Category Archive: Laser Processing
When choosing the best service provider for your company, quality is one of the most important factors to consider. Becoming familiar with a company’s adherence to quality management systems and their work toward improvements in efficiency and productivity can provide insights into their business ideals, ethics, and goals.
Particularly important in the medical, aerospace, industrial, and microelectronic industries, adherence to various quality standards ensures optimum product performance. As these industries are increasingly expected to provide evidence of quality management processes, it’s vital to fully understand a potential laser processing partner’s quality standards and how they will affect your company.
Certifications to Look for When Choosing a Laser Shop
Certifications issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ensure quality and efficiency of products, services, and systems while helping businesses decrease their environmental impact and cut down on expenses using streamlined systems. Because businesses across the world are held to the same standards, ISO certification is also a major factor in advancing global trade.
Finding a laser processing shop that is ISO certified ensures that all laser cutting, welding, drilling, and finishing will be done as efficiently as possible. ISO 13485, specifically, sets standards for the design and production of medical device components — a field that necessitates the utmost attention to quality.
The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a U.S. government regulation that manages the import and export of defense-related products and services. Many major U.S. OEMs require suppliers to be ITAR compliant.
The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) — another U.S. government regulation — pertains to the import and export of most commercial products, many of which are “dual-use,” for both commercial and military functions. Similar to ITAR compliance requirements, the majority of U.S. OEMs mandate supplier compliance with EAR.
Originating in the European Union (EU), The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulation, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC or Lead-Free, regulates the use of certain hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products.
REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, is another EU regulation. This measure aims to protect both people and the environment from chemical risks while also promoting competition in the EU chemical industry.
Laserage’s Quality Certifications
At Laserage Technology Corporation, we pride ourselves on our adherence to quality standards and strong business ethics. In fact, our quality policy dictates that we “Focus on Excellence.” We’re registered to the medical device component manufacturing ISO 13485:2003 for laser processing and assembling of medical device components and subassemblies. We conduct both internal and external audits regularly to ensure compliance to the 13485 standard as well as ISO 9001:2008 for non-medical components.
Going one step further, our global code of conduct establishes compliance with all known and applicable laws and ensures that we adhere to the highest standards of business ethics.
Learn More About Laserage
To learn more about Laserage’s certifications and how we can partner with you to complete your next medical device component laser processing project, download our Quality Standards for Laser Technology Contract Manufacturers eGuide.
Laser technology, while groundbreaking, is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Cutting-edge light detection technology has contributed to archaeologists’ discovery of lost cities and TSA checkpoint attendants’ identification of dangerous objects. Therapeutic tools can now repair nerve damage and continue to enhance precision in surgery. Laser processing can truly be found everywhere.
The versatility of laser technology bodes well for industry forecasts. Lasers now appear in a variety of industries, including aerospace, microelectronics, industrial, and medical. In applications demanding extreme precision, laser welding, cutting, and drilling offer unparalleled capabilities for high strength materials.
With decades of proven success since their introduction in 1965, lasers have established themselves as a highly efficient, cost-effective method of material processing. As this technology continues to advance, lasers emerge as invaluable tools for diverse applications and industries.
Expanding the Technology Market
There are endless possibilities for laser technology applications, as well as new uses. In the travel industry, researchers have developed quantum cascade lasers to scan objects at airport security checkpoints in fractions of a second. In interstellar space travel, powerful laser beams stationed on Earth could help push spacecraft thousands of times faster than rockets during launch.
In the medical industry, laser technology helps ophthalmologists remove cataracts more precisely and effectively, and research is currently underway to determine the effectiveness of femtosecond laser technology in correcting astigmatism. Meanwhile, biotech companies are developing laser technology that targets and destroys cancer cells, acting as an alternative to chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
The industrial sector frequently uses lasers to cut plastic for automotive assemblies. The high efficiency and precision offered by laser cutting, drilling, and welding also helps to make cars lighter and more fuel-efficient. The microelectronics industry relies on this enhanced precision to cut ceramic substrates for hybrid circuits, chips, and microelectronic devices.
One of the most recent breakthroughs in laser technology even helped archaeologists discover a lost civilization in Cambodia. Lidar (light detection and ranging) is an airborne laser scanning technology that helped researchers “cut” through the jungle to map data points and pinpoint the exact remains of structures in great detail.
Want to Learn More?
These are just some of the many examples of how laser technology is expanding to meet the needs of every industry. For almost 40 years, Laserage Technology Corporation has been a leader in laser contract manufacturing across a variety of industries and applications. Our facilities are equipped with a team of 160 experienced employees operating over 60 laser systems, which are comprised of more than 90 lasers.
