a) 1.00 mm b)
38 Industrial Laser Solutions MAY/JUNE 2015 www.industrial-lasers.com
for high-quality machining of a wide variety of transparent or semi-transparent,
brittle materials at high process speeds
demanded by industrial users. ✺
ClearShape is a trademark of Spectra-
Physics, while Spirit is a registered trademark of Spectra-Physics.
1. C. Momma et al., Opt. Commun., 129, 134–142 (1996).
2. A. Ancona et al., Opt. Express, 16, 8958–8968 (2008).
3. B. N. Chichkov, C. Momma, S. Nolte, F. von Alvensleben, and
A. Tünnermann, Appl. Phys. A, 63, 109–115 (1996).
4. C. Y. Chien and M. C. Gupta, Appl. Phys. A: Mater. Sci.
Process., 81, 1257–1263 (2005).
5. F. Dausinger, F. Lichter, and H. Lubatschowski, Femtosecond
Technology for Technical and Medical Applications, Springer,
Heidelberg, Germany (2004).
6. J. König, S. Nolte, and A. Tünnermann, Opt. Express, 13,
7. F. Hendricks, J. Aus der Au, and V. V. Matylitsky, Appl. Phys.
A, 117, 149–153 (2014).
VICTOR MATYLITSKY ( victor.matylitsky@
spectra-physics.at) and FRANK HENDRICKS are with
Spectra-Physics, Rankweil, Austria, and RAJESH
PATEL is with Spectra-Physics, Santa Clara, CA.
FIGURE 4. An example of a 6.4mm-diameter round window that would be used for a
camera lens cover, cut from a 0.43mm-thick sapphire wafer with the ClearShape process
using the Spirit 1040-IMC laser. A cutting time of < 0.5 s/window was achieved. (a) shows
the sapphire window after the laser processing and before the cleaving, while (b) shows
the top view of the round window after the cleaving step.
When extreme quality or minimal heat
input is needed, the options to consider
are ultrafast picosecond and femtosecond
lasers. These two laser families produce
pulse widths that are
extremely short: pico-
seconds are 10-12 s
are 10-15 s. The
pulses are so short
that the material does
not have time to conduct any heat from the
process area into the
This so-called “cold
the best-qual-ity results, but such a high-quality level
comes at a steep price. Ultrafast lasers
cost about 25 times more than CO2 lasers,
and about 5 times that of a 532/355 nm
laser. They may be appropriate for very
high-value products or for those with
extremely small wires (50µm in diameter),
where very fine control is needed.
Laser wire stripping systems
In medical device manufacturing, the wires
are typically part of a production line. They
are not usually processed in reel-to-reel
machines; rather, they are processed
in either a manual or automated load
machine that handles the wire pieces one
at a time at the required length.
Essentially, the wire stripper can either
rotate the wire or use multiple heads to
remove the insula-
tion from the station-
ary wire. Sometimes
the process, rather
than the manufactur-
ing environment, dic-
tates which of these techniques is used.
As always, the best solution is based on a
clear understanding of both the application and production needs.
FIGURE 4 shows a laser ablation system
recently developed by Amada Miyachi
America, which includes high-speed galvo
beam steering and a custom wire feed and
rotating mechanism that achieves accu-
rate and repeatable wire positioning. Also
included are several proprietary features
needed to manage heat balance in the part
during the ablation process; the features
facilitate clean removal of the insulation
material, while fully protecting the delicate
metal wire substrate.
This approach also includes a self-cleaning mechanism that removes sticky debris
from the ablation process area that might
have contaminated tooling. In
effect, the system has a dual
cleaning process: the vac-
uum on the laser itself, along
with a high-tech “toothbrush”
that mechanically cleans the
tooling after every operation.
This self-cleaning feature
allows tens of thousands of
wires to be run with minimal
Use of lasers for wire stripping transforms a key step in
the process to a lean operation. The key to the success of wire stripping processes is the development of the
process itself. To make the right decision
on which laser source and removal methodology works best, it is absolutely essential to test possible options in an application laboratory with a range of lasers. The
resulting system solution will then be optimal in both process and implementation. ✺
GEOFF SHANNON ( geoff.shannon@amadamiyachi.
com) is with Amada Miyachi America, Monrovia, CA;
FIGURE 4. A laser
ablation system for
FEMTOSECOND LASER PROCESSING OF BRITTLE MATERIALS continued from page 35