Press Release

StarCut Tube Femto for processing polymer and metal tubes

Bio-absorbable polymers can be cut with high-precision creating perfect edges despite their low melting points and low absorption

Focusing on Femtoseconds - ROFIN at COMPAMED 2010

ROFIN presents an overview of current applications which are enabled by the latest femtosecond laser technology at their booth (no. F34 in Hall 8a). With the new StarFemto source and the tube processing system StarCut Tube Femto, ROFIN has launched ultra-fast laser systems for industrial production in the medical device industry only a few months ago. As well as laser cutting, which is the focus of the first femtosecond laser applications, ROFIN are also showing laser welding, from manual to fully-automated operation with integrated robotics, as well as laser marking.

Cold cutting processes with ultra-fast lasers
The so-called ‘cold’ ablation with a femtosecond laser avoids virtually all unwanted heat input and offers absorption which is independent of the wavelength - making the femtosecond laser a highly desirable tool – in particular for high-precision processes requiring excellent edge quality and ultimate processing accuracies.

Benefits for stent production

The StarCut Tube Femto allows processing of stents with even smaller strut widths and wall thicknesses. The outstanding and burr-free cut quality of the femtosecond laser eliminates extensive post-processing and allows miniature and highly innovative medical implants and related products to be manufactured. In this way, post-processing efficiency is significantly enhanced, in particular with sensitive materials like NiTi shape-memory alloys. One of the significant characteristics of the femtosecond laser is the unlimited choice of material: it is suited for processing tantalum and precious metals (e. g. platinum or gold), and stents made of bio-absorbable polymers like polylactic acid and polyglycolic acid. These materials suffer from their low melting points and large heat-affected zones, making them very difficult to machine with traditional cutting lasers.

Marking and structuring in the micron range
Thanks to its non-linear absorption, the StarFemto is well-suited for marking optically transparent material like fused quartz. It is possible to apply the laser marks either on top or below the surface of the workpiece. Contrary to other laser glass marking processes, the femtosecond laser creates no micro cracks, chips or other unwanted material modifications. Ablating with the femtosecond laser is very precise and local, thus it is ideally suited for creating two and three-dimensional surface structures, as can be found in microfluidics applications.

Laser welding and marking with integrated robotics
Easy integration of tailor-made automation solutions is a feature of both ROFIN’s welding systems, the Select and Integral, and the marking systems, CombiLine Cube and Easy Mark. Frequently in the medical device industry, flexible solutions with different degrees of automation are required from the same system. Automation not only enhances production efficiency of laser welding and marking processes, but also allows the optimum utilization of capacity of the laser processing systems given the most versatile product range which is typical for this industry. This is true for the development from semi to fully-automated production as well as for minimizing set-up times when changing from CNC to manual operation.

Marketing Communications:
Susanne Lötzsch
Phone. +49-(0)8151-776-4280