System Spotlight: Laser Marking System for Stainless Steel Medical Wires
Laser automation can add a great deal to the overall throughput of a system, ultimately improving your return on investment and minimizing human-related errors. Processing complex materials and shapes typically requires some sort of automation—whether it’s machine vision, robotics, or unique fixtures, our engineers have experience with just about everything.
In this system spotlight, our engineers developed a solution for Custom Wire Technologies that successfully increased their throughput by 550%, a 250% increase above their initial goal. This was achieved through careful selection of the laser source and optics, laser parameters, and part handling techniques.
The Laser Marking System
Currently the wires are hand fed through a hole in the left side of the system, but future enhancements and design goals will provide for automatic feeding from an additional machine. When the wire is inserted, a sensor will detect it. The wire is then pulled into the system and placed on the processing v-block. Next, the rotary unit will move into place, detect the position of the end of the wire, and then grab the end of the wire. The rotation axis is on a X axis that then moves to the “zero” position for the wire being processed. The rotary will then begin the rotation. As the wire rotates, the laser, mounted above the wire on another long X axis, will mark various bands around the shaft before moving down the wire to a new location as specified by the program. Once the process is completed, the rotary releases the wire and a rotating “finger” servo ejects the wire from the v-block down a chute to the front of the machine. The laser is adjustable in the z-axis direction, allowing a variety of different wire gauges to be marked with just a simple change of the program. The machine also includes our through the optics vision (TTOV) system for viewing the process and to ensure each band is marked correctly.
“Working with the entire Control Micro Systems team on our project was a pleasure. We had a simple idea with no physical representation of what we were looking for. Our goal was to create a machine that could increase our throughput by 300%. CMS was capable of meeting and exceeding our goals. They successfully designed and built a machine which increased our throughput by 550%! We are so glad we chose to move forward with CMS. We could not have been happier with the experience of working with them.” – Jim B.
Ultrafast Laser Source
Ultrafast lasers—in this case, a picosecond fiber laser—are ideal for marking stainless steel because of their ultrashort pulse widths and high repetition rates. This allows the laser to apply a marking without transferring heat outside the event zone, thus eliminating discoloration outside the processing area. These markings are extremely dark and keep their appearance while under harsh lighting conditions, outperforming traditional nanosecond lasers. Learn more about these lasers on our ultrafast laser processing page.
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CMS Laser has decades of experience with developing custom automated solutions and are ready to take on any manufacturing challenge using laser technology. Our engineers work closely with clients to understand their project and to deliver a high-quality turnkey solution—built, not converted—for their specific needs.