Category Archive: Laser Technology

How to Find the Right Laser Processing Partner

To ensure that your medical device manufacturing projects are accomplished as efficiently and quickly as possible, it’s important to find the right laser processing partner.

Choosing the right partner for your specific needs will save time, reduce costs, conserve resources, and give you confidence that your project will be completed smoothly through a reliable partnership.

The Efficiency of Laser Manufacturing

Medical laser cutting creates extremely precise cuts at tight tolerances. Because laser cutting systems produce low heat levels, they reduce the risk of material warping and require less energy input compared to standard machinery. There is also no contact between the workpiece and the cutting apparatus, which eliminates the risk of material contamination when working with plastic, metal, or wood.

Precision laser drilling services are especially ideal for applications that require small holes with large depth-to-diameter ratios. The drilling process is repeatable and very fast, making it well-suited to the high-production volumes associated with fully automated or semi-automated tooling applications, and can be used with both hard and soft materials.

Laser welding, meanwhile, allows for the fabrication of the intricate and thin-walled components often required in medical devices. The welding process needs little joint preparation — sometimes none at all —saving time and money, especially with high production volumes. Because metal is fused within a very small area at high speeds and consistent welds, laser welding causes less workpiece distortion.

How to Find a Versatile Laser Shop

In order to get your projects completed efficiently, safely, and on-time, it’s essential that you find a laser shop that can handle your unique needs.

Before selecting a laser processing partner, get a clear overview of the technologies a company utilizes. Far-infrared (CO2), near-infrared (Nd:YAG, fiber, and disk), ultra-short pulse (femto), and UV equipment are common options, each of which is suited to different applications. CO2 lasers, for instance, are ideal for working non-metallic materials, while fiber lasers are best for metal engraving and metal marking through annealing.

Many materials can be laser processed, including stainless and steel alloys, titanium and nitinol, plastics, wood, ceramics, coated metals, acrylic, and bioabsorbable materials. Getting a clear view of your potential laser partner’s capabilities before moving forward will ensure a smooth, successful, and long-lasting working relationship.

Is Your Laser Processing Partner Reliable?

Medical-Parts-Cutting-5x7When choosing a laser partner, it’s important to consider their reliability. Look through portfolios of their previous work to get a better idea of their capabilities and ideals. If you’re not finding what you need on their website, request portfolios and additional case studies to get the information you need to make an informed decision.

Looking through their list of clients — or even asking to speak to some of them as a reference — will give you a clearer picture of their past projects and areas of expertise, their typical customers, and the materials with which they can work.

Learning about a laser shop’s commitment to quality and any certifications they may hold will also help you during this critical decision-making process.

Certifications to Look for When Choosing a Laser Shop

iso-13485-image-with-borderWhen choosing a laser shop to partner with, quality is of utmost importance. A potential partner should have a robust quality manual containing all of their certification information, their goals and ideals, and an outline of their business ethics.

For medical device laser processing, ISO 13845 is particularly important. This certification ensures that the design, production, installation, and servicing of medical devices is done in accordance with established safety and quality regulations. Laser shops committed to quality will also conduct regular external and internal audits to ensure ISO 13845 compliance.

RoHS compliance, which regulates the use of hazardous materials, and REACH, which protects people and the environment from harmful chemicals, should also be considered in your search for a laser processing partner.

To be sure of your partner’s commitment to quality, team up with a shop that has its own inspection capabilities and global code of conduct.

Consider Laserage for All of Your Laser Needs

For over 35 years, Laserage Technology Corporation has been at the forefront of laser manufacturing.

To meet our customers’ specific needs, we make use of several custom-designed laser systems, including far-infrared (CO2), near-infrared (Nd:YAG, fiber, and disk), UV, and ultra-short pulse (femto) equipment. We can handle a wide range of materials — titanium and nitinol, stainless steel and steel alloys, brass, plastics, and ceramics, to name a few — in the manufacture of medical device components such as stents, bone saws, delivery systems, and hones.

Laserage’s full-time quality personnel ensure that every job is completed in a safe, efficient, and timely manner. We’re not only registered to ISO 13485:2003 for medical device components, but also to ISO 9001:2008 for all other products and components. Our company is also in full compliance with REACH and RoHS.

To learn more about how we can help you accomplish your next project, download our eBook, “Design for Manufacturability: Maximizing the Advantages of Laser Cutting.”

download our design for laser cutting manufacturability ebook

Versatility in Lasers and How It’s Expanding the Technology Market

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

metal working. Laser cutting technology of flat sheet metal steel material processing with sparks. Authentic shooting in challenging conditions. Maybe little blurred.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.”


download our design for laser cutting manufacturability ebook

5 Growth Trends in Fiber Lasers

Laser technologies are managing to overcome a slowing economy due to the popularity of devices such as fiber lasers. Global sales for this market are expected to reach about $10.5 billion in 2016 and $14.67 billion by 2022.

fiber laserThe solid laser market is leading this tremendous growth because of their impressive and practical characteristics: cost-effectiveness, high efficiency, and easy maintenance. Unsurprisingly, the applications for fiber lasers are growing and may soon exceed welding, cutting, fine processing, marking, and engraving. Fiber lasers are largely used for cutting and welding purposes in the manufacturing, automotive, and electronics industries. Furthermore, the fiber laser industry will continue to grow thanks to five major fiber laser market trends:

  1. More Collaboration between Vendors

There has been greater collaboration among fiber laser vendors as they aspire to reach goals of business expansion and improve market share, all while producing stronger technology.

