CNC LASER CUTTING MACHINE SERVICES
INTRICATE AND PRECISE, CNC LASER TUBE MACHINING FOR MEDICAL DEVICE COMPONENTS
For medical device components and implantables, our CNC laser tube cutting machines are capable of holding extremely tight tolerances. CNC laser tube machining is highly repeatable and suited for medium to high volume quantities.
CNC LASER TUBE MACHINING
One of Marshall’s core capabilities is CNC Laser Tube Machining, for medical hypo-tube and other small tube machining applications. Laser tube cutting machines excel in producing intricate features such as holes and slots in thin-walled tubing to produce small surgical instruments and various devices and components with tight tolerances. Marshall has years of experience assisting customers with a host of tubing components and assemblies to match their unique product requirements.
LASER TUBE MACHINING MATERIALS
Fiber laser tube cutting machines are compatible with a wide variety of materials, including 316 stainless, 17-7 stainless, L605, MP35N (cobalt chrome alloys), copper and brass to name a few. The small wavelength of fiber lasers allows these solutions to create a beam that can easily be absorbed by these reflective materials. Some laser tube cutting tools can even alter their beam’s width to process thinner vs. thicker materials, allowing different-sized materials to be processed on a single machine.
LASER TUBE MACHINING CAPABILITIES
Marshall’ laser tube machines can accommodate tube diameters ranging from .5 mm to 8 mm (.020″ to .315″). Maximum wall thickness is approximately .5 mm (.020″) with most materials. At Marshall, our laser tube cutting machines can generally hold tolerances of +/- .013 mm (+/- .0005″).
Supporting Capabilities for CNC Laser Tube Machining
At Marshall, we’re proud to support our medical customers with innovative manufacturing solutions across every step of their journey. Our team offers a range of additional services to improve quality, create shorter lead times and further reduce costs for our customers.
CNC Laser Welding
Many medical device components that begin their process in our CNC laser tube machining cell proceed to a secondary operation, such as a CNC laser welding process. In the welding process, the laser-cut tube can be assembled to another tube or component. In many cases, CNC laser welding is the preferred method of assembly because no new material is introduced into the process.
At its core, CNC laser welding creates an efficient and reliable method for joining multiple medical device components—including laser-cut tube parts. Together, these CNC-driven processes offer highly accurate and repeatable parts for a wealth of medical applications.
CNC 3D Bending
CNC 3D bending of finished laser machining is also a proficiency of Marshall’s. It’s common for us to bend a laser-cut tube component in both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional configurations – often orienting off of a laser-cut feature – resulting in that feature landing consistently in place within the 3D bend.
Together, our CNC 3D bending and laser tube cutting services provide remarkable flexibility and control for medical customers, producing cost savings, more consistent quality and faster prototypes in the process.
What is Laser Tube Machining?
Laser tube cutting is a process in which a laser beam is focused on the outside surface of a metal tube to perform a cutting operation. The tube is fed in various patterns beneath the focused laser beam, where the tube wall is melted through. In medical applications with smaller tube diameters, the laser’s beam width is approximately .10 mm (.004”). Our machines are equipped with fiber lasers.
In the case of most laser machines, the laser is stationary and aimed directly toward the center of the tube. The tube that is being cut is fed through a stationary guide bushing—a “slip-fit” mechanism which stabilizes the tube while keeping it aligned and at a proper distance under the focused laser beam. Behind the guide bushing, the tube is held firmly by a programmable 360-degree indexing collet. This device can rotate the tube and has the ability to simultaneously push and pull the tube axially through the guide bushing. The CNC controller delivers the programmed instructions to these mechanisms, which cut out the desired shapes and configurations from the tube.
Details of Laser Tube Cutting
Laser Tube Machining Video
Additional Details of Laser Tube Cutting Process
Photo of finished “laser cut” part from above examples
2+2 Axis Diagram: When Y-Axis is utilized and the tube is not rotated, the laser beam cuts an off-center rectangle through the wall of a tube—and a vertical cut is produced on the longitudinal edge of the cut.
3 Axis Diagram: When there isn’t an active Y-Axis and the tube is rotated—and the laser beam is directed towards the center of the part when cutting a rectangle through the wall of a tube—a bevel (trapezoid) is produced on the longitudinal edge of the cut.
2 + 2 AXIS LASER CUTTING
Marshall’s laser tube cutting machines offer 2 + 2 axis. Two axis rotate the tube and axially move the tube. The additional two axis can be programmed to move side to side, and up and down.
This video link (starting at 0:34 seconds to 00:52 seconds) demonstrates the laser tube cutting operation using only three of the four axis available. The laser remains stationary in the video, continually focused at the center of the part. The raw tube length is 3,660 mm (10 feet), and after the cutting process is completed, the finished part is severed from the initial tube. As each part is manufactured, the raw tube becomes shorter, until a new tube is loaded into the machine. The guide bushing is pictured immediately to the right of the laser beam, and the indexing collet system is on the far right of the picture.
In this example, the material diameter is 2 mm in diameter (.78”), and the finished part is approximately 11mm (.433”) in length. The wall thickness of the part is .10 mm (.004”). As you can see from the video, the tube has a multitude of cut features. Lasers can run wet or dry, and in the accompanying video, water is forced through the end of the tube. This prevents slag from building up on the through-cut-edges of the part—as well as eliminating slag on the wall opposite of the cut.
Close-up of Laser Tube Cutting Process