To learn more about the design integrity, advantages, and manufacturability of lasers, download our free eBook, “Design for Manufacturability: Maximizing the Advantages of Laser Cutting.”
Lasers are an incredibly versatile tool, especially in the aerospace industry. Though they are most commonly thought of as a cutting medium, they can actually perform a wide variety of functions for various applications.
Aerospace Capabilities of Laser Processing
One unique aerospace application for a non-cutting laser capability is hermetic laser sealing of electronic and optoelectronic packages.
Of the utmost importance for the proper functioning of planes, jets, and helicopters, electronic and optoelectronic packages are found throughout the electrical systems, critical and secondary alike, of aircraft. Packaging is used to protect delicate electronics from a wide range of potentially harmful elements, including:
- Physical and mechanical damage caused in flight or during maintenance
- Electrostatic discharge
- Sudden or extreme fluctuations in temperature
- Electric and static electric discharge
- Radio frequency noise
- Airborne contaminants
Laser hermetic sealing is a highly specialized form of laser welding, developed specifically for high sensitivity applications such as package sealing. At Laserage, all of our package hermetic sealing is performed in our inert environment weld chamber — the enclosed laser equipment allows us to achieve precision seals while maintaining unparalleled contamination prevention.
While package hermetic welding is an excellent example of the benefits of laser processing over traditional manual processing in the aerospace industry, it is far from the only beneficial laser capability. There are a large number of other laser processes that the aerospace industry can use to their advantage, including:
- General laser welding — Laser welding can be performed at higher temperatures than traditional welding and, thanks to its automated nature, produces highly consistent welds
- Laser coating — Many powdered metal coatings for aircraft and satellite components can be laser fused, allowing for better coatings and improved component design adaptability
- Laser drilling — Compared to standard mechanical drilling, laser drilling offers lower costs, shorter processing time, and greatly expanded capabilities, include high precision and complex geometries.
Benefits of Laser Processing
Laser processing offers many benefits to the aerospace industry: flexibility in design and manufacturing, fabrication of lighter components, reduced costs, and more.
Laserage, an ISO 13485 and ISO 9001 certified company, is a recognized leader and innovator in the laser processing industry. Our two facilities — located in Waukegan, Illinois and Milpitas, California — use fiber, disk, Femto, Nd:YAG, and custom designed C02 lasers offer a vast array of laser processing services for small, medium, and high volume jobs.
To learn more about the advantages that laser processing can offer the aerospace industry, specifically processes such as laser welding, download our latest eBook: A Guide to Laser Welding.
The demand for advanced technology and, specifically, the use of lasers in new applications, has been quickly growing across the defense and security, industrial, and medical industries. According to the research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global laser technology market is set to become a $17 billion industry by 2020.
The combination of downward pressure on manufacturing costs, emerging innovative applications, and technological advancements in each of these three markets is a driving force behind this revolution. The laser systems industry is already beginning to see huge growth opportunities that are sure to continue in the near future.
Defense and Security
There has been an increased demand for laser system technology in the defense and security industries; more military applications now require laser weapons, and technology is shifting from lamp-pumped range finders to diode-pumped solutions.
In terms of quantity, laser range finders are the highest demand application in the defense industry. Compared to conventional weapons, high-power lasers have the ability to reduce cost per shot, and new classes of lasers will continue opening more opportunities for additional growth within the industry.
In the industrial sector, we are seeing growth in both macro and micro machining applications, such as direct diode and fiber laser-based cutting. Lasers can reduce costs as well as provide more benefits, capabilities, and new manufacturing processes than traditional non-laser material processing techniques.
Continued laser price reductions will help with the reliability and lifespan of equipment in the industrial market. Overall, improved machined part quality and cost will also create more opportunities in the industrial manufacturing sector.
Lasers are steadily replacing non-laser technologies in the medical industry because they produce stronger results for patient outcomes, such as the popular use of femtosecond lasers in LASIK eye surgery. When a laser’s wavelength is matched with human tissue absorption, it can result in less bleeding and faster healing.
An increasing number of medical applications — from disease diagnosis and dentistry, to cosmetic procedures and tattoo removal — would benefit from the advancement of laser processing technology. Improved laser technology and resulting patient successes create a heightened demand for these procedures.
