Laser Wire Stripping FAQ

General Questions

Questions & Answers

Why use Laser Wire Stripping?

Laser Wire Stripping is used to strip wires where conventional means (primarily mechanical) are not possible. Laser stripping is intrinsically high precision and achieves unrivalled quality.

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How does it work?

The laser radiation is strongly absorbed by the wire insulation immediately vaporizing it. The conductor or shield is highly reflective meaning that there is no conductor damage and the stripping stops once all the insulation is removed down to the conductor / shield.  To cut shields, different types of laser are used which are strongly absorbed by the metal shield. 

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How much does it cost?

There is a wide range of costs depending on the wire types, the level of  automation required and productivity. Basic bench-top systems start at just over $30,000 but can cost over ten times this for a very sophisticated  fully automated application. Laser Wire Solutions works hard to ensure you get a return on your  investment 

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Can you strip XYZ wire?

 As a rule of thumb we can strip any wire. The Mercury machines do pretty much all wire insulations with the exception of enamelled wires which are stripped by the Odyssey, and shields which are cut by the Gemini. For micro-machining of mediacal polymers - we have some custom solutions. There is a vast array of wire types and materials – and we are always happy to give you a specific suggestion – but most times we need to have a wire sample to be 100% sure of the best solution.

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Can you strip wires for me?

Yes! As well as designing and selling laser wire stripping systems - we also have a dedicated manufacturing department. With both automatic and manual stripping systems we can handle production volumes from the few one off pieces up to monthly full production

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Why invest in laser wire stripping?

Increasing your manufacturing capability with new products & processes; bring an existing laser stripping process in house to drive down costs; improve existing processes in terms of quality and/or productivity; use the technology to push the envelope in terms of your innovative product design

 

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Which types of wires need laser wire stripping?

Small wires where mechanical tools no longer cope—typically below 36 AWG

Wires with bonded insulation - e.g. polyamide / enamel coated wires

Windows—the laser can generate a window cut easily where mechanical solutions struggle

Out of round cables—blades and dies cannot be used.

Tough insulation materials such as fibre glass

Small shielded cables—microcoax, especially when ribbonized

High value, high precision Medical devices and cabling such as ultrasound cables, RF ablation catheters or pacemaker electrodes

When strip quality is paramount—no nicks, no damage, no residue.

Complex strip patterns where other means are impossible

Ribbonized cables - especially when a window strip is required or the insulation is bonded

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Is it safe?

The laser radiation is completely enclosed in a laser safe housing in the same way that a CD or DVD player is—making it safe for use on the shop floor. Potentially harmful fumes are extracted and filtered by a HEPA and carbon filter to make the air safe for return to the factory. All our equipment meets and exceeds UL, OSHA and EU legislation.

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How to strip very fine wire

Very fine wire, typically wire less than 40 AWG is very difficult to strip mechanically. Where mechanical scraping is used, it is difficult to achieve a high quality strip without risking damage to the conductor. Alternative agressive chemical methods are increasingly being phased out due to the significant Health & Safety implications  of the chemicals used.

Laser Wire Stripping offers a highly controlled process where the insulator is completely removed without any alteration of the conductor underneath - even down to 60 AWG.

For enamel / polyimide type fine wire insulations - check out our Odyssey range of laser wire strippers.


For fluoropolymer insulations - check out our Mercury range of laser wire solutions.

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Operational Questions

Questions & Answers

How often does the filter have to be changed on the Mercury-4?

Depending on usage, expect to change the pre-filter quarterly and the HEPA filter annually. An alarm will sound when there is a problem with the filter or it needs to be changed (it stops the Mercury from running). At that point change the pre-filter. If any problems continue, change the main HEPA filter.

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What is the quality of the filtered air?

The air is filtered to be safe to return to the room.

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What are the instructions for safe disposal of the filters (Mercury-4)?

The machine will warn you if a particle filter is blocked. Take care when removing  main filters as they are heavy. Always wear the protective gloves and mask provided and dispose of with the used filters in the bag provided. Protective eyewear should also be worn when changing filters.

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What are the maintenance guidelines on the Mercury-4?

There are no routine services required. On a periodic basis (2-3 years) it makes sense to inspect and clean the internal optics. Measure laser power and power drops. The scan lenses in the process area should be wiped with supplied lens tissues when required. To clean and service the optics/scanner on your behalf would be half a day's work at our standard rate.

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What is involved in replacing the laser, optics and diodes?

This has to be carried out by a trained technician. The laser is a single unit with no maintenance parts.

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What safety rules apply when protecting the operator against the Mercury-4 laser?

The Mercury-4 is designed such that operator safety is secured at any time when handled according the directive given in the manual.

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Product Questions

Questions & Answers

Do your machines need a lot of set up?

The machines plug into a standard factory power supply and do not need re-aligning on shipment. Hence an installation is not 100% necessary. Most customers like the idea of an engineer visit though to help them get production started and answer any questions quickly.

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Where do I get spare parts?

The machines do not have parts that need regularly replacing. Also – the machines are made from commercially available components – not custom controllers, or hand made robot stages. We give the supplier details for all the key components – so youcan buy them direct if you want.

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How do your machines get their names?

We name each product range by the laser process

  • Mercury =  carbon dioxide laser – cutting most polymers
  • Gemini = fiber laser – cutting metal
  • Odyssey = UV laser – ablate enamels (polyimide etc)
  • Titan = custom combined carbon dioxide fiber lasers = micro coax machine

The names of the product ranges are named after NASA missions / hardware in tribute to NASA who invented the laser stripping technology. The number after the name does not have a special significance. We give a new number to each new product configuration (a little bit like the Thunderbirds vehicles). So a Mercury 8 has different features / packaging from a Mercury 9 – but both use the carbon dioxide laser process. If we make a designation at the end – it is to distinguish laser power options. So Mercury 2-30 is a 30 Watt laser and Mercury 2-55 is a 55 W laser.

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What is the lifetime of a Mercury-4?

Depending on usage between 30,000 and 40,000 hours or between 5 and 10 years.

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