Cutting of brittle and transparent materials, like glass, is nothing less than a key technology for global mass markets. Smart phone and tablet shipments alone will surpass 1.5 billion units in 2014. Not to mention television and computer screens or upcoming devices like smart watches. ROFIN is now able to offer the most-advanced, all-laser cutting process for glass, sapphire, ceramics and other transparent, brittle materials: The IP protected SmartCleave™ FI laser cutting process.
Cutting display glass can be massively improved
Cutting glass with conventional, mechanical methods like diamond scribing and breaking is a relatively inexpensive process, but it comes with significant drawbacks due to relatively low scribing quality (micro-cracks, chipping) and accuracy. Typically, a number of additional time-consuming processing steps like grinding, masking and etching are necessary to remove the damage that had been introduced by mechanical processes, as well as to eventually achieve the required tolerance of the parts outer dimensions. Furthermore, mechanical methods quickly reach their limits, when complex geometries, like small radii, have to be generated Tool wear and the applied mechanical forces can lead to a significant amount of glass breakage and reduced production yields. Therefore, the glass manufacturing industry is always looking for alternative technologies to cut glass and other brittle, transparent materials with low damage and higher yields.
Limited laser cutting alternatives so far
Some laser processes are already used in glass manufacturing, but so far a single laser process has not been able to provide a comprehensive solution. Sometimes lasers are used to just drill holes or cut areas of complex shapes in an ablative method. But those processes would be way to slow to be applied on a full device. Fast laser processes, like CO2-laser cutting still show accuracy limitations, especially when it comes to contour cuts. So, today often a combination of one (or more) laser and mechanical processes can be found in production of glass- or sapphire-based device production.
SmartCleave™ FI - a true game changer
SmartCleave™ FI is a kerf-less separation process for strengthened (chemically and thermally) and non-strengthened glass of 100 µm to 10 mm thickness and other brittle materials. It achieves greater 300 mm/s cutting speed. Straight, curved, angled and chamfered contours are possible as well as cutting of tubular or curved parts or stacks.
SmartCleave™ FI offers unmatched cutting quality with minimal micro-cracking and chipping and a surface roughness of Ra < 1µm. Parts cut with SmartCleave™ FI retain high bend strength and require minimal post-processing.
Depending on material and thickness the parts are self-cleaving or just require little force or stress to cleave. This leads to a dramatic reduction of process steps and higher yield in industrial mass production. And finally it's a green technology without water use.
IP protected and unique
Through a recently completed asset deal, ROFIN acquired all intellectual property including trademarks, know-how, patents and patent applications of FiLaser USA LLC which are the foundation of SmartCleave™ FI. This technology opens the door to huge application area, especially but not at all limited to the consumer electronics area.
Exhibitor: ROFIN-BAASEL Lasertech GmbH & Co. KG