Pioneering work confirms laser machining can be used to fabricate structure
Miyachi America Corporation, a leading manufacturer of welding equipment and laser processing systems, recently participated in innovative research conducted at Penn State on improving designs for articulation in surgical tool tips used in natural orifice transluminal endoscopy surgery (NOTES).
Researchers from Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and the departments of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and Energy Engineering proposed that using an articulation structure made of superelastic NiTiNOL (a metal alloy of nickel and titanium) would provide significant benefits compared to 316 stainless steel. They fabricated the meso-scale articulation structure with two laser systems, including Miyachi America’s Sigma Tube cutter using single mode pulsed fiber laser technology.
The parts provided by Miyachi America were successful used to fabricate the NiTiNOL parts and developed a family of designs, which they evaluated for both NiTiNOL and stainless steel. The work predicted that the proposed NiTiNOL structure would provide a large blocked force and articulation angle, two factors that make it a particularly promising concept for NOTES surgical devices.
The cut quality from the Miyachi America single mode pulsed fiber laser system were significantly better than the alternative, a Q-switched, 355 nm laser, with a clean, smooth cut and a reduced visible HAZ. A number of factors including optimized laser parameters, using internal water cooling during cutting, small spot size and single mode beam profile enabled cutting with minimal heat input to localize heat effects.
“Miyachi America has a long history of participating in laser materials processing research of all kinds,” said Mark Rodighiero, VP of new product development. We are pleased by the success of the Penn State team and look forward to future involvement in this pioneering research initiative.”