Complex assemblies involve structural laser welds. Hammill Medical handles the entire process from component manufacturing through assembly and then laser weld culminating in the final inspection and proper function verification process and then cleaning and passivating the assembly prior to shipment to the customer.
What is Laser Welding?
Welding is a common technique used to join two pieces of metal together. Our laser welding uses a laser beam as the heat source to melt and fuse the metal without the fillers that are required in other welding processes. The high-heat of the laser beam is concentrated, resulting in smaller heat-affected zones that ultimately enable precise and high-quality welds. Lasers can weld at different depth penetrations forming surface welds, or deep welds, and are especially effective on tough-to-weld materials such as titanium.
How Hammill Uses Laser Welding Technologies
Laser welding is a key technology for manufacturing many of our complex implantable devices produce. The ability to weld without introducing a filler material is extremely important for medical implant components. By melting the components together there is a tighter joint and less risk of failure or rejection. For example, the pedicle screws we produce are made up of multiple parts. the upper cap (or upper tulip) and the lower cap (or lower tulip), are welded together to form one piece. The saddle is encapsulated in between them. Utilizing a Trumpf TruLaser cell the welding process is automated to ensure precision welds on each assembly.
The Importance of Laser Welding to the Hammill’s Implants
Advanced spinal surgery is successful with high-quality components. The importance of this technology enables successful repair of such conditions as scoliosis, disk degeneration, and spinal fusion with few problems for the patient or surgeon.
A great example of a laser welded component used during surgical repair is a case in which a diseased disk is removed and a titanium device is inserted in its place. The corpectomy cage has an adjustment capability and acts as a jack to properly align the spine. In 6-8 weeks fusion of bone, biologics, and allographs occur and the titanium device remains as part of the fused vertebral repair.
In another instance, the aforementioned pedicle screws are widely used throughout spine surgeries and are extremely important to the system. Rods are often used to realign the spine and pedicle screws are required to hold the rods in place. Surgeons could use up to ten pedicle screws per procedure. Implants and components manufactured by laser welding capabilities have the strength and durability to meet the requirements of demanding medical applications. When complex assemblies are made up of multiple parts, laser welding provides the best outcome.