25 September 2007

Rofin-Baasel news - Micro-Machining Comes of Age

Rofin-Baasel have been perfecting the fine cutting of micro-tubes, which are used for the production of stents and medical implants, for a period of 10 years. The result of this process of ongoing development is StarCut Tube (Pic.1), a high precision laser cutting system which is compact, self contained and up to 10 times faster than the first generation systems.

Performance & Flexibility

The significant increase in performance and capability of this latest generation of StarCut Tube can be attributed to a state of the art motion system. Linear motor technology together with directly driven rotary axes provide enhanced speed and accuracy. The addition of a sophisticated laser control system allows the laser cutting parameters to be optimised to match the travel speed of the various axes enabling complex geometries including cutting small radii to be easily achieved.

Today, StarCut Tube can process tubes with diameters of less than 200 microns with kerf widths of less than 15 microns. Radial and non-radial cutting angles can be achieved without any damage to the opposite wall thus making it possible to open tubes laterally or to cut hollow needle points. New and unusual cutting geometries are also possible for example, spiral cuts or interlinked structures in just one process and operation (e.g. for flexible instruments). The performance characteristics of the system are demonstrated by its ability to produce a coronary stent which is 8.0mm in length in less than 60 seconds. Accuracies of only a few microns can be achieved repeatably thanks to the stability of the granite mounting platform.

Choice of Lasers

StarCut Tube is available with a choice of laser sources including the proven StarCut 18 which has a power range of 7 to 25 Watt and achieves kerf widths of 18-20 microns. Additional laser options include the new StarCut 12fm, a 12 Watt fundamental mode laser and the StarCut Tube Fibre which has 20Watt maximum power. These lasers offer kerf widths of less than 15 microns.

Practical and Expandable Solution

With all of the main elements such as the laser source, motion stages, control system and tube loading mechanisms incorporated within a stand-alone system, StarCut Tube has been designed to be a practical and ergonomic solution for Micro-Machining. The cutting process can be viewed using a high quality stereo microscope or an optional camera.

The system is also capable of being enhanced with options for fluid flushing inside of the tube and the 4 axis version allows non- radial cutting operations to be performed. Flat sheet components can also be processed within the system using the optional cutting support box.

Contact: Dave McLellan

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