Machining & Laser Processing
tension control was developed for wire transport. The wire handling system was designed so that the wire could be rotated back and forth in opposite directions during
laser ablation for custom exposure of areas with varying layer thickness. For singulation
of wire sensors, a separate reel-to-cut system was designed to place cut wire sensors
into vials, featuring wire grippers, a blade assembly and a vision system for automated
sorting of rejected parts.
A company contacted Okay Industries looking for cost reductions on an existing
two-component assembly. Using its Accu-LaserSwiss technology, Okay engineers
were able to redesign the product to be a single component, where one of the components was integrated into the body of the part using fine laser cutting to create the flexibility that previously required a second component and assembly. In another example,
a customer wanted to simplify a three-piece welded assembly.
“It required two laser cut tubes and a cable, welded into a three-piece machined
assembly,” said Lovotti.“We were successful in converting that assembly made of three
individually manufactured components, which required secondary welding and ma-
chining operations, into a single flexible component.”
Amada America recently collaborated with a client who approached the company
with a high-volume, smaller-sized part request. They used laser programming software
to create multiple parts that were “nano-joined” together. These parts were removed
together in individual groups of four. They were then taken to the press brake, bent
twice, and then separated.
“The customer used nesting software and common line cutting to use 95 percent of
stainless steel material blank and, with the use of multiple shelf automation, the customer was able to process 39,000 parts in 24 hours,”said Gallivan.
OEMs need to consider feature aspect ratio with the material thickness, as well as tolerancing, when designing a component. Even the simplest geometry can drive high costs
or become almost impossible to manufacture by narrowing and tightening tolerances
when not needed. For best results, apply design-with-intent practices and consider
process performance for high volume scenarios—customer sourcing representatives
appreciate this approach.
“The equipment is as good as the process engineering put into the operation,” said
Larjanko. “By engineering complex tooling and fixtures that can hold a high volume
of components, and combining these with smart and efficient program code, we can
deliver a capable process for a low operational cost.”
Most OEMs do not fully understand the capabilities of laser micromachining. They
are not aware of the variety and depth of laser technology and how a laser that is meant
for machining a metal is not the best solution for polymers—therefore getting machin-
ists involved early in the design process is critical for developing a product that is easy
to design and manufacture.
“It is important to continue to invest in technologies that we see as long-term solutions for our OEM customers,” said Stowik. “We understand the need to ensure the
financial success of our customer’s programs over their life cycles. Whether it is laser
processing, machining, stamping, tubing or finished assemblies, developing tooling
and automation strategies will drive the innovation that we need to support our customer’s quality and cost goals.” ❖
Mark Crawford is a full-time freelance business and marketing/communications writer
based in Madison, Wis. His clients range from startups to global manufacturing leaders. He
also writes a variety of feature articles for regional and national publications and is the author
of five books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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