Surgically precise tool

Use of the laser opens up progress in medical technology
TruSystem 7500; In TRUMPF's own operating table, 90 percent of the processed parts are welded using a laser – everything from the head plate through the armrest to the equipment holders and wiring covers; Photo: TRUMPF Group (PresseBox) (Ditzingen, ) The population of Germany is growing ever older, medical technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, while progress in emerging nations is leading to unstoppable growth in the global market for medical technology products. Because the needs are so huge and diverse, manufacturers are having to look harder for efficient, flexible manufacturing techniques than ever before.

Medical products place exacting demands on materials, manufacturing quality and process documentation. Meanwhile, manufacturers are facing increasing price pressure. They also have to focus more intently on issues such as the biocompatibility and reusability of their products - products that are often subjected to aggressive cleaning agents and disinfectants. And at the same time unit volumes vary wildly within highly diversified product portfolios.

As a tool, the laser is the ideal solution for these kinds of constraints. Its wide-ranging applications and excellent capabilities for cutting, welding and marking turn the laser into an indispensable, flexible precision tool for the manufacture of a host of medical technology products.

TRUMPF TruSystem 7500 operating table at the EMO
That is why operating tables manufactured in the TRUMPF Medical Technology division also benefit from the advantages of this manufacturing technique. The latest TruSystem 7500 model will be demonstrating these benefits at the EMO. 90 percent of the welded parts which go into this operating table are welded using a laser - everything from the head plate through the armrest to the equipment holders and wiring covers. The welds produced in this way are pore-free and airtight, meeting the stringent hygiene guidelines applicable in the healthcare sector. They also have an oxide-free, shiny metallic appearance, obviating the need for any additional finishing. Thanks to the focused, short energy input, there is also hardly any distortion, and hence no need for any downstream straightening processes. Compared with conventional welding, rework is reduced by almost half.

The laser is in its element when it comes to intricate medical technology applications too. In endoscopic instruments, for example, it can be used to cut contours and simultaneously weld guide tubes, to weld on intakes or for 3D contour cuts. In pacemakers, the laser connects electronic components together using spot welding, welds together the two halves of the housing with a gastight seal without any pores, and permanently marks the titanium housing.

Tool with surgical precision
The laser always works with surgical precision, without contact, rapidly, precisely and with constantly reproducible quality. The laser-machined surfaces are immaculate and free from ridges, grooves, burrs or channels that may compromise hygiene. Laser-welded joints have a smooth surface and the same biocompatibility as the base material. Laser marking on instruments can also withstand high-alkaline disinfection and high-temperature sterilization.

Besides individual workpiece quality, it is essential that the manufacturing process is consistent, reproducible and verifiable. TRUMPF lasers ensure consistent quality with laser machining thanks to their precise laser control. All laser parameters, such as mean output, pulse energy and focal position, can be controlled during the manufacturing process.

A host of suitable laser beam sources
TRUMPF offers the right beam source for every application in medical technology manufacturing. Feasibility studies that TRUMPF conducts for its customers in the laser application centers help determine which laser, which focusing optics and which parameters are best suited to a given application. In addition to pulsed lasers in the TruPulse series for welding and the TruMark series for marking, medical product manufacturers also turn to the fiber lasers in the TruFiber series to cut intricate components. If users are looking to drill microholes, cut stents or improve the osteointegration of implants, the short-pulsed and ultrashort-pulsed lasers in the TruMicro series are the tool of choice. Their high-energy pulses, which can be shorter than 10 picoseconds, ensure ultrafine machining of materials such as metals, ceramics or glass.

TRUMPF at EMO, Hanover, September 19 to 24 2011 / Hall 12, booth C72

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TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG
Johann-Maus-Straße 2
D-71254 Ditzingen
Verena Buttler
TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG
Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

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