The right technology for your project
Each metal working technique has its own advantages and limitations. Although a component can be made in several different ways, it’s important to choose an efficient manufacturing method based on the component requirements (accuracy – finishing – …).
Laser cutting is for prototypes and stamping for high volume?
Stamping lead frames
Stamping is well known for its mass production capabilities while laser cutting is mainly linked to prototypes. The following example will demonstrate that this superficial thought is not always correct.
Lead frames, as shown in the picture on top of this page, are electrical contacts with complex shapes and small details. Most leadframes are mass-produced with (micro) stamping technology. However, when there’re highly complex shapes combined with a lot of small holes, the technique of micro laser cutting becomes interesting.
Micro laser cutting lead frames
Fine laser cutting with a micro fiber laser makes it possible to produce high detailed and complex leadframes. Electrical leadframes are mostly made in thin material (metal foil) and contain often a lot of small holes that are difficult to produce with punching tools. So, no matter the volume, in some cases it’s the component requirements and tolerances that determine the manufacturing method.
The accuracy of the leadframes are on some dimensions +/-0,01mm. For maintaining and assuring this tolerance, several parameters must be set right (but in this case-study, we will not go into too much detail concerning this topic, if interested there’s a case study committed to this subject).
Other positive properties of micro laser cutting
Besides the ability to produce high precision and small details/holes, there’re a few other elements that make micro laser cutting attractive;
- Stress free cutting
- Efficient nesting: due to small cutting width, it’s possible to program a very material efficient nesting
- Smooth edges after cutting
- Lead times