Proliferations of lasers in industrial manufacturing dated back into the early ‘60s but laser applications in the medical device manufacturing spans for a couple of decades. Device Manufacturing ranges from marking to advanced hydrophilic or hydrophobic applications with femto-second lasers.
Medical device manufacturing processes are ablation, marking, drilling, cutting, and welding, and common device materials are polymer, steels, titanium, nitinol, various alloys and transition metals. Most of the device materials are often difficult to form and process due to strength. Conventional fabrication, manufacturing, and assembly processes may not be able to meet the stringent device quality requirements.
Some of the key requirements of devices are precision, uncompromising quality, novel features, durability and efficacy.
Devices manufactured through laser processing:
Drug-delivery systems and implantable devices are the major portion of the medical devices that could be processed with lasers, a few of them are described below.
ICDs (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators) and leads
and other both thermally and strength sensitive device components
Though laser processes are very precise, device classification demands a very stringent requirement on process, technology and manufacturing systems, and in particular, validations of total manufacturing processes and systems. A continuous quality control and process diagnostics methods are implemented in all phases of manufacturing which may encompass verifying laser cut quality to weld-nugget pull.
Though lasers have made a significant contributions in the device manufacturing industries, and would continue to grow its manufacturing foot-print as one of the most reliable and versatile manufacturing tools as devices get smaller and become more multi-functional!
Dr. M. Nasim Uddin