Manz Enters Laser Glass Cutting for Medical

Microscope slides, lenses and displays: The M-Cut laser cutting process knows no limits when it comes to workpiece geometry. (Source: Manz)

Manz, a German high-tech equipment manufacturer, has transferred its expertise in laser cutting of glass into the medical technology sector. The DLC 820 laser cutting system was specially developed for the fully automated production of wafer-thin microscope glass. The technology is based on Manz’s M-Cut laser cutting process, which has proven itself e.g. in the production of cover glass for smartphones and tablet computers as being particularly material friendly and clean.

The fully automated laser cutting system DLC 820 is currently the top model in the new DLC series of freely configurable laser cutting systems from Manz. Its laser cutting process used is suitable for the highest demands in terms of precision and purity in medical technology. M-Cut stands for modification cut: An ultra-short pulsed picosecond laser thinly modifies the glass substrate to be processed along a line that is only two microns thick – similar to a perforation. Microscope slides and cover glasses can then be separated mechanically in variable geometries. The DLC 820 operates fully automatically around the clock and can be tool-free adjusted to new cutting-geometries just by software control. The cutting speed is up to 1.8 meters per second compared to about 0.4 meters in traditional mechanical cutting processes.

The quality of the DLC 820 also sets highest standards: With the use of the M-Cut process, a cutting edge whose quality is significantly higher than with conventional mechanical scoring with a diamond wheel can be realized. The mechanical solution can cause chippings, that affect the glass substrate’s break resistance. Compared to other laser cutting processes, where the glass is either melted or evaporated, this process offers further tremendous advantages: The edge roughness is less than half a micron; M-Cut also prevents micro cracks or slight discolorations of the material caused by the high temperature of the laser.

DLC 820 for highest demands in terms of precision and purity in medical technology (Source: Manz)

Microscope slides and cover glass for medical research and practice are usually mechanically cut with traditional methods. The variety is quite high. Around the world, dozens of different dimensions in up to ten different glass thicknesses between six and sixty micrometers are in demand and used in quantities in the billions by the medical and pharmaceutical sector. “With this machine, manufacturers can significantly increase the efficiency of their production, not just because the throughput is more than four times higher than with mechanical cutting processes,” says Anders Pennekendorf, product manager for DLC laser cutting systems at Manz. “In addition, complex setup times are no longer necessary with our systems, and all processes can be configured using the software alone.”

In addition to microscope slides, the production spectrum of the entire DLC line also includes display glasses made of chemically strengthened glass and sensor-based biochips for automated, high-frequency analyses in molecular biology.

The system can processes glass substrates with dimensions of up to 1.5 by 1.5 meters, is fully automated, tool-free, configurable through software control: no setup times with production stops, fast format changes in small batches, and inline measurement technology can be easily integrated – automatic corrections during the process, resulting in consistently high quality and output. (Source: Manz)

Link: Technology: laser cutting, Manz, Reutlingen, Germany

 

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