You heard it here first: there is no single materials processing technology that fits all applications. Manufacturers looking for a robust, production-ready solution must follow a rigorous process to determine the best choice of equipment. There are no short cuts or magic wands – you have to carefully review process feasibility and part design to maximize production reliability. The evaluation must also consider overall system needs.
Topics: medical device manufacturing
The Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West exposition and conference is the place to be this week if you want to see the latest innovations in equipment and systems for medical device manufacturing. Despite all the doom and gloom you hear about the manufacturing sector, the medical device industry has been on fire for the last decade, and shows no signs of let up. Innovations in technology are on the rise as everyone is looking to do things smaller, faster, and more reliably. I like to stroll the aisles looking for what’s 'just out.' If you do too, drop by Miyachi Unitek’s booth - #3051.
Miyachi Unitek is no stranger to patented inventions (at last count, I think the company has 19), and the patent recently issued to NASA raises that number by 1...IMHO.
Topics: laser welding
One of the great things about working for Miyachi Unitek Corporation is the company’s near-religious zeal for innovation. I feel like it’s really in our “DNA,” - and while it can be frustrating to ‘finish’ a new technical datasheet only to find out that the product has been tweaked/improved in the time it took to print it - it’s something that I’m proud to be a part of. As a company, we have always provided not only equipment, but also complete manufacturing solutions, which require an understanding of both equipment and process. We are always helping people answer the question, “Is there a better way to do this?”
That innovative spirit recently got its just rewards, as Miyachi Unitek was named one of 14 finalists in the Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Business Journal and NantWorks. We were honored as an organization that “expands the boundaries of its industry and leads the region in impactful innovation.” I have to admit it felt good to get kudos for some of the technical innovations we have spearheaded in the past decade, and recognition for the impact some of these innovations. I’d like to give our readers just a few examples.
- Application of three-dimensional laser cutting for production of arthroscopic surgery devices – This is a method of using a five-axis motion platform to achieve true three dimensional contour cutting for a shaver used to cut away and remove unwanted fragments of the cartilage from a joint during arthroscopic surgery. With this technique, the edge quality of the laser cut tube is nearly flawless, minimizing the extent of secondary manufacturing process steps. This means better shavers, better surgeries, lower risks and ultimately a better quality of life for many people.
- New welding technique enables crack free welding of high silicon Al-Si controlled expansion alloys and aluminum 4047 for aerospace electronic packages – Using a novel concept, we enabled crack-free welding of 70 percent silicon alloys, which are lightweight, high thermal conductivity alloys that are used for RF and microwave packages and other critical heat sinking applications. Miyachi Unitek modified the solidification process without using post weld heat treatment. By using a fillet weld geometry and moving the weld close to the edge of the package the isotherms around the weld are modified such that the thermal gradient is reduced and re-orientated. The result included crack-free welds in the highest silicon content alloy, CE7.
- Advances in laser welding systems and technology for medical device manufacturing – This innovation includes motion and laser control techniques beneficial to hermetic laser seam welding of implantable devices. Using special software to achieve “position-based firing” along the contour, we developed a method that fired the laser in response to its actual position along the contour at any point in time. We also developed new metals joining production methods using “green light” (532nm) pulsed welding lasers, which facilitates precision welding of copper and gold alloys. This offers a true metallurgical weld, consistent high-reliability electrical connections with no long term resistance drift, and a non-contact process that completely eliminates risks of electro-static discharge or physical damage to the parts being joined.
- New force-based bend align increases yield and throughput for manufacturing pump lasers for the telecom industry – This unique force-based algorithm is used for deforming pump laser diode packages back into alignment. The packages are part of fiber laser amplifiers used to boost a telecommunications signal as it’s transmitted over vast distances. With the force based bend align method, the signal is peaked faster and in many cases with increased coupling over position based systems. The increased coupling provides improved amplification of the signal and greater signal to noise ratio.
- Enabling high performance optoelectronic modules using novel gas-conserving resistance welding electrode system – This new projection welding technique dramatically reduces the amount of Xenon gas needed to backfill a package. Xenon has good thermal properties and does not enter into slow chemical reactions with other materials that can cause degraded performance and reliability. However, it is extremely expensive, and many existing processes waste the costly gas during backfilling. The new technique enables packages to be evacuated, and then filled with gas before being hermetically sealed using projection welding. This process consumes as little as 5 cubic centimeters of Xenon gas, costing only $0.75 per part.
It’s that time of year – the holiday season – and I’m certain that at least some of your friends have taken to the social media networks to post about the many things they’re thankful for. And even if you don’t participate in the public thankfulness, you can’t help but reflect on all the things that you, too, have to be thankful for. So in today’s post, I’d like to change directions just a bit to say that I am really thankful to work for Miyachi Unitek, which is so much more than just the place where I earn my paycheck. After working for the company for15 years, it is a second home, and its people are like family. More than 40 percent of our employees have been with us longer than 10 years – and 10% have been with the company more than 20 years – half of those, more than 30 years. 30 years! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average tenure at a company in the manufacturing industry is just 6 years. We must be doing something right!
Why do our employees stay so long? Because we are all made to understand that we are part of a whole, working toward one goal; no one job is more important than another…and, I believe it’s also because the company cares not only for its employees, but also for the industrial and geographic communities in which we work
Our lab gets a lot of calls asking us how to use resistance welding equipment safely, so I thought I would put down a few words on the most common issues affecting safety.
- What is the difference between a Class 1 and a Class 4 laser, and what are the safety requirements for each?
- Which laser safety glasses should I use?
These are legitimate concerns, because even small amounts of laser light can result in permanent eye injuries, and higher power lasers can burn the skin as well. And don't be fooled into thinking that you're safe just because you can't see the laser light - infrared lasers are particularly hazardous, since the eye's "blink reflex" is triggered only by visible light!
Just a few posts ago, I shared some information on online and mobile apps that help take the guesswork out of material weldability. Since that post, I’ve gotten some feedback that leads me to believe a lot of people would like a bit more on the basic questions of “what electrodes should I use for spot welding?” and “can I spot weld (material A) to (material B)?”
In this era of information overload, we want to take a minute to put in a plug for EWI, a member-based 501(c) 3 organization that supports U.S. manufacturing companies with information and support on material joining of every type, including arc, laser, solid state, resistance, brazing, and micro-joining. As a Corporate member, Miyachi Unitek finds it refreshing to have such a neutral, unbiased organization behind us, and we want to encourage others to join too.