Carbon fiber lightens medical laser chassis
Reduced weight shortens surgical and diagnostic procedures.
Lasers have been used in industry since the 1960s. They are now commonly employed in many surgical procedures, such as cataract, tumor and lesion removal, vision correction, and cosmetic surgery, and they also play a role, today, in a wide range of medical diagnostic procedures. Dexcraft (Wołomin, Poland) manufactures medical laser chasses, using carbon fiber-reinforced epoxy composites. “It lightens the chassis by roughly 40%, resulting in a 4-kg weight vs. aluminum at 6.5 kg,” says owner Artur Kiliański. “The lower weight makes the laser move faster, which reduces the time required for medical procedures and makes the laser easier to control.” The much lower starting cost offered by manufacturing with carbon fiber composites also is a key benefit. “The molds only require a 3D drawing,” notes Kiliański, and he says the cost of mold build is about €3,000-€4,000 (US$3,410-US$4,550).
“Starting manufacture of this element from aluminum or steel is much more expensive,” he contends, pointing out that this is especially true for manufacturers who produce specialty items
at low volumes, for example, 50-100 units per year. Carbon fiber also helped Dexcraft’s customer to differentiate its products. “The client wanted to offer a lightweight, premium-quality product, and the easily recognized look of aesthetic carbon fiber connotes both immediately.”
Dexcraft provides custom carbon composite manufacturing. The company also supplies pre-cured sheet laminates and other standard products for the automotive aftermarket, sporting goods and consumer goods markets.
Impressive industry growth puts a new emphasis on the role of carbon fiber recycling.
The structural properties of composite materials are derived primarily from the fiber reinforcement. Fiber types, their manufacture, their uses and the end-market applications in which they find most use are described.
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.