Laser Cutting in the Electronics Industry

We’ve previously looked at how lasers are used to cut materials, parts and components to form larger finished products in the aerospace and automotive industries due to parts becoming much smaller and more intricate.

This has been the same for the electronics industry. Gone are the days where computers need to be the size of rooms. Now we have computers in our hands’ thanks to advances with smartphones. This means that the electronic parts themselves, and the finished products that they complete, have become minute.

As the finished products have adapted, so too have the manufacturing processes that happen behind the scenes. One such development is using lasers to cut, and below we have looked at how this has impacted the various industries which comprise electronics.

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Some background information on the electronics industry

The electronics industry is, unsurprisingly, a huge industry. As the world has become increasingly digital and technological, there has been an ever-increasing need to develop electronic parts and products.

The world has seen an increase in the electronics industry at a rate of around 5% per year, especially thanks to the increase in consumer electronics. This includes items  such as smart phones, tablets, and TVs, helping the industry to have an expected worth of $838.35 billion by 2020.

Increased research and development into this industry sees parts getting smaller, products getting produced faster, all while looking for ways to increase efficiency and power while reducing costs.

Laser cutting is one of the reason we can use devices such as these

Laser cutting is one of the reason we can use devices such as these

Looking at a process that contains all of these factors, laser cutting was a natural choice. Below we have looked in more detail at how and why laser cutting is used within the electronics industry.

Why is laser cutting used in the electronics industry?

The biggest reason that laser cutting finds such widespread use within the electronics industry is because of its ability to cut tiny and intricate parts. With these parts getting smaller in size, it was crucial to move away from more conventional methods of cutting that relied on human eyes.

Laser cutting was the answer to this. An automated process that can quickly switch between multiple applications and materials, it is able to cut small parts with ultimate precision and accuracy. All of this while leaving a smooth finish and a reliable end product.

Alongside this, laser cutting also causes minimal heat damage to the surrounding area of the electronic part as it is a non-contact process, it has low maintenance costs, only requires cheap replacement parts, and uses a much lower power consumption than other processes. This is typically around 10Kw compared to the 50Kw of other cutting processes.

Finally, it is one of the safest forms of cutting processes on the market. While conventional methods will have the cutting tool running free, the laser beam used within laser cutting is required to be enclosed within a light box. When working with such small parts at such a rapid speed, this is a necessary and welcome addition to the electronics industry.

How is laser cutting used in the electronics industry?

Below we have looked at some of the many applications that laser cutting has for the electronics industry.

The laser cutting of components

Laser cutting is used to cut components which make up the finished products, such as the plastic and metal which encases mobile phones.

Whether it’s the components themselves or the composite materials used, laser cutting is great at working with many materials aside from metal.

The laser cutting of uSD cards and printed circuit boards

The electronics industry and semi-conductor industry are two closely related industries due to the use of uSD cards and printed circuit boards, which laser cutting helps to cut. Whether it’s multilayer circuit boards, flexible circuit boards or another type entirely, laser cutting is an adaptable process capable of working with a wide range of parts and products.

The biggest benefit that laser cutting provides to the cutting of circuit boards is that no space has to be left free for the cutting process as was previously done Now circuit boards can be manufactured at an even smaller rate, safe in the knowledge that laser cutting will have no problems cutting it down.

Where else will you find laser cutting being used?

As well as the electronics, aerospace and automotive industries, you can also find the benefits of laser cutting being applicable to other sectors such as medical and semi-conductor too.

If you have more questions about laser cutting itself, or want to know how our range of Continuous Wave Fiber Lasers and Pulsed Fiber Lasers can help, don’t hesitate to give us a call.


Image credits: JESHOOTS and William Iven


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