Laser Technology Advancements
Lasers have been used in National Lab particle accelerators for many years. However, recent technological advancements have broadened laser capabilities to include particle expansion, which can be used in operational systems ranging from no-risk, nonintrusive beam diagnostics to elaborate applications with high technical readiness levels, such as photo injectors providing high brightness electron beams.
Another recent and impactful development in the attempt to create smaller lasers has been one that works off room temperature and the light from telecommunications. These lasers, one-fifteenth the size of the light they produce, operate more efficiently by carrying large amounts of data at a much faster rate than semiconductor electronics.
Laserage Technology Corporation follows and adapts to changing industry demands as new technologies continue to emerge. Laser size, energy efficiency, and output stability are all factors that customers cannot necessarily see, but can greatly affect cost and equipment consistency. At Laserage, we recognize the importance of these shifting trends and have tailored our services to maximize processing flexibility with these laser capabilities in mind.
For more information about our full-service laser technology solutions, please visit our Resource Library.
At Laserage, we maintain the experience and expertise required to manufacture components at the medical device industry’s highest levels of precision and quality. Through laser welding, laser cutting, shape setting, electropolishing, micro-abrasive blasting, annealing, and other high-tech processes, we can achieve the precision tolerances needed for medical components for the orthopedic industry.
Lasers Processes for Medical Components
Precision manufacturing technology has evolved over the years to adapt to the demands of the medical industry. The technology has grown to be more durable and efficient in producing a wider range of components that require tight tolerances. Laser processes can be employed to facilitate fabricating both implantable and non-implantable medical components such as bone screws, hip reamers, stents, vertebral spacers, and more. Certain processes provide a wealth of advantages, with options that include:
- Laser Welding — A fast, effective, and reliable process, laser welding is essential in manufacturing products for the orthopedics industry. It can handle a complete range of geometries at higher levels of accuracy than many other competing techniques. Importantly, lasers allow for the welding of very small components, making it ideal for the manufacturing of small, often delicate, orthopedic implants.
- Laser Cutting — The laser cutting process is instrumental in manufacturing components with the most precise dimensions, including a full array of implantable medical devices. The process is also essential for machining all types of medical tubes.
The Best Materials for Medical Products
Our years of experience with manufacturing medical devices allows us to properly utilize materials that are essential in medical device fabrication. Some of these include:
- Nickel Titanium — Also known as Nitinol, this metal is commonly available in tube, rod, or sheet form. Because of its super elasticity and shape-memory, nitinol is used for a number of orthopedic components, including components used for bone remodeling, promoting bone ingrowth, reduction of stress shielding in bone, and more.
- Titanium — A staple of the medical industry, titanium provides unparalleled corrosion resistance and a low modulus of elasticity. These properties make it particularly suited for orthopedic implants — joint replacements, fracture fixation plates, screws and intramedullary rods, and spinal fusion instruments are all commonly made of titanium.
Aside for Nitinol and titanium, we also work with a complete variety of other medical grade materials, including stainless steel, cobalt chrome and a wide variety of plastic polymers.
In addition to manufacturing orthopedic components, we also provide the finishing options needed to fulfill the orthopedic industry’s strict standards and tolerance requirements. Among the finishing options we provide are electro-polishing, microblasting, and more.
Laser Processing with Laserage
To best serve our customers nationally and globally, Laserage maintains two cutting-edge, ISO 13485 certified laser processing facilities in the US, one in the Midwest and another on the West Coast. Each of the facilities also perform value-added services such as laser marking management to support our precision laser processes.
To learn more about the advantages of working with laser processing for orthopedic components, download our ebook, Design for Manufacturability: Maximizing the Advantages of Laser Cutting, for free today.
Femtosecond laser processing offers several other benefits compared to conventional laser processing technologies. Here are the top three reasons to consider femtosecond laser processing:
1. Minimal Surface Debris
Conventional laser machining can frequently produce droplets of molten metal around worked edges. As the machining process continues, debris (also called swarf) can accumulate on the work piece, which can result in heavy contamination that is difficult to remove.
Using an ultrafast femtosecond laser produces minimal amounts of debris; the residual debris takes the form of a fine dust, which does not carry heat, is not bound to the surface, and is, therefore, easier to remove.
2. No Heat Damage
Ultrashort noncontact femtosecond laser pulses have a lower energy impact and reduce the amount of thermal damage in worked pieces. Unlike lasers with longer pulse widths, they can be used to produce long channels with high aspect ratios and little residual damage or stress in the material.
Femtosecond lasers exhibit two ablation phases: a gentle and a strong ablation phase. The gentle phase results in controlled melting and vaporization. The strong phase can be used to ablate long, narrow channels with high aspect ratios.
