Transitioning From Mechanical to Laser Micro Machining

We’ve noticed that more PCB, flex manufacturers, and micro machining shops are starting to make the transition from mechanical to laser processing. Whether it be for routing, drilling, or cutting, laser seems to be the faster and ideal solution to meet the growing demand for finer features on thinner, unique materials.

Laser processing systems are costly due to the expensive components and the laser itself. Don’t be scared by the price tag though, there are ways to go around it such as special financing or purchasing older generation or refurbished systems. If there aren’t any available used or refurbished options, opt towards dual laser for more versatility. One system with a combination of lasers enable multiple processes in one set-up and will save costs compared to buying two lasers and will enhance your material processing capability if you use two different wavelengths and laser types.

Return On Investment
It might be a good investment to buy an inhouse laser system if there’s such a high demand that almost all the jobs have to be sent out. Eventually, the cost of the outsourcing all the jobs will exceed the price of an actual system. Getting an in-house system will shorten lead time, save money, and increase competitive advantage. It is more beneficial for the growth of the company to have the micro machining capabilities in house.

Advantages of laser processing:

Controllable depth and inner/outer diameter
Straightforward process monitoring
Cleaner and non-contact machining
Little to no heat-affected zone, free of burr and bulging
Finer features and lines
Faster speed and precision
Consistent machining quality
No additional tooling costs by wear
No solvents or chemicals

We want to help smaller, local, custom PCB manufacturers transition from mechanical to laser. For more information or to send over samples for testing, contact one of our laser experts at sales@nsi-usa.com.

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