Laser sharp: Producing parts using micro laser manufacturing

Lincoln-based manufacturing firm Micrometric outlines how it feels it leads the way in micro laser manufacturing.

Micrometric produces fine parts and precision components for a range of customers in the UK and international markets, specializing in services including cutting, etching, drilling, and welding as well as tube cutting and precision component machining.

Fine parts are used in a variety of industries: gas turbines, filter applications including aircraft hydraulics, scientific instrumentation including instrumentation for analyzing gases and military applications.

Commercial director Chris Waters said: “At Micrometric we have built up a reputation for taking a personal approach to fully understanding every customer’s laser cutting requirements to optimize the production process and achieve the best results.”

The company is AS9100 qualified and can supply process sheets, certification, first article inspection reports or similar inspection regimes to clients, as required.

It also has micro laser cutting capabilities that allow small parts to be cut to tight tolerances +/- 0.05mm to +/- 0.02mm across materials including stainless steel, titanium, copper, brass, and ceramic. The smallest part Micrometric has produced was a washer with a diameter of 0.5mm. The company can cut extremely thin materials down to 0.05mm thickness, which is about 3x thicker than household kitchen foil.

Not only are parts laser cut using precision lasers, but additional operations are carried out using the wire erosion machine, surface grinder and Haas CNC miller achieving even finer tolerances.

Parts are cut on fine lasers, which have collection trays underneath, so that parts can be cut without leaving a pip. All parts are then also cleaned via a suitable method including acid cleaning, ultrasonic cleaning, tumbling, and flattening. A variety of measuring equipment enables measurement of even the finest features.

Waters continued: “We use several CO2 and state-of-the-art fiber laser cutting systems which precisely cut materials with minimal heat and excellent edge quality to produce components quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

“In 2018, we invested in the Coherent StarCut Tube machine which is fully automated and is designed to laser cut, drill and mark tubular or flat metal components and is traditionally used by subcontract manufacturers to produce exclusive medical instruments with extremely high precision.”

Since investing in this equipment, Micrometric’s workforce has used the machine to cut, assemble and weld complex medical and aerospace components for companies which produce aerospace filters, automated injection needles, endoscopy components and MRI scanning equipment as well as producing finer, precise parts for other sectors.

Speaking about medical sector work, Waters said: “The equipment produced for the medical sector is often extremely small and intricate and as these devices are used to save lives, it is imperative that the processes used to make them from beginning to end ensure their quality. and reliability. ”

To manufacture medical parts, the company use tube cutting to create small windows, slots, holes, and spirals for different pieces of equipment such as cannulas. The laser machines offer high resolution cutting to ensure high speed dimensional accuracy, precision and stability which is required when producing medical tube components economically.

Micrometric understands the importance of having full traceability when mass-producing for this sector and can laser mark medical products with clear Unique Device Identification (UDI) codes to ensure that every part can be tracked back to its source.

The company has several lasers, and its experts can weld a range of parts to form high-quality solutions.

Laser welding offers the benefit of welding while minimizing heat input which is critical when welding components with temperature-sensitive items inside them or minimizing any distortion due to heat.

Waters added: “We can also weld autogenously or with wire feed. Depending on the metallurgy of the parts, it is possible to add different alloys as wire to adjust the weldability of the component. The wire feed can be fully automated within the welding machine. For some welds, such as titanium, a helium atmosphere is required, and an enclosed helium welding system is used.

“A variety of materials can be laser welded dependent on the metal composition and design of the product. We have experience in welding a variety of different tube sizes for different applications including medical, aerospace and other industrial applications. ”

Micrometric is also a member of TWI so can access expert advice, knowhow and safety assurance related to engineering technologies.

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