The cutting of polyimide (also known as Kapton or Cirlex) with laser systems is characterized by its high level of precision, quick turn around and flexibility.
As an alternative to tool-based die cutting, it offers many advantages.
- Laser cutting uses exact precision to create any design without limitation, much lower tolerance compared to plotting or traditional die cutting.
- No extra tooling cost is required for laser cutting.
- Lower MOQ for fabricating complex and simple parts alike on a prototyping or production basis.
Laser effect on Polyimide, Kapton and Cirlex
Polyimides are excellent absorbers of CO2 laser energy. When the polymer absorbs laser energy, it quickly converts optical energy into heat. The material just outside of the laser’s path will conduct some heat, this heat affected zone of the polyimide films will be black and carbonized. This black char and residues can be cleaned up using a cotton swab with some isopropyl alcohol
For clean cuts, wavelength is the secret sauce. Kapton and polyimide can also be laser cut with a UV pulsed lasers. This matches the absorption bands of kapton (10.6 um)and allows cleaner cutting.