Overall, femtosecond lasers produce high-quality cuts without damaging entrance or exit surfaces and without adding stress to the machined part.
3. Little to No Post-Processing Needed
Femtosecond laser technology uses short pulses that leave no thermal fingerprint. Worked pieces require minimal post-processing and can be more finely detailed because of the smaller beam size. This is particularly useful for medical devices like catheters, heart valves, and stents.
Fiber lasers can cut precisely, but parts require lengthy post-processing operations, which add to project costs and can lead to damaged parts. Femtosecond lasers use a cold ablation process that is superior in quality and precision to the melt-ejection process of fiber lasers.
How Laserage Can Help
Laserage is equipped with ultra-fast femtosecond lasers for all your precision machining needs. Our lasers produce no surface debris, heat damage, or cracking, which saves post-processing time and reduces costs.
Contact us today to learn more about this innovative technology. You can also learn more about our other laser capabilities, including laser drilling and laser welding.
The medical device industry is constantly changing due to new technologies and shifting market demands. Often, the industry changes at such a fast rate that several medical device manufacturers have difficulty keeping up. By the time a company gets a device approved and into production, one of their competitors has already seized the moment and built a similar product.
Ideally, your company’s goal should be to get their product to market in the shortest time possible—it’s also important to consider other vital factors, such as materials, industry standards, and manufacturing processes.
Among medical device designers and engineers, one of the biggest questions is “what does it take to turn an idea into a profitable and valuable product?” At Laserage, our team has over 35 years of experience providing laser processing services to various manufacturers; we invite you to learn more with our latest eBook titled Developing Quality Medical Devices with Precision Laser Processing.
Let’s say you have an interesting idea for a medical device—a product that might be able to fulfill diverse customer needs in the marketplace. In order to see your idea through to production, there are many steps that need to be followed.
For example, companies frequently conduct market research and concept testing prior to investing in prototyping; these steps provide medical device designers and engineers with critical data, such as recognizing potential customers and understanding if the product is actually achievable.
Finalizing a Design
Once a workable design is agreed upon, a prototype is made for testing and marketing purposes. Thanks to stunning advancements in laser technology, prototypes are no longer as cost-prohibitive. In fact, many companies manufacture a variety of prototypes to showcase their capabilities. Prototypes also enable designers to move forward with trials and testing sooner than in previous years.
From initial design, to proper material selection, and obtaining FDA certification, designers have a lot to consider throughout the entire development process. However, the rewards can be worthwhile if you can make the leap from approved design to market production as soon as possible.
With Laserage’s assistance, you’ll be able to streamline the product development process and create a truly remarkable product.
Download our new eBook, Developing Quality Medical Devices with Precision Laser Processing, for more information on taking your product to the next level. You can also contact us with any questions.
Laserage California recently relocated to Milpitas, CA. The new facility gives us added process capabilities in the region and moves Laserage California closer to Venta Medical, Inc. (a Laserage subsidiary focused on medical device contract manufacturing). In fact, the new facility is right next door to Venta Medical’s 16,000 sq. ft. facility and adds an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of process and manufacturing space.
Milpitas is located within Silicon Valley, at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay. The city has a larger percentage of residents employed in the computer and electronic products industry than any other US city. It is home to a number of leading companies such as Cisco Systems, KLA Tencor, and Sandisk. This location is therefore ideal for expanding our microelectronics and medical component offerings.
More Space, More Efficient Services
The new location provides Laserage more room to work with: With the added space, we have been able to redesign the floor plan so that the machining processes can be carried out more efficiently. This new layout allows us to streamline the production of all our components from start to finish.
The larger facility also gives us room for more equipment and inspection space, which allows for added production capacity. Continuing in the spirit of our Quality Motto — “Focus on Excellence” — we are now able to couple our unmatched laser cutting competencies with industry-leading production speed and quality.
We have always pursued a vision of being recognized as the largest, highest quality, best valued, and most responsive full-service laser processing company in the world. Our new facility is a small but important step toward realizing this vision. Our fleet of more than 60 laser systems and our team of 160 employees now have the ability to work more effectively and efficiently. For Laserage, this move is all about offering industry-leading services to our clients.
Open Door Philosophy
We hosted an open house back in May 2015. The event was a success – it gave guests the chance to walk through the shop and experience first-hand the process of taking raw materials and turning them into useful components.
At Laserage, we have always had an open door philosophy. You can reach out to learn more, and if you would ever like to tour our facility, give us a call to setup a time and come visit us!
