Lasers are often used to drill small features in biomedical products, such as dense arrays of holes in filters or spargers. These are often made from thermoplastic materials, which are highly sensitive to heat. If too much heat is applied, the material melts instead of ablates. If not properly drilled, even the slightest melting can cause some holes to become blocked. Thermoplastic material is also flexible—if not held perfectly flat, the material may lay above or below the focal point of the laser, which also results in unwanted melting.
“To be certain hole sizes meet tolerance specification, the laser drilling must be highly precise to avoid melting or other variances that can impact performance,” says Blake Winkelmann, Laser Light Technologies application engineer.
A biomedical manufacturer collaborated with Laser Light to produce spargers for its line of bioprocessing containers. The arrays of holes drilled into these plastic discs had to be very precise to ensure the “gas bubbles delivered into the bioreactor are consistent, predictable, and scaleable—qualities that are essential for accurate bioprocess control,” adds Winkelmann.
The parts are drilled and packaged in Laser Light’s Class-5 cleanroom before shipping. Laser Light has achieved 100% on-time delivery with this manufacturer over the last 12 months and continues to make process improvements that speed up production and reduce costs.
“Laser Light provides quick turnaround and high flexibility and is very willing to partner with our engineering team to help design innovative new products,” says a company spokesperson. “Our partnership allows us to react quickly to our customer’s needs at an exceptional level. Laser Light also provides an on-site inventory management system that is custom-designed for our needs and helps reduce our operational costs.”