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LASERS | ARTICLE


<< Figure 4: Manufacturing procedure: mechanically


Manufacture complex products with up to eight NC controlled axes Additional two axes position a diamond grinding tool with up to 30000 rpm. A rotary table provides the angular position. Also the axial and radial positions need to be set by further axes. Any geometry may be achieved by this combination of axes and tools. This configuration allows multiple operations to follow each other without the need to reposition the parts in various fixtures. Handling times and errors due to repositioning are eliminated. To create a special geometry the requested angle of the needle head requires the forming of the metal tube (figure 3). A forming unit mechanically reduces the tube diameter according to the defined angle and creates a tip. Following a welding laser closes the tip of the needle by melting the front side of the rotating needle. The grinding tool finishes the spherical surface of the needle’s tip. With the ultra-short-pulse laser any geometry can be cut in the tube. Ablation and marking also is possible. Ultimately the cutting laser trims the needle to the defined length to complete the process. The single process steps are the following:


- Cutting the tube - Forming the tip of the needle - Laser welding to close the tip - Grinding the tip - Laser cutting various contours in the tube - Trimming the part


forming the tip of a needle, laser welding to close the tip, grinding to finish the surface, laser cuting of multiple contours, trimming the tube and


automatically removing the peace from the working area into a box for finished parts. >>


Depending on the complexity of the processing steps the cycle times sum up to values between 15 and 50 seconds. Under consideration of the entire process including reliability, accuracy, safety, set-up times, handling times and quality assurance a significant potential for rationalisation is clearly visible. Key achievement is lower cost per piece. A distinguishing attribute in particular is the small size of the system. The machine frame (figure 5) includes all needed components and aggregates. Two beam sources (fs laser for cutting and fibre laser for welding), a cooling module, a control module („Powerbox“ for a 19 4/6 HE height rack) to manage all eight axes, an industrial computer and all other electronics fit into the All-In-One system. The modular design offers more possibilities regarding processes and application. The extension of the systems and the implementation of additional modules are easily achieved.


swisstec micromachining ag www.swisstecag.com


Swisstec will be exhibiting at: MEDTEC Europe in Stuttgart, on 3-5 June 2014, on stand 7A26 and at Lasys in Stuttgart, on 24-26 June 2014, on stand 4C10.


38 | commercial micro manufacturing international Vol 7 No.3


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