Precision laser micro-hole drilling offers a game-changing design alternative over conventional machining methods in the fabrication of custom-engineered components found in medical drug delivery devices.
In general, machining challenges for faster speeds, smaller dimensions, tighter tolerances, higher efficiencies, and lower costs are becoming more complex as medical device roadmaps trend towards smaller design footprints, higher accuracy/repeatability, longer operating life, and lower risks. Lasers enable smaller, machined feature designs and fulfill positive business objectives because they offer a small area of direct material working interactions (small spot size), do not require consumables, do not mechanically contact the substrate, produce minimal or no heat-affected zone, can operate at very high speeds with repeatable accuracy, are efficiently coupled into automated parts handling systems and can support processing of metal, polymer, glass and ceramic materials in the same workstation set-up.
Laser drilling of flow-control holes in drug delivery devices, such as nebulizers (inhalers), control the concentration and rate of dosing, including assurance of 100% patient utilization of the medication per treatment with reproducible and precision application performance to avoid complications. Holes typically less than 100um in diameter, through substrate thicknesses of up to 2mm, resulting in ultra-high aspect ratio holes with parallel sides. Depending on the material, OpTek can machine <1 micron holes with fractional micron tolerance considerations.
Other high aspect ratio hole drilling for gas and liquid micro-flow applications are found in components that include glucose monitoring sensors, micro-fluidic assemblies (flow cells), orthopedic and ophthalmic implantable assemblies, as well as cardiovascular and neurovascular implants.
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