Laser cutting is a key technology that enables the manufacturing of miniature components at micron tolerances, particularly stents and surgical tools. STI uses the high-energy pulses of Nd:YAG and Fiber lasers to accurately cut intricate product designs from tubular and flat materials. STI’s experienced laser cutting technicians maintain a fast and tension-free cutting process working with state-of-the-art laser cutting machines, capable of both dry and wet laser cutting, combined with CNC motion systems. CAD/CAM software directs the appropriate 2, 3 or 4-axes laser cutting process.
Advantages of high-intensity, pulsed, laser cutting
- Maintaining tight tolerance, micron level precision, while accurately cutting complex geometric contours of different thickness.
- Cutting a smooth and un-oxidized edge with little dross reduces finishing steps thereby improving overall production throughput.
- High peak power vaporizes part of the material while gas pressure pushes liquefied material out, resulting in minimal heat affected zone (HAZ) and thermal damage, e.g.: burrs, slag, and recast.
- Precise control over heat input by adjusting the beam diameter (cutting width) and pulse parameters (voltage, pulse width, frequency).
Complex geometry cutting
STI uses Nd:YAG laser drilling technology to drill small size holes with a minimal diameter of 20 microns (0.0008″) and positional tolerance of ± 0.005 mm in metallic and ceramic materials.
The ability to control the peak power and temporal profile of individual pulses, coupled with focus and angle adjustment of the laser beam, determine the diameter and shape of the hole.
Laser drilling has distinct advantages for laser machining including: drilling in difficult to reach areas, fast production rates, no tool wear and drilling a wide variety of hole sizes, shapes, and angles.
19.42μm hole diameter
Laser sheet cutting
Typical applications for laser sheet cutting are miniature scalpels for eye surgery, plates, filters, optic masks, discs, rings, miniature cog wheels, vacuum nozzles, etc.
STI developed special laser cutting techniques for cutting thin metal foils and very fine shims or spacers of 0.005-0.05 mm thickness used for electro-optic calibration. These techniques enable STI to handle and laser cut thin foils without deforming their shape and without thermally affecting them.
Complex geometry cutting
Laser tube cutting
STI uses both Fiber and Nd:YAG laser systems for cutting complete intricate shapes out of tubes. The 15 micron cutting kerf of the fiber laser is mainly used for cutting neurovascular stents made of Nitinol where the tube OD starts from 0.5mm. Stent cutting and heart valve frame laser machining require both rotary control and linear motion control. In special cases, STI uses its 4-axes laser cutting capabilities for cutting complex geometries of medical devices and non-medical applications.
STI applies laser tube cutting technology for medical device manufacturing of: balloon expandable and self-expanding stents, heart-valves,orthopedic implants, guidewires, catheters, hypotubes, cannulae, needles, endoscopic and arthroscopic surgical tools.