Fiber Laser Ablation in the Electronics Industry
The case for fiber laser ablation
The term laser ablation refers to the controlled removal of materials from a component. It is an accurate and high-speed process that uses fiber lasers to home in on the material and remove it. For example, the process can be used to remove metal foils and conductive inks from a component. Fiber laser ablation has certain advantages that are unparalleled in the industry for cutting and removal of materials.
Fiber laser ablation is a non-contact-based process that removes unwanted materials very quickly with great accuracy. The process is controlled and there is no blackening or scorching over a large area. The process creates greater efficiency and productivity and reduces the lead time taken to manufacture electronic components. The applications of fiber laser ablation in the electronic industry range across a number of areas that include RFID antennas, heating elements, touch screen components that are conductive and the creation of conductive circuits for electronic products.
The use of fiber lasers in the electronics industry
Fiber lasers are used extensively for laser cutting operations in the electronics industry. The singular, most important reason for this is that lasers can cut extremely small and intricate parts. The miniaturization wave across electronics industries over the last 40 years has seen components and circuits becoming smaller and smaller. Thus, the industry cannot depend anymore on traditional cutting methods, operated by humans. These are fraught with error, inaccurate and cannot precision cut small, miniaturised components.
The industry needed a method that was fast, fully automated, very precise and capable of switching between materials of different specifications, across multiple applications. Electronics need to also have aesthetic appeal, and cutting operations need to deliver a solution that creates a smooth finish and creates a product for the end user that’s ready to market.
Being a contactless, controlled and accurate process, it does not cause heat damage to the surrounding areas of the electronic component. This also reduces maintenance costs across the entire spectrum of operations, along with a far lower consumption of energy, thereby saving energy bills as well.
Lastly, there is the consideration of health and safety at the workplace. Laser cutting is very safe when compared to other cutting methods, which have the actual cutting tool exposed and moving freely. Laser processes, on the other hand, have the laser beam enclosed inside a light box. Fiber lasers provide a far greater level of safety and security, which makes them a popular choice.
Use of fiber lasers to cut printed circuit boards
Laser cutting is not limited to cutting out plastic and metal parts that cover mobiles. It is used extensively across both the electronics and the semiconductor industry. This comes in the shape of USD cards and printed circuit boards. Lasers can be used to work on a variety of components like multilayer circuitry, flexible circuit boards, etc. So, we can see that lasers are very versatile during a number of operations, and can work across a wide range of components. One of the greatest benefits of using laser technology is that no additional space needs to be left around the circuit board while cutting, as a highly accurate cut can be achieved using lasers.
Due to the use of a number of different materials used, lasers make a great solution due to their flexibility and adaptability for a range of operations. Fiber lasers are the solution of choice for working with metals like copper, different alloys, zinc and steel. At the same time, they work equally well for plastics and composites.
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