Laser marking on medical devices

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Laser marking on medical devices is necessary to ensure product quality, preventing counterfeiting and thus increasing patient safety.

UDI code is mandatory for manufacturers in almost all countries worldwide.  For this reason, Laser marking has taken on a key role in the process of manufacturing medical devices of all safety classes.

Advantages of laser marking on stainless steel, titanium, plastic

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Resists corrosion

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Biologically compatible

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Safer than any other technology

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UDI code laser marking

The UDI (Unique Alphanumeric Identification) code is applied to medical devices to ensure product Traceability, benefiting both manufacturers and the patients themselves. The code is mandatory and serves to guarantee:

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Laser marking on medical devices

Laser marking is the most widely used technology in medical industries, as it ensures the highest standards of safety and durability.

Direct marking in the medical industry follows a precise code system – GS1-128 and GS1 Datamatrix – containing mandatory information for traceability purposes.

Our laser marker uses the following processes to apply these codes:

The UDI code must be visible to the human eye and applied to all devices, which can be divided into the following categories:

Laser marking resists corrosion and chemical agents. The result is permanently visible and does not fade. Laser marking is the most reliable tool for operating room devices, as the dimensional symbols (on scalpels for example) are functional for surgeons during operations. Laser marking thus plays a fundamental role.

GS1-128 LINEAR BARCODE (commonly used for UDI data capture)
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DI (Device Identifier)

Mandatory, it is the fixed part of the UDI code that identifies the product and the specific version or model
PI (Production Identifier)
Conditional, is the variable part of the UDI encoding that can include one or more of the following information:

Laser marking process: Annealing

Annealing is the most common laser marker process used on medical components. Annealing gives an impalpable surface laser marking. The surface is completely smooth to the touch. Unlike other marking and engraving processes, there is no material removal. The surface is therefore unaltered and the marking defined.

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Marking on stainless steel

Detergents, disinfectants, sterilization and passivation processes can corrode the UDI codes on stainless steel medical devices. A preventive study of these factors can avoid this scenario, as can setting ideal marking parameters to ensure long-lasting results and unchanged contrast.

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Marking on plastic and UV laser

For plastics, usually test-tubes or very thin tubes, LASIT has replaced the UV technology with laser technology that marks all medical devices while maintaining high-quality standards.

Fly UV

Fly UV colors the surface of the product with a photochemical process and the heat produced by the marking is so limited that it does not damage the component.

With a typical pulse duration of 20 ns and a beam diameter of 10 µm, the FlyUV processes surfaces without damaging them, unlike normal infrared marking on plastics. This laser is ideal for the medical sector (catheters and insulin pumps can be given a durable marking, resistant to sterilization), and for glass components which can be watermarked.

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Laser marking: resistance to the passivation cycle

In the LASIT Laser Test laboratory, we carry out resistance tests of the laser marking to citric passivation cycles, with a subsequent verification of material oxidation through a 24-hour salt spray cycle. In this way, we can guarantee that the specific laser we use to carry out the tests maintains the quality and functionality of our customers’ products unaltered.

Picosecond laser marker: no reflection

Picosecond laser, a unique fiber laser technology, has gained renown in the medical world for its unrivalled results on metal components. The main advantage is the total absence of reflection on the laser marking, no matter what the angle of light. Moreover, the Picosecond laser is three times faster than the traditional fiber laser in terms of production

The ultra-short pulse duration allows the Picosecond laser to mark materials where traditional nanosecond infrared lasers can’t. Its almost cold ablation also makes it suitable for a wide range of materials and applications, virtually eliminating heat transmission on components.

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A customized solution for implantology components, designed by LASIT

Implantology components are extremely delicate. This factor, together with the demand for multi-sided marking, made it necessary to create a laser marker with an anthropomorphic robot to take the parts from the template and position them under the laser head at all the required angles and inclinations.

The exact centering and positioning of each component by the robot under the laser offers not only an aesthetic value for the marking of alphanumeric codes, but also a functional value: alignment notches, which are essential for correct insertion of the prostheses in the operating room, were also marked on the prostheses.

Since the same machine marks all three components, the laser marking machine is equipped with a multi-magazine and a fully automatic pick-up and positioning system.

Once the pallets have been loaded into the magazine, the laser marker works without the need for an operator: the software identifies the type of component through a specific Datamatrix code, sets the corresponding marking, and starts the cycle.

Watch our video of the FlyRobot marking process.

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