11/18/2008

TRUMPF Medizin Systeme GmbH + Co. KG

Welding, Cutting and Marking in Medical Technology

The laser is the ideal tool for cutting, welding and marking medical instruments and implants. At the COMPAMED trade show in Düsseldorf, Trumpf will show its complete and innovative line of laser systems. With the laser workstation, TruLaser Station 5004 for manual and automated welding, as well as the laser marking systems TruMark Station 1000 and TruMark Station 7000, TRUMPF will demonstrate how versatile the laser is and how its flexibility can be applied in medical technology.

TruLaser Station 5004 for flexible production
The TruLaser Station 5004 laser workstation, with an integrated Nd:YAG solid state laser from the TruPulse series, is equipped with an electronic stereo microscope for the first time in laser processing. In contrast to systems with optical microscopes, the electronic microscope in the TruLaser Station 5004 is disconnected from the laser optic. This allows operators to adjust the microscope’s view to their ergonomic needs which means they no longer have to reposition themselves based on the size of the workpiece.

To increase precision, the laser beam performs all necessary movements while the workpiece stays still. The large workspace is adapted to flexible production needs in medical technology. For increased space requirements due to bulkier workpieces, an opening in the work plate can be used or the cover can be lifted. However while working, the operator must make sure that he and other persons are properly protected against the laser beam (protective glasses/protective clothing; laser class 4).

Laser marking systems for virtually all material
One significant advantage of laser marking is its proven biocompatibility. Therefore, the technique is especially qualified to produce durable markings on medical products such as implants or surgical instruments, ensuring their complete traceability.
The environmentally friendly marking process does not need any additives and is gentle on the materials because the process is contact-free, so there is no force applied to the workpiece.
The laser, which is simple to program, permits versatile marking options, including text, serial numbers, data matrix, bar codes, logos and drawings. With the laser’s high marking speeds, the highest precision, quality and reproducibility can be achieved, even on difficult-to-access areas. And, with the appropriate parameters and passivation, nothing can wear down the laser markings on surgical instruments – including high alkaline cleansing agents and high temperature sterilization.
Medical technology production benefits from the precision of the laser as a tool
The laser as a production tool works precisely, quickly and provides highly reproducible results in manufacturing surgical instruments and endoscopes as well as active and passive implants. Pulsed Nd:YAG solid state lasers have proven particularly reliable for this type of manufacturing. The benefits of the laser are obvious: The quality of laser-processed surfaces is flawless. As the laser does not leave behind any grooves, ridges or burrs, the hygienic properties of the products are considerably better. Laser-welded seams in implants have a pore-free, smooth surface that is as biocompatible as the basic material.

For example, lasers permit the opening of thin-walled tubes through the smallest radial cuts and form cuts on trocars and endoscope shafts. The desired cutting angle can be selected. The cuts are smooth, sharp-edged and are virtually burr-free. In a further production sequence, lasers weld inlets and connectors, as well as guide tubes on and into endoscopic instruments – always with an extremely limited and defined heat-affected zone.

The production process of pacemakers also illustrates the benefits of the laser as a tool in medical technology production. The titanium housing in pacemakers is sealed by overlapping spot welding with pulsed Nd:YAG lasers. Both 0.3 millimeter thick housing halves are inserted into the fixture of the rotary table laser machines and then welded to be gas tight. The melting heat is distributed from pulse to pulse along the housing. This means the heat impact to the sensitive electronics on the inside is minimal. Deep welding is performed at a depth of only about 0.25 millimeters – a weld depth that is precisely maintained. This prevents spatter from reaching the inside.

Welding and cutting using the TruPulse solid state laser
TRUMPF provides users the optimal tool: its pulsed Nd:YAG solid state lasers from the TruPulse Series. These lasers achieve high pulse outputs in short intervals. Together with the fast pulse output regulation and pulse forming, the heat input can be precisely controlled and adapted to the characteristic properties of the materials. With a heat-affected zone that is just a few micrometers in size, it is possible to handle temperature-sensitive materials such as high quality titanium alloys.

The TruPulse Series now includes twelve different models whose average power ranges from 20 watts (TruPulse 21) to more than 500 watts (TruPulse 556). In pulse outputs in the kilowatt range, beam qualities of 4 to 25 mm*mrad are possible. All TruPulse machines come with water cooling as a standard feature. Up to an output of 150 watts, the lasers are also available with air cooling as an option. One laser can power several machines with up to six laser light cables TRUMPF’s TelePresence Portal enables service technicians to access machines remotely and securely for maintenance purposes, regardless of location.