Based in Switzerland’s Biel-Bienne, Posalux uses its 73 years of micromachining experience to provide high-precision production solutions. With knowledge of automotive, electronics and watchmaking technology, it builds upon proven machine bases to meet customers’ needs and boost productivity. Director of sales and marketing Christof Kock tells us more.

What are Posalux’s competencies within microtechnologies and the key applications of these within the medical devices industry?

Christof Kock: Posalux employs 120 staff, including almost 40 R&D engineers. The company handles four technology families for our different industries: automotive, printed circuit boards (PCB), watchmaking and medical. We develop and industrialise high-tech machine tools and associated procedures for mass production. Our innovative spirit, links to universities and specialist institutions, and R&D activities make Posalux an expert in microtechnologies and precision micromachining. A key technology for the medical market is our spark-assisted chemical engraving (SACE) technology. Typical applications are found in microfluidics and lab-on-chip devices.

Damage and material deposits can lead to issues when machining glass substrates. How do your solutions eliminate these problems?

We develop our machines and operating processes to restrict occurrences of damage to an absolute minimum. For example, with the glass and quartz machining technology, SACE, we’re able to machine glass without producing burrs and microcracks or creating any tension. This is a big advantage in the next step in the operation: fusion bonding. During the SACE process, the glass is completely dissolved and doesn’t create material deposit. After that, only a simple rinsing of the part is necessary.

How does Posalux’s technology maintain accuracy in microdrilling while increasing productivity?

Based on our experience in microdrilling in non-medical applications, we have specific knowledge in microdrilling and milling. This allows us to serve medical applications where accuracy and material selection are required. Productivity is a key parameter in any application, regardless of the market.

What advantages does your Microfor FEMTO LASER provide?

While the FEMTO LASER technology was originally introduced for surgery, it is now used in many other applications as it allows cutting, drilling and engraving in virtually any material with microscale precision requirements. This cutting-edge technology allows excellent surface roughness (Ra<50nm) and drilling holes with diameters down to 30μm, depending on the material. The geometries are not limited to only cylindrical holes, but can be anything from banana-shaped to rectangular.

Due to cold ablation, there is no heat transfer to surrounding material, meaning there are no deposits, recasts or microcracks. You can work with a range of materials, such as stainless steel, ceramic and polymer, and the configurations of the Posalux LASER-F are available as MONO head, twin head or COMBI head versions (combining milling and laser drilling).

How do you use automation in your machines and processes such as in PCB microdrilling and routing?

Posalux’s accurate and reliable automation options help in a number of situations; for example, for a higher production output, a work shift overnight without operator assistance or machining parts that cannot be handled by humans because of their size or design. Posalux machines are supplied with ports that allow easy connection to the external handling system.

What advantages are afforded by your history as a company and your location in Biel-Bienne?

Posalux is located in the heart of the micromachining industry. We’re surrounded by many watchmaking companies and, in fact, Posalux’s history dates back to the watch industry in 1943. The company has been dedicated to the production of high-precision parts ever since. Over the years, we have become more international and gained experience in the automotive and electronic markets, and Posalux has continuously developed expertise in micromachining. This has led to industrial solutions that satisfy requirements for small and medium batches, as well as mass production. It is these solutions that Posalux seeks to open up to the medical industry, which demands solutions that integrate different procedures for mass production.