Laser trimmed Components for the Electronics Industry by Tek Pak, Inc.
Tek Pak was approached to make a thermoformed part (we can’t show a picture due to confidentiality) using a proprietary, laminated film. The first challenge in producing the part was to refine the thermoforming step so that the layers of the film were maintained such that the properties of the film were not compromised. We engineered a new heating process that achieved this goal, but we were only halfway there.
The second challenge for this part was to punch a pattern of openings, approximately 1 mm in size that occurred on similarly-sized formed features of the part. We initially built matched-metal punch tooling to do this, and we were able to realize the precise registration that was required.
This would have been the end of the story except that our customer needed several different sizes and shapes of these parts produced, some of which required over 300 of these openings. It became quickly apparent that manufacturing hardened punch tooling (8-week lead time and high cost) for a plurality of different parts was not practical and was limiting the growth of the program.
This is when we turned to laser trimming. Using a 100 watt CO2 laser with a high-speed precision scan head, we were able to develop a system to quickly laser cut the requisite openings in the formed parts with the same registration precision that we achieved by mechanical punching. We can now be running production on a new part within a week, instead of 8 weeks, using the laser for trimming because only programming and a relatively simple holding fixture for the part are required.
Laser trimming has drastically shortened our initial production lead time and tooling costs, and has made this product line very successful for our customer. We currently produce over one million of these parts annually.
Laser Trimmed Component Capabilties