Laser engraving, marking & etching

Laser Marking Medical Instruments and Implantable Devices by Laser Impressions Inc.

A number of variables can affect the final outcome when laser etching medical instruments and implantable devices. The wavelength of light, laser power, speed and frequency all have an impact on the final result of the laser etched or laser marked medical device. Because medical device