The use of laser processing has significantly improved the production and quality of modern medical devices. Manufacturers are constantly pressured to keep pace with newer medical regulations and compliance standards—lasers help relieve that pressure by delivering accurate, dependable components & assemblies in a timely manner.
Laser processing provides the high-level precision and attention to detail needed to produce intricate components—this is vitally important when creating devices intended for patient care.
Types of Laser Processing
Medical component and device manufacturers utilize various methods of laser processing:
- Laser Welding delivers a focused pulse of light on a narrow surface joint between components that absorbs and utilizes the light energy, allowing it to fuse and form a strong (and clean) bond. This method minimizes thermal distortion, making it an ideal process when bonding some dissimilar metals or using heat-sensitive assemblies. Laser welding creates small, efficient welds that keep medical assemblies neat, trim and strong.
- Laser Cutting involves the use of an intense light beam capable of heating, melting, vaporizing or ablating different materials. This process, known for its superior accuracy, leaves a burr-free edge with a high-quality surface finish. This method’s precision gives manufacturers greater freedom to create intricate patterns and shapes while preserving tight dimensional tolerances. Laser cutting has little or no tooling requirements, which is helpful for prototyping.
- Laser Drilling uses repeatedly pulsing laser energy to slowly vaporize uniform holes in the material. This method can create precision holes with diameters as small as of 0.0005” in materials such as stainless steel, nickel, titanium, and rubber. Laser drilling can create holes either individually or in specific patterns.
- Laser Marking is used to engrave traceability, graphical, and product identification data into medical tools and devices. The marks created by this method are resistant to corrosion and repeated sterilization processes (like centrifuging and autoclaving), making it a natural choice for engraving.
Modern medical technology has come to rely on lasers for high-performance solutions to complex problems. Laser processing has helped design engineers and it continues to further innovation in the medical industry.
At Laserage Technology Corporation, we have provided industry-leading precision laser contract manufacturing for over 35 years. We strive to promote the benefits precision laser processing can deliver to medical device and equipment applications.
Download our free Developing Quality Medical Devices with Precision Laser Processing eBook to learn more about the highly advanced methods we utilize.
Please feel free to contact us with questions about laser processing or other services we offer.
In the medical industry, lasers have enabled manufacturers to reach new heights of quality in devices that must deliver accurate, consistent and timely results for patients. First introduced in 1965, lasers today are used in a number of industrial applications, and are known to produce exceptionally precise results. Thanks to laser processing technology, modern medical equipment is more advanced and powerful than ever. The four main types of laser processing are cutting, welding, drilling and marking.
Laser cutting works by using an intense beam of light to heat, melt or vaporize materials with pinpoint accuracy. This process leaves behind a clean edge that’s free of distortion and high-quality. It allows manufacturers to create products with intricate shapes and extremely tight tolerances. Stents are one such product. A stent is a small mesh tube that is placed in narrow or weak arteries to provide structural support and facilitate blood flow. Laser technology can form high-quality stents with features as small as 0.002 inches.
Laser welding is also an important process in medical device manufacturing. It works by delivering a focused stream of light on a surface, vaporizing it and allowing it to fuse together. The resulting weld is not only strong, but also visibly clean and appealing. The process is especially ideal for heat-sensitive assemblies because it minimizes thermal distortion. Some examples of medical devices with laser welded components include pacemakers, surgical tools, catheter tubing and ultra-fine wires.
Laser drilling enables manufacturers to create clean and uniform holes. The holes are created through pulses of focused laser energy, which gradually vaporizes the material. In the medical industry, laser drilling is used to create precise holes in liquid and gas-flow delivery devices. Precision is especially important in this application because the patients must be able to receive drugs to a specific target area only. Other medical products with laser drilled features include angioplasty balloons, flexible tubing and filtering devices.
Lastly, laser marking facilitates traceability for medical devices. Laser markers engrave specific graphical information and traceability data on medical products such as surgical instruments. Laser marking is preferred in these medical applications because it results in etchings that are flat. The flat markings are less likely to harbor harmful bacteria, or create areas vulnerable to corrosion after repeated sterilization processes.
The medical industry relies on technologically complex and advanced equipment to deliver the best care to patients. Laser technology has advanced to meet the growing demands of an industry where high quality, performance and precision are critical to success. At Laserage Technology Corporation®, we can meet the challenges of laser processing for a highly competitive and advanced industry. To learn more about laser processing for medical devices, download a copy of our eBook today.