The medical industry has used laser technology to mark medical devices for many years. The reliability and the indelible mark that lasers produce have been a great asset to manufacturers. Laser marking and engraving still have the potential to improve and help the medical industry with quality control and product throughput. Until recently, laser marking in the medical industry meant applications such as marking of stainless steel surgical and dental instruments with easily readable mark. Laser marking does not damage the surface - preventing germs from sticking to the surface, and does not damage the chemical processes needed to protect against corrosion – even after years of cleanings and sterilisations.
Laser Marking for Identification
A further use of the laser marking in the medical industry is as the preferred identification processes. Reasons for its increased use include:
- Laser marking ensures high-quality marks,
- high precision
- greater repetition accuracy.
Manufacturers in the medical sector are bound to strict adherence to defined processes. Possible changes to accepted marking templates must therefore be documented in detail. Some suppliers already offer marking machines with integrated vision that are capable of detecting changed component positions and defective or flawed parts and automatically aligning the marking relative to these.
Laser marking delivers quality, reduces waste
To enable smooth, hygienic and long-lasting laser marking on most materials, there is now a wide range of laser technologies, wavelengths, laser powers, and pulse widths to choose from. All such laser marking also has to achieve both internal and external quality assurance and traceability tests. All coding and traceability options are integrated in state-of-the-art laser marking software programs.
Due to the high-cost of most medical devices, waste has a significant impact on profits. Accurate marking is essential to minimise waste as well as to ensure devices are used correctly at all times. Laser marking offers a number of software solutions to reduce error and costs.
Lifetime lasting marks are important weapons against unwarranted claims for medical post- surgery compensation, as each and every part can be completely traced and easily distinguished from copies of any kind. Today, optical control systems also allow for efficient manufacture even when it comes to high-quality work pieces and one-off parts.
Laser marking plays an important role in the medical industry and manufacturers already benefit from laser markings versatility, and cost savings. However, the demands of the sector are likely to evolve in various areas including:
- improved documentation and quality control
- new or sensitive materials
- new technologies
- lower costs
Laser marking manufacturers are looking at ways to offer machines and systems that are more automated and flexible, resulting in less part handling. New equipment will become more efficient, reduce costs and improve the quality of the marked parts.
The sector’s requirements for greater laser cutting applications will always challenge the ability of the technology and the vision of the manufacturers.