With VascuLathe, Aerotech presents an innovative cutting solution for demanding stent production: Its fully integrated movement system combines automated material handling functions with a direct drive for both linear and rotary motions. According to the manufacturer, this integrated linear rotation design enables a two to five-fold increase in throughput compared to conventional drive principles based on ball screws or others. It furthermore allows for manufacturing tolerances in the sub-micrometre range.

“The increased throughput of the VascuLathe system means that medical technology manufacturers need fewer machines to produce the same amount of stents when compared to conventional production methods,” notes Norbert Ludwig, managing director of Aerotech GmbH, based on his practical experience. He further explains that another good reason to use the VascuLathe is its flexibility to cover an increased and varied production demand at the existing production area.

Automated material handling

The VascuLathe is a complete motion and material handling subsystem. It consists of an automated, pneumatically activated ER collet unit and an optional socket/tube feed mechanism, which allows for fully automated sequential production of various stents from raw materials of any length. Furthermore, a wet cutting configuration is available for applications that require coolant to be applied during the cutting process.

Enhanced control architecture

The VascuLathe platform comes with a powerful, yet simple and intuitive Aerotech control system. Without having to do a lot of programming work, users may optimize current, speed and position servo loops for maximum performance. Additional functions such as “Multiblock-Look Ahead” can generate paths to minimize geometrical errors that may occur if the radius is small by “proactively” controlling the cutting speed. The function “Position Synchronized Output” (PSO) lets you control laser pulses with position synch to maintain an optimal laser output link when cutting speeds vary.

Aerotech – Innovations in the entire life science sector

“This new stent manufacturing solution continues our successful line of high performance motion systems and components for medical technology and life science applications,” Mr Ludwig sums up. Aside from stent cutting, other examples from our range of solutions for medical technology includelaser welding systems for cardiac pacemakers and catheters, intraocular lens (IOL) and contact lens manufacturing, DNA and blood sequencing, haptic mills and drills, X-ray equipment, magnetic resonance imaging and CAT scanners. “With our motion systems and components, we offer medical technology manufacturers a competitive advantage in a cutthroat market,” emphasises Mr Ludwig.