Laser welding is the light touch solution for medical components

There are an increasing number of medical sector applications where metal components and devices require joining, and laser welding is now well established as the process of choice for many manufacturers, as the experts at TLM Laser explain.

The medical sector demands the highest levels of quality, consistency, and traceability in every aspect of its day-to-day operation. These same stringent standards also apply to the manufacturing processes used to produce the medical devices, implants, and instruments required as part of patient treatment programmes. As one might imagine, achieving these rigorous specifications requires state of the art technologies capable of performing precision processes consistently with the highest levels of quality.

The power, flexibility, precision, and performance of the laser are the key attributes which have been instrumental in the adoption of the technology in a wide range of medical sector related applications. Lasers are capable of precisely joining individual items to create a structural bond, or to generate a hermetic seal where required to avoid leakage or ingress, and even extremely small parts can be welded with high levels of precision.

The ability to precisely control laser energy makes it possible to weld metals which have high melt temperatures or high thermal conductivity. In addition, materials that are otherwise difficult or impossible to weld by other means, can often be successfully joined using a laser.

As the UK and Ireland distributor for Alpha Laser, Bromsgrove based TLM Laser has a comprehensive range of laser welding technologies available, as company director Andy Toms explains: “With a choice of both fibre lasers and Nd:YAG lasers available, we are able to recommend the best solution to any specific laser welding application on medical sector related parts. Lasers deliver pinpoint energy input, resulting in less heat, which prevents distortion of the components being joined. The process also provides a smooth, oxide-free surface and a slim seam on butt weld joints, overlap welds, or fillet welds. Another benefit is that preheating of the material is usually not required.”

Such has been the success and subsequent growth of the laser welding process within the sector, Alpha Laser has launched the new AL Q laser welding system. This has been developed for the high specification, high quality production environments found within the medical sector. This Class 1 closed laser system is available with a choice of 450W or 600W fibre lasers, with either water- or air-cooled modules available.

The system includes an electrically operated door with a laser safe window, and the system has been designed for ergonomic operation whilst seated. In addition to the standard 3 axis operation (X-Y-Z) an optional tiltable rotation unit is available. This can either be controlled manually via a joystick, semi-automatically or in fully automatic mode.

When welding with a laser, the beam is focused on a 0.2 to 2 mm small spot by the focusing optics. The energy input at the focal point is very high, which causes the material surface to melt quickly. Depending on the welding requirements, the joint can be produced with or without different filler metals (wire). A further benefit of the laser is the ability to operate in different modes. Using the pulsed mode principle, the melt pool cools during the pulse pauses, resulting in shallower penetration, less distortion and overall lower energy input into the material, which is especially important on thin components.

Alternatively, when welding in CW mode, a continuous melt pool is the result. This achieves deeper weld penetration using high energy densities, a high average power with a small focus diameter. The CW thermal conduction welding process is also used for material build-up and joint welding of crack-prone base materials, as the process, depending upon the material being joined, enables very homogeneous weld material without micro-cracks.

Toms concludes: “Laser welding systems have become indispensable production tools for the manufacture of medical technology components, which are generally produced from titanium or other types of stainless steels. Whether being used for joining implant systems, or the manufacture of endoscopes or surgical instruments, all products which must meet the highest quality standards and feature flawless surfaces, the advantages of laser welding are apparent everywhere.”

More products
3 days ago
RS wins ‘Best Company for Sustainability Reporting’ in the industrial sector
RS Group has won the award for ‘Best Company for Sustainability Reporting’ in the industrial sector at the Corporate ESG Awards 2023.
1 week ago
Southco launches a new wireless access system with the Keypaniontm app
Southco has launched a new wireless access system featuring the Keypanion app, a revolutionary smart access app that lets users wirelessly actuate latches from their smartphones.
2 weeks ago
Food Manufacturing Live – May 1st 2024 – National Motorcycle Museum
Specialist engineering publisher and exhibition organiser The Engineering Network (TEN) has just announced an all-new event for suppliers of engineering solutions to the food and drink manufacturing sector, Food Manufacturing Live.
2 weeks ago
Essentra’s Kidlington site switches to 100% recyclable packaging
Essentra Components has completed the switch within its UK manufacturing and distribution centre in Kidlington to using paper-based packaging. The new packaging contains recycled content and is widely recyclable after use, supporting both its own and its customers’ ambitions for a more sustainable future.
3 weeks ago
Intertronics launches adhesive and dispensing technology seminars
In a bid to help grow the adhesives, dispensing, and curing technology knowledge base of British manufacturing companies, Intertonics is offering seminars for customers under the adhere academy brand.
3 weeks ago
Coloured super glue enables automated QA in optical component assembly
A manufacturer of optical components was faced with an assembly challenge, needing an adhesive not only that could be applied around the complete diameter of the part, but one which also contained a pigment such that the application of the adhesive could be checked by camera before the next stage of the process. For a solution, the company turned to Advanced Adhesives.
1 month ago
Intertronics becomes UK distributor of Scigrip adhesives
Adhesives supplier Intertronics has partnered with Scigrip to distribute its methyl methacrylate structural adhesives (MMAs) in the UK.
1 month ago
SD Products now official UK distributor for King Slide
SD Products has announced an exciting new partnership with King Slide, Taiwan’s leading furniture hardware manufacturer. With over 30 years of experience in their industry sector King Slide has earned a strong reputation and trust among leading tech companies as well as high-end home furniture and appliance brands.
1 month ago
RS celebrates Formula Student team successes at milestone event
RS is celebrating the award-winning success of three of the teams it supported at the recent UK Formula Student 25-year milestone event. Sixty-one teams subjected their single-seat race car prototypes to rigorous testing at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire, in the annual challenge organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
1 month ago
Rolec enclosures get special mention in German Innovation Awards
Rolec’s aluDOOR industrial electronic enclosures have gained a Special Mention in the German Innovation Awards. Judges praised the “high added value for users”.

Login / Sign up