Lasers can be used to create textures or patterned microstructures on the surfaces of components or products, which enhance physical performance such as grip, wear rates, optical properties, and load capacity.

Fremont, CA: Lasers are one of the most widely used manufacturing tools today, especially as additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 enable engineers to create more complex features and product designs that need tight tolerances. Laser machining can produce fine features that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional machining equipment. Laser cuts are extremely clean, with no burrs or heat effects on the surrounding material, obviating the need for some secondary finishing steps. As medical device manufacturers design smaller and more advanced products, laser processes are becoming the go-to manufacturing technologies.

Below are some go-to applications for lasers in manufacturing.

Surface Texturing

Lasers can be used to create textures or patterned microstructures on the surfaces of components or products, which enhance physical performance such as grip, wear rates, optical properties, and load capacity. Roughness on medical implants created by laser micro-texturing can make it easier for new  bone or tissue to take hold and grow into the new implant. With very high depth resolution, patterns with features as small as 10 m can be generated.

Laser Ablation

Using a laser beam, this subtractive machining method essentially vaporizes material with high precision. The pulses' wavelength, length, and intensity are adjusted based on the material being processed. Because the noncontact method does not at all change the structure of the material or harm its surface with abrasion or heat, ablation is particularly useful for machining sensitive materials such as superconductive materials or nanomaterials.

Laser Marking

In the event of a recall, lasers are increasingly being utilized to imprint unique identification (UID) numbers on parts and products, allowing them to be easily traced. Laser markings are extremely durable and can withstand multiple sterilization cycles in the case of medical devices. On products with flat or curved part geometries, both human-readable as well as barcode information, including lot and batch codes and even design histories, can be laser-marked.