One medical device manufacturer had a seal product that needed to be trimmed from its mold sprues. Unfortunately these seals did not hold their shape, were extremely pliable, and required tight tolerance cuts to make an acceptable assembly. The trimming process could not pull, stretch, or tear the material before cutting each gate free with no burrs.
Invotec designed and built a system that uses a laser cutting method to accomplish this task. The system works like this:
First the irregular shape of each pliable seal is captured with a vision system to identify the gate locations that attach it to the sprue.
Then coordinate position off-sets are calculated for each gate location and sent to an X-Y linear servo stage that positions the seal below a laser to obtain precise cuts to remove (or de-gate) the seal from the sprue.
Finally the laser cut line follows the position feedback information delivered to the servo positioning stage from the vision inspection system.
This system allows our customer to complete the required trim which was previously not feasible in their production environment. Laser trimming eliminated the high maintenance required with traditional line-to-line, high tolerance trimming dies and provided a higher yield of acceptable seals where the profile and cut locations were known before processing.
Additionally the solution provides a high degree of flexibility that allows for a rapid change between models and a reduced tooling inventory. Programming changes provide the capability to adapt to new models without re-tooling or purchasing new capital equipment.
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