Surgical tool designs confirm laser machining can fabricate structure

Jan. 31, 2014
Miyachi America Corp. and Penn State researchers improve designs for articulation in surgical tool tips using super-elastic Nitinol.

Monrovia, CA - Miyachi America Corp. recently participated in innovative research conducted at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) on improving designs for articulation in surgical tool tips used in natural orifice transluminal endoscopy surgery. Researchers from Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory and the departments of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and Energy Engineering proposed that using an articulation structure made of super-elastic Nitinol (a metal alloy of nickel and titanium) would provide significant benefits compared to 316 stainless steel.

The researchers fabricated the meso-scale articulation structure with two laser systems, including Miyachi America’s Sigma Tube cutter using single-mode pulsed fiber laser technology. The parts provided by Miyachi America were successfully used to fabricate the Nitinol parts and developed a family of designs, which they evaluated for both Nitinol and stainless steel. The work predicted that the proposed Nitinol structure would provide a large blocked force and articulation angle, two factors that make it a particularly promising concept for surgical devices.

The new cutting system provides excellent edge quality for both metals and plastics, making it useful for medical device applications, including a wide range of diameter tubes and stents. Ultrafast lasers offer a unique ability to process a wide range of materials without thermal effects. The Jenoptik disc laser integrated into the Miyachi system offers good cut quality achieved with superior beam quality and pulsing characteristics. Combined with Miyachi America’s precision cutting Sigma platform and proprietary Delta Motion control software, the system offers high resolution, high quality cutting.

Post processing is minimal, with only ultrasonic cleaning required for materials like Nitinol. The nearly cold cutting process means very fine feature sizes can be cut into the thinnest material, while still maintaining mechanical and material integrity. No internal water cooling is needed for even the smallest diameter tube.


(Image via Shutterstock)

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