Laser marking is an integral component of the medical world, aiding in easy traceability, reducing the incidence of counterfeiting of products, and ensuring patient safety. There are many medical laser marking solutions, and selecting the right one depends on what you want to mark, available capital, and other factors. We would take an in-depth look into medical instrument engraving and marking using any medical laser marking solution available.
Why Medical Device Laser Marking
Laser marking involves using a powerful laser beam to create permanent and durable marks on a part. Markings made on parts not limited to medical instruments include logos, serial numbers, barcodes, and images.
The adoption of the laser marking system in the medical industry is due to several reasons, including:
- It is an improvement on conventional engraving or printing technologies.
- Medical laser markingis a non-contact, clean, and eco-friendly process
- Medical laser markinggenerates permanent and visible markings unaffected by the rigorous sterilization processes associated with the medical profession.
- Markings are sterile
- Markings are resistant to cleaning agents, acids, and bodily fluids.
Lasers Marking Technologies for Medical Instruments
Many laser marking technologies are applicable in engraving or marking medical devices. Common medical laser marking technology includes:
● Medical Fiber Laser Marking System
Fiber laser markers have an active laser medium made from optical fiber doped with a rare element such as ytterbium. They are currently the most popular option for laser marking medical device due to their marking quality and compatibility with different materials. Machines such as HS-FL10 can easily laser-mark medical devices with parts made from different materials.
● Medical MOPA Laser Marking System
The MOPA laser marking system moves the medical industry forward with its unique variable pulse duration. It is a versatile and extremely flexible technology for laser marking medical device and they have a wide compatibility with different materials and less heat emission. As a result, they are gentler on certain metal medical devices.
● Medical CO2 Laser Marking System
The long wavelength of the CO2 laser distinguishes it from other laser marking systems used in the medical industry. The laser marking system comprises a CO2 gas as the marking medium and is suitable for laser marking medical instruments made from non-metallic parts, including wood, glass, plastics etc. It is not suitable for metal as it might not absorb light at its laser’s long wavelength.
Medical Laser Marking Solution for Plastic Medical Devices and Parts
Plastics are commonly used in the medical industry due to their ease of sterilization, enhanced safety, cost-effectiveness/availability, and improved patient comfort. As a result, medical plastics are applicable in creating devices like catheters, new heart valves, prosthetics, etc.
The laser marking solution depends on the innate characteristics of the plastic, such as the light-absorbing properties. Generally, fiber laser and CO2 laser markers are the more common option for any plastic part in a medical device. However, there are certain instances, including:
- Some plastics absorb light best in the ultraviolet range, which makes them more compatible with a UV laser marker
- Some plastics contain additives to enhance their absorption properties and are better marked using fiber laser markers such as HS-FL30 is suitable for laser marking medical instruments that requires generating white color on the part
Laser Marking Solution for Metal Medical Devices
Metals are a healthy part of many medical devices and have unique features determining their application. Below is a summary of the medical laser marking system for common metals
- Titanium is one of the most common metals used in the medical part manufacturing industry. It is majorly used as an implant due to its biocompatibility. Hence, laser annealing is a suitable titanium marking However, there is a need to take necessary precautions as the metal is more liable to corrosion attacks.
- For stainless steel parts, care must be taken not to affect the anticorrosion and anti-rust properties. Generally, laser annealing, etching, ablation, engraving, and dark marking are common stainless steel marking Laser annealing is the most appropriate marking solution for stainless steel. This is because engraving may affect its protective layer. Furthermore, stainless steel is the only metal material you can color mark using a MOPA laser. Color supported include red, blue, orange, green, yellow, and purple.
- Aluminum is the second most used metal in the world and is applicable in making trays, bedpans, etc. Laser etching is the most common marking technique for anodized and non-anodized aluminum marking.
Laser Marking Solution for Composite Materials
Composite materials are growing in importance in the medical industry. Composite materials are used in orthopaedic applications, surgeries, implants, and other devices. Their high demand in the medical industry can be attributed to their strength, lightweight, and durability.
You can laser engrave, cut, or mark composite materials. However, the composite comprises more than one material that interacts with laser beams in specific ways. Thus, choosing the right marking wavelength for your application is important and is best done by talking to an expert in laser marking machines such as HeatSign.
Nevertheless, consider a fiber laser due to the wide material compatibility or go for a CO2 laser for materials such as stones, ceramics, and glasses.
Recommended Machines for Laser Marking Medical Instruments and Devices
Although there are several machines in the market, below are a few marking machines suitable for medical devices of different materials.
Laser markers offer amazing marking solutions for different medical devices. There are many types of laser markers with different engraving capabilities. Choosing the most appropriate marking solution for your project is important as it will help save time and money. Are you looking for where to get laser markers for your medical devices? Contact us today to get the value of your money.
We specialize on medical and surgical tools production and have tried this offer in our company. What to say, it is really useful. The process of marking has become easier several times.