LASER MACHINING CATHETER TUBING DELIVERS BOTH DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING ADVANTAGES
Montevideo, Minn. / 08 October 2010—
Non-contact tube machining via laser ablation satisfies both the demanding design requirements and robust manufacturing needs of
today's most advanced catheters. Many catheter designs require precise features such as holes, slots, recessed areas, and tapers.
These designs rely on tightly controlled manufacturing processes to transform tube extrusions into high performing conduits for
electrical transmission, for fluid delivery or aspiration, and for device deployment.
Laser ablation is the specific process of vaporizing material by matching the tube material's absorptive properties to the proper laser wavelength, and then applying this chosen wavelength to the material with the correct energy density and duration. When the process variables of power, pulse, focus, and dwell are properly set, laser energy breaks the material's molecular bonds and causes it to evaporate. True laser ablation does not rely on heat to melt or burn away material and as such laser ablation produces clean, precisely machined features with no heat effect to the attendant area.
Mechanical methods such as drilling, grinding, and blade skiving can also be used to achieve such features but may leave burrs at the feature's edge and may introduce undesired heat and stress to the catheter material. And contact machining methods that use drill bit or blade may be hindered by the presence of stainless steel braid in the catheter tube wall. However, laser ablation uses a wavelength that interacts only with the tube's polymer but not its metal. So it can machine features despite an imbedded braid. Furthermore, certain forms of laser energy can remove polymer and braid together if so required.
Laser energy is highly directional, meaning the photons of a laser beam are tightly grouped and travel in parallel. This characteristic allows for highly controlled presentation of the laser beam's energy to the tube material with a beam delivery system of fiber optics or lenses, masks, and mirrors. Because machining with laser energy does not involve contact tools, there are no tool life concerns.
The process characteristics of laser machining make it an ideal candidate for catheter manufacturing. Its non-contact approach avoids introducing undesired flaws - flaws which are common in mechanical machining. Laser machining allows for significant amounts of material to be removed both efficiently and precisely, creating a considerable advantage to manufacturers of catheter components.
Avicenna Technology, an innovative manufacturer primarily serving the medical device industry with Laser, Mechanical, and Organizational Energy services, celebrates ten years of serving as an outsourced-manufacturing resource to its valued customers. Avicenna uses Laser, Mechanical and Organizational Energy combined with sophisticated automation to prototype, plan, and manufacture products made from a wide range of materials. As an innovative manufacturer and solution provider, Avicenna bridges the technology-solution gap between customer ideas and commercialized products - products that change the way we live. For more information, visit us at www.avicennatech.com.