  1. Boost in Research and Development (R&D) Spending

Vendors are investing considerably more time and money in their R&D divisions to increase functionality of their technology and meet customer requirements, which continuously fluctuate. Augmenting allocations of R&D allows vendors to gain a competitive edge and expand their product portfolio.

  1. Eco-friendly Technology

Many companies are producing eco-friendly fiber lasers that offer lower CO2 emissions and better overall performance than other technologies. Reduced energy consumption and less waste are desirable for all applications.

  1. More Production Capacity

Due to the number of advantages fiber lasers offer, the global demand for these products is on the rise. Consequently, vendors are investing more to increase their production capacity and ensure their supply meets the growing demand.

  1. Technological Advancements

Technological advancements are central to the fiber laser industry in order to keep up with the latest technologies. The newest lasers provide substantial cost-, energy-, and space-saving opportunities to users, and will continue to become stronger and more powerful in time.

Laser Processing Capabilities

Laserage Technology Corporation supports the growing laser market with ISO 13485 quality system laser processing capabilities. Our two facilities are equipped with over 60 laser systems to complete projects and offer services such as ceramic substrate processing and precision metal welding.

As a recognized industry leader, Laserage offers various laser processing services for all jobs, no matter the size. If you are curious about adding the right contract manufacturer to your supply chain, download our Quality Standards Checklist.

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Fiber Laser Market Shows Continued Growth

Red laser on optical table in physics laboratoryBy improving ROI and enhancing manufacturing efficiency, laser technologies like fiber lasers and 3D printing systems are becoming increasingly popular. As a result, the laser industry is quickly overcoming a slowing global economy.

In fact, the laser market is expected to reach $14.67 billion by 2022, with global sales predicted to reach about $10.5 billion in 2016. Just last year, fiber lasers saw a 22 percent revenue growth, powered by significant revenue in the materials processing sector. Lasers for scientific and military markets are the third-largest revenue generators, followed by the medical and aesthetic fields.

Fiber Lasers’ Popularity

Recently, laser technology has seen major growth due to its high precision, flexibility, and productivity compared to other, more traditional approaches. The medical industry is expected to see the largest increase in laser use, based on the need for lasers in applications including vision correction, confocal microscopy, optogenetics, enhanced MRI, and dermatological treatment.

In particular, the solid laser market leads the industry growth, focusing specifically on fiber lasers and semiconductor lasers. The fiber laser sector saw 14 percent growth in 2014, with a 6 percent growth in industrial laser revenue. Experts predict that a new wave of fiber lasers, which are particularly cost-effective because of their high efficiency and low maintenance requirements, will further augment the micro-processing market.

For the first time, fiber lasers have become more popular than CO2 lasers in a number of industries, specifically the high-power macro-processing sector. Offering a number of advantages, the diverse range of industries for fiber laser applications includes:

  • Medical
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Oil and gas
  • Home goods

Laserage: Quality Laser Processing Capabilities

At Laserage, we are excited for the future of laser technologies and continue to support the growing laser market with our production services. As a leader in the laser processing industry, we utilize more than 90 lasers and are equipped with more than 60 laser systems to complete a diverse range of customer projects.

Our expertise encompasses ceramic substrate processing, precision tube processing, precision cutting metals and plastics, and precision metal welding. Our ISO 13485 & 9001 certified facilities are located in Waukegan, IL and Milpitas, CA.

Curious about how to add the right contract manufacturer to your supply chain? Learn more with our Quality Standards checklist.

Quality Standards Checklist Download

Growing Demand for Advanced Technology Drives the Laser Industry

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.

image 1The 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.

Industrial

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.

Medical

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.

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3 Benefits of Utilizing Femtosecond Laser Processing

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

laser-cutting 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.

download our design for laser cutting manufacturability ebook


Choosing The Right Laser Technology Contract Manufacturer

Manufacturing medical devices is an exacting science that leaves very little room for error. People’s lives are on the line, so every step of the process requires the utmost care and quality control.

In order to create durable and effective medical devices, most manufacturers rely on cutting-edge laser technology. As you might imagine, the process of choosing the perfect laser technology can be daunting and often confusing. At Laserage, we understand how difficult it can be, that is why we offer our customers a detailed checklist.  This checklist is titled “Choosing a Laser Technology Contract Manufacture for Your Medical Device” and is available on our website.

This practical checklist, takes you through ever step in finding the best laser technology contract manufacturer, so you can make an informed decision that just might mean the difference between success and failure.

These critical questions include:

  •          Do they have their own Quality Manual?
  •          Do they have ISO 13485 certification?
  •          Do they conduct internal and allow external audits?
  •          Do they perform process validation?
  •          Do they have their own inspection capabilities?
  •          Do they have export control compliance policy?
  •          Do they have a global code of conduct?
  •          Do they practice REACH compliance?
  •          Do they have a RoHS policy?
  •          Do they have a full-time Director of Quality?

We take your medical device project from R&D through pilot production, to volume production. As well, we are constantly making significant investments to keep our laser technology ahead of the latest innovations. That is why we feel especially proud to say that we can answer YES to all these critical questions. Laserage is a truly reliable and cutting-edge laser contract manufacturing partner.

If you want a copy of Laserage’s “Choosing a Laser Technology Contract Manufacture for Your Medical Device”, or want to learn how we can add value to your project, please visit our website or contact one of our customer service representatives today.