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Laser Drilling

Laser Drilling

Laser drilling of metals, plastics, ceramics and more

Laser drilling is a non-contact process that uses focused, high energy density, light to ablate material and drill holes in a wide variety of materials.

Compared to other drilling methods, lasers offer superior speed and precision while lowering operating costs. As a result, they’re finding a home in a variety of industries, from automotive to medical device manufacturing.

They also play an important role in the pharmaceutical industry—drilling osmotic pump tablets at high speeds while maintaining extremely close tolerances.

Laser Drilling Methods

The most basic laser drilling method is single pulse drilling—a simple, clean and fast process that has led to several variations, including:

  • Single Pulse Drilling: One pulse of the laser is used to drill the hole. This is a simple, clean, and fast process when it is possible.
  • Percussion drilling: This method is similar to single pulse drilling, but instead of using one large burst of energy, it uses several short, lower-energy bursts. Percussion drilling lets you create deeper, more accurate holes. Because less material vaporizes with each pulse, you can also drill holes with smaller diameters.
  • Trepanning: A pilot hole is drilled through the material first using percussion drilling. The laser focal point is then scanned in a spiral shaped pattern starting from this pilot hole and increasing is diameter until the desired diameter hole is achieved. Most molten material is expelled downward through the pilot hole.
  • Helical Drilling: Unlike trepanning, no pilot hole is drilled first. The laser is scanned in a spiral shape multiple times, removing a small amount of material with each pass, until the desired hole is completed. The focus spot can also be adjusted downward while the laser is drilling in this helical pattern to ensure the most efficient material removal at each depth through the material. In helical drilling most molten material is ejected upward out of the hole. This method is typically used to create deep holes with large diameters.

Tablet Drilling

We’re an industry innovator in designing and building laser tablet drilling systems for pharmaceutical applications. Our systems drill small apertures—200 μm to 1 mm—into osmotic pump tablets at speeds of up to 140,000 tablets per hour. They also achieve an infinite number of sizes and pattern variations. We can even add vision capabilities for more precise control of aperture quality. Patterns or arrays of holes can also be drilled in a single tablet. Machine vision can be integrated into drilling systems to ensure precise control of drilled holes.

Learn more about Tablet Drilling »

Plastic Drilling

Laser drilling makes no mechanical contact with plastic parts, allowing you to precisely control the shapes and sizes of holes with no tooling changeovers. Our laser drilling systems are used in a variety of applications—from spray nozzle valves, to irrigation tape.

Learn more about Plastic Drilling »

Metal Drilling

From automotive to medical device manufacturing, many industries utilize our custom laser systems to drill holes into metal components, such as thin sheet metal, metal foil, and micro tubing.

Learn more about Metal Drilling »

Ceramic Drilling

Because they focus energy into small areas, our laser drilling systems reduce strain on ceramic parts—all while offering superior precision and reliability compared to traditional drilling methods. Drill through-holes or partial holes for texturing or micromachining requirements.

Learn more about Ceramic Drilling »

Videos

Laser Drilling Automation with Robotics and Vision

TD-140 Pharmaceutical Tablet Drilling System

TD-70 Pharmaceutical Tablet Driller

Pharmaceutical Tablet Drilling System for Research and Development

UV Laser Drilling Plastic Membranes with TTOV

Images

Get Started

We’ve provided custom laser drilling machines for high-throughput manufacturing lines around the world. Our extensive testing and verification processes ensure each system works seamlessly with your operation—improving overall reliability and lowering your cost of ownership.

Contact us today to learn more.

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