Rofin's StarCut Tube uses fibre laser technology specifically designed for tube cutting and processing applications. The combination of this laser technology and up to four servo driven axes means the system can be used to create a diverse range of cutting geometries, including the ability to cut 'off axis'. This has enabled new strut configurations and therefore new stent designs to be produced. Off axis cutting also allows the system to replicate the parallel wall features produced by traditional mechanical milling and EDM processes. New and unusual cutting geometries are also possible, for example spiral cuts or interlinked structures can be produced in just one process operation. These techniques enable the production of flexible or steerable instruments such as those used in endoscopy.
The system can process tubes with diameters of less than 200µm with kerf widths of less than 15µm. The robust machine construction together with linear motor technology enables contour accuracy of +/-5µm and strut widths down to 10µm to be achieved. The system can also achieve fast process times for stent cutting, with the system capable of manipulating the tube at speeds of up to 20 revolutions per second.
StarCut Tube also has the capability to perform wet cutting processes and to engrave and perforate surfaces on medical implants, for instance, the preparation of an implant for drug coating. Engraving and cutting operations are completed in one processing step, thus improving cycle times and reducing manufacturing costs.