The technology and componentry included in the next generation of active medical devices is creating significant manufacturing challenges and opportunities. Complex devices need to be produced at ever smaller scale while still being designed for single use applications.
At present, producers of small/precision devices are still dependent on human operators that have the required dexterity and skill needed to produce and assemble devices. This challenge is especially acute when very small components and electrical connects must be made in very confined spaces with complete confidence in the device quality. Laser Wire Solutions is developing an automated precision micro-machining and soldering process that is an alternative for customers that are reliant on human operators.
Laser Wire Solutions has developed expertise in the fixturing and soldering of high density flex and standard PCBs using both standard and laser technology.
As part of a UK government's Innovate development project, Laser Wire Solutions is building on its core expertise to develop cutting-edge laser soldering capability at a sub 0.1 mm pitch.
The project involves partnering with a number of customers to supply samples of experimental parts that would require robotic laser soldering. This is a particularly interesting application for the development of medical devices, where existing technology has reached the limit of what an operator can physically assemble. Today small medical devices are hand-soldered using a microscope and a very steady hand. The next generation of devices, such as ultra-sound cables - calls for a connection pitch of only 0.1 mm. This is beyond the skill of all but the most experienced operators and hence it is a major bottleneck for production. Furthermore, there is no alternative equipment on the market to address this requirement - thus predicating the need for the Innovate UK grant.
Fig above: 0.1 mm pitch flex PCB laser soldering
If you have a particular application to discuss or wish to be involved in this project, please get in touch using our contact form.