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Stent and tube cutting technology for next generation production needs

Posted by Geoff Shannon on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

The stent and tube cutting technology coming on the market today is miles ahead of what we’ve been working with for years – and that’s music to the ears of many, especially in the medical device industry. Stent and hypo tube cutting has been around for some time, but as demand continues to grow for these types of devices, cut quality and production rates are more important than ever to meet the demand and make the necessary return on investment.

Now, I know that many readers already have access to older cutter technology which may have served them quite well, making them hesitant to upgrade. However, there are many good reasons to consider doing so. Here are a few features of the new technology that should pique your interest.

New low mass / high acceleration direct drive stages maximize throughput

Many legacy cutting machines are running with motion technology that is ten or more years old. Motion technology has advanced considerably in the past decade. For example, Amada Miyachi America has developed next generation technology with a new direct drive motion platform. The system, called the Sigma Laser Stent & Tube Cutteroffers increased acceleration and deceleration ramping that can significantly reduce cycle times for stents and hypo tubes. This is especially true for those with numerous fine features and short move cut paths. This feature is further enhanced by new digital controllers that have higher bandwidth to provide much faster look ahead processing times, which essentially let the processor know what motion is coming next.

High speed, off axis cutting

Many hypo tubes require off axis cutting, and older machines may or may not have the cross axes needed for this. In addition, if the cross axis is present it will likely be a (relatively) slow servo motor. Using a linear direct drive increases cross axis motor cutting speed and improves feature dimensional accuracy.

New laser source options add flexibility

With the latest laser cutting technology, you can have access to both microsecond fiber and femtosecond lasers. Do you need excellent beam quality, and high pulse repetition rates for high speed precision cutting? Then select a fiber laser. Or, does your application call for best in class cut quality using cold ablation cutting to produce an edge quality that reduces post processing costs? If so, opt for the femtosecond laser. Also, the femtosecond laser is the only source that can process biopolymers. If you really want to get crazy – select a machine that does both!

Wet cutting without the hassle

Leaking and/or blocked system, failed pumps – these are all too common occurrences in many systems. Amada Miyachi has taken heed of user feedback to design a smart closed-loop water system that monitors flow, pressure, and reservoir level. Typically, the pump is a weak point in the system with very short lifetime, but this has been re-engineered to provide four to five times the usual lifetime. Graded particulate filtering from 200 microns to 10 microns captures all the fine metal particulates, and easy access to the water system by a drawer makes filter changes quick and convenient.

Workspace and  system component access

The latest system design from Amada Miyachi optimizes tube loading, checking focus, changing water filters, and quick access for part unloading. A large door provides complete access to the entire workspace, while an embedded quick slide door allows for quick part unload. All system components are mounted on large drawers that can be completely pulled out for easy access.

Optimized vibration and isolation

Mechanical stability is at the heart of any machine. Legacy machines tend to use granite as the base material, which has been a good choice in the past. The only problem is that granite cannot be mechanically modeled – so how can a design be optimized? Using a composite instead of granite enabled Amada Miyachi engineers full modeling of the system developed for the Sigma Laser Stent & Tube Cutter. And, since it is cast, new features have been added for stage mounting, cable routing, and water directors. In fact, we know exactly how much our cantilever optics and stage mount deflects with a 100 kilogram load – and it isn’t much!

I hope this post convinces you of the real benefits of moving your cutting operations into the 21st century. We’d love to hear from you with any questions about the benefits you’d gain from new laser stent and tube cutting technology.

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Topics: laser tube cutting, stent cutting

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