Laser Services has announced expanded capabilities in both ceramic materials inventory and its laser-based machining services for those materials. The company is a major value-added storehouse for a range of ceramic substrates (primarily alumina) from leading suppliers, including Coorstek, CeramTec, and Kyocera. Its large-volume buying power translates into cost savings for customers at both large-scale and small-scale levels. Laser Services' close working relationships with top ceramic suppliers, and subsequent stocking of various types and thicknesses, result in fast service, especially when custom drilling, cutting, or scribing is required. In addition, Laser Services' staff maintains up-to-date details on the critical ceramic material parameters that can impact the mechanical and electrical integrity of a customer's design. These include consistency of dielectric constant, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and dissipation factor. This knowledge, along with decades of specifying high-quality ceramic materials for a wide range of applications, benefits customers in need of matching materials to their own applications. The company's flexible minimum-order requirements help customers specify ceramic materials cost effectively while also eliminating waste.
In addition to its diversified ceramics material inventory, Laser Services offers extensive laser machining services for all types of materials. The company's array of laser-based machine tools includes high-power, mid-power, and low-power lasers to cut, mark, weld, and perform a wide range of machining operations on a variety of materials. A combination of high-power Nd:YAG lasers and high-power CO2 laser systems can accommodate surfaces as large as 5 x 10 feet, while mid-power CO2 systems provide optically aligned precision cuts. The firm's specialized dual-beam and quad-beam mid-power CO2 laser systems can handle extremely detailed designs whether in small prototype runs or large production runs.
Laser Services relies on the latest computer-aided-design (CAD) software tools, including SolidWorks, AutoCad, AlphaCam, and Corel Draw, and accept customer layout files in a variety of different formats, including .dxf, .dwg, and Gerber files. In addition to reviewing a customer’s layout files for accuracy, Laser Services' experienced applications staff will offer guidance on how to ensure the highest yield and the most reliable end-product for a given ceramic material. For quality assurance, the firm uses mechanical and optical measurement equipment, including microscopes and CMM systems, to evaluate final designs with ±6 microns precision. Laser Services meets ISO:9001:2008 and AS9100 quality requirements.
At the 2017 International Microwave Symposium, our two associated brands were discussing the unique substrate and material processing requirements of the RF and microwave industry. What we found was if materials like alumina ceramic from Coorstek, metals, foils, epoxies, microwave absorbers, and other materials are what designers and procurement agents are looking for in a pinch (and they want them to come fully cut, drilled, welded, scribed, etched or marked) a processing partner who stocks these materials becomes an invaluable resource. While material suppliers are often the first source of supply, lead times and minimum orders can throw a monkey wrench into your supply chain when products need to get out the door quickly. Microcircuit manufacturers looking to reduce the cost, time, and materials needed to fabricate their microelectronic circuits are reporting us to be a handy ally. Stocking all major brands of substrate material, Laser Services is an expert at cutting, drilling and scribing; as well as post-processing and ablation. As compared to water-jet cutting which allows for +/- 0.010” feature tolerance, laser cutting can achieve +/- 0.001”.
Our sister company, Accumet, provides ultra-precise lapping, polishing, and diamond cutting of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and ceramic substrates, too. Lapping can be completed from 6 μin to 60 μin and polishing of materials is from 0.1 μin to 5 μin. Accumet can also scribe or dice rectangular or other odd shaped parts up to 0.150” thick in geometries and as small as 0.005” x 0.005”. Accuracy can be held to +/-0.0003”; repeatability to within 0.0001”. Diamond machined edges/ bevels and chamfers can be machined within 0.0005”.
Several technical resources to aid RF and microwave circuit designers in preparing for these process steps can be found at www.laserservicesusa.com/support, including a Tech Brief on how to and where to locate circuit features, and when to include singulation methods, metallization steps, and what material properties and their best applications are.