing Technology Engineering, Spectrum Plastics Group
Laser micromachining is one of the highest precision processes used in medical device manufacturing. In fact, lasers may be the only option for producing fine features, especially in thin or sensitive materials. The laser can quickly cut micron-level features with sub-micron tolerances without defects, thereby reducing or eliminating secondary finishing processes, shortening cycle time and speeding time to market. Due to these advantages, lasers are quickly becoming the preferred method for micro-machining micro and/or complex parts and products of medical equipment, almost any shape or pattern.
Medical device companies have collaborated with Spectrum Plastics Group to develop innovative product designs that require microscopic features that are best produced using laser processing, such as catheters, medical balloons, and equipment for neurovascular, cardiovascular, and diagnostic procedures. The width of features produced in polymers can be as small as 10 microns, with tolerances as small as 1-2 microns.
Polymers are usually the material of choice for medical devices. These materials have mechanical strength, chemical inertness and excellent insulating properties. Polymers can be designed to have specific physical and chemical properties to improve biocompatibility and performance, and can be extruded, injection molded, or additively manufactured. Almost any thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer material can be processed by high-precision laser processing, including polycarbonate, polyurethane, ABS, FEP, polyamide, polyimide, PEEK, PTFE, PMMA, polyester, nylon, and acrylic.
As products become smaller and more complex, our engineers must use their technical skills, material knowledge and experience to build processes that can create these tiny, high-precision features, thereby enhancing product functionality and ultimately improving Or save the patient's life. These capabilities include:
The laser can be programmed to ablate or "evaporate" material from the surface at the micrometer level. Ablation selectively removes the substrate layer or coating from the surface of the manufactured part, with little or no negative thermal or structural effects on surrounding materials.
Laser cutting is usually the only method that can produce the high-precision features required by these devices. Our laser system provides high-precision laser cutting with micron-level tolerances. We use a variety of materials to produce very small complex features as small as 0.0002 inches (5 microns) without thermal effects.
This adaptable, versatile and reliable micro-manufacturing process is widely used in all walks of life. We customize our laser manufacturing and laser post-processing to meet your unique drilling needs and optimize applications such as micro-holes, hole arrays, blind wells, and dedicated entrances. Micron-level holes can be laser-drilled with various patterns with the highest precision, without burrs or residual materials that can block the holes.
Laser wire stripping provides excellent precision and process control, and eliminates contact with the wire, allowing the handling of precise wire gauges. Our laser wire stripping system can strip wires up to 38 gauges, providing an opportunity to produce designs that cannot be achieved with traditional wire stripping methods. Our system can handle roll-to-roll and roll-to-roll cutting applications, and can be programmed to ablate insulation at any point on the wire, enabling high-precision mid-span removal.
Ultrafast lasers are very suitable for medical device manufacturing because of their versatility, precision and no heat or structural damage to the processed materials. With an average pulse width of 150 femtoseconds (15 billionths of a second of 1 second), there is almost no heat transfer beyond the cut size, making it a "cold" process, enabling the laser to process almost any material. Features as small as 0.0005 inches (13 microns) can be laser cut with high dimensional accuracy.
Spectrum Plastics Group acquires Laser Light Technologies
Spectrum is a global supplier of professional components, sub-components and full-service solutions for medical devices. It acquired Laser Light Technologies in May 2021, thereby expanding our precision manufacturing capabilities.
Laser Light Technologies' professional laser processing services and technologies are combined with Spectrum's extensive manufacturing and materials capabilities to provide vertically integrated services to improve product design and testing, product quality, and speed to market. E.g:
Unparalleled quality is what manufacturers want most—especially for mission-critical or health-critical products. High quality means consistent repeatability and reliability, durability, functionality, fewer defects, and most importantly, improved patient safety.
Spectrum is an ISO 9001:2015 and 13485:2016 certified company. We continuously monitor and adjust our compliance and verification processes to maintain an efficient quality management system with strict tolerances in the sub-micron range.
As medical device companies produce smaller and more complex products, laser processing technology will continue to drive innovation. It is important to work closely with mature partners who are skilled problem solvers and understand the deep functions of the laser system as early as possible in the design process to ensure the success of the project.
The acquisition of Laser Light Technologies enables Spectrum to provide our customers with a single-source solution-a huge added value that can improve communication and quality, shorten the supply chain, and accelerate time to market.
Visit the Spectrum at MDM West 2021, August 10-12, booth 2801.
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