Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are gearing up to meet the huge spike in demand for their product. A key challenge of increasing e-cig manufacturing line volume is welding the atomizer - a heating element comprised of a thin wire wrapped around a wick – to the terminals. Welding solutions have been evolving rapidly. Here’s a look at some of our early investigations helping manufacturers determine which welding technology is best to meet this demand.
Topics: medical device manufacturing
Today’s post is a visual portrayal of how to optimize peak power and pulse width during laser welding.
Topics: laser welding
Laser technology in manufacturing is everywhere, touching our lives in many, invisible ways. For example, lasers are used to cut the material that the airbags in our cars are made of, the glass for our smart phone and tablet screens and the tiny, delicate medical stents used to improve our health and enhance our longevity. Lasers are used to weld airbag detonators, and the batteries in our handheld mobile devices; to drill engine components for planes; and to mark or engrave all of the above.
Lasers create welds by outputting either discrete packets of energy known as pulses or extended output known as a continuous wave. A pulsed laser produces a series of pulses at a certain pulse width and frequency until stopped. Continuous wave (CW) simply means that the laser remains on continuously until stopped. Pulsed Nd:YAG lasers operate in pulsed mode only, diode lasers operate in continuous wave, and fiber lasers can operate in either pulsed or CW mode.
How do lasers weld? When laser welding metal, one must first raise the temperature of the metal to a point where the laser's energy can be absorbed by the material. To do this, the laser is focused on the material much like the sun might be focused by a magnifying glass for a science experiment, only the laser’s power density is many orders of magnitude higher, around 106 Watts per square centimeter (W/cm2).
Topics: laser welding
Recently, I've noticed an increase in the use of polymers for stents and scaffolds in medical device manufacturing, largely because it offers a range of interesting features and applications. The only way to manufacture stents and scaffolds made of these materials, however, is by using a femtosecond (fs) laser, which provides both the necessary cutting capability and cut quality.
Just about a year ago, I blogged about the two main benefits of using an ultrashort femtosecond (fs) laser for hypo tube and stent cutting. Specifically, since the fs laser produces pulses that are shorter than the conduction time for most metals, there is no thermal “fingerprint” left on the part. And, pure ablation rather than melt ejection means the cut requires minimal post processing, even for materials like nitinol. Figure 1 exemplifies this precise cut and finish using the fs laser for a nitinol stent.
If you’re like me, you could fill a bathtub with batteries and battery packs for all of the devices in your life; they have become an integral part of everyday living. With all of this, however, comes the need to manufacture batteries and battery packs to power our connected world.
In the past few years, I have noticed an increasing number of medical device applications requiring the stripping of outer layers of polymers from small diameter wire to expose the underlying metal conductor. Some applications that spring to mind include cardiac rhythm management, and neurological and radio frequency ablation products.