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Ceramic Drilling

Ceramic Drilling

Laser drilling of ceramics

Drilling ceramic using laser energy allows for fast drilling while having precise control of heat, hole placement, and hole quality. Drilling can create through-holes or partial holes for texturing or micromachining requirements. Micro drilling is possible when using short wavelength laser sources giving the ability to drill holes with diameters down to 10’s of microns.

Control Micro Systems, Inc. (CMS Laser) has a world-class Applications Lab that can test a range of laser sources and optics to determine the optimal setup for any ceramic drilling application. Our engineers also have the automation and part handling experience to offer superior system design for any type of production environment. We offer Free Sample Processing of your specific samples to prove the capabilities of our laser systems!

Advantages of Laser Drilling of Ceramic

  • No Contact Drilling – No drill bits or parts to clean, sharpen, or replace.
  • Flexibility of Hole Size and Shape – Depending on the specific application and ceramic material being drilled, hole shapes and sizes can be tuned to meet requirements with simple software inputs.
  • Micro Drilling – Hole diameters down to 10’s of microns can be achieved in thin ceramic using short wavelength laser sources.
  • Speed – Using galvanometers and f-theta scan lenses allows for drilling many holes at high speeds without requiring part indexing or indexing of drill bit. In some cases, drilling can even be done On-The-Fly as parts pass by laser field to increase production rates even further!

Methods of Laser Drilling of Ceramic

Many different types of lasers can be used to drill ceramic. Depending on the requirements for hole size, hole shape, edge quality, taper, and speed, different laser wavelengths (from far IR through UV) and different laser pulse durations (microsecond through femtosecond) have different advantages.

  • CO2 Lasers (far IR wavelengths) are typically used in applications where speed is the most important factor. In addition to the standard 10.6um wavelength, CMS also has 9.4um and 10.2um CO2 lasers available to test.
  • Fiber lasers (with near IR wavelengths) are also sometimes used for drilling using high peak power fiber lasers. Depending on the type and purity of the ceramic, the fiber laser wavelength may or may not couple well with the material. Applications engineers can test your ceramic to determine if using a fiber laser is a viable option.
  • Frequency Tripled Diode Lasers (UV wavelength with nanosecond pulse durations) can be used to drill holes with a “cold cutting process” that reduces the heat put into the part. The UV wavelength couples well with most ceramic and allows for micro-drilling of holes down to 10’s of microns across.
  • Femtosecond Lasers are a fourth option for drilling. The ultrashort pulse duration of these lasers gives high peak power in each pulse resulting in faster ablation of the ceramic and virtually no heat effect to the part. These lasers are the most expensive option but can be used in cases of extreme precision such as drilling for medical device manufacturing.

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CMS Laser’s engineers will help determine the most efficient and cost-effective laser and optics setup for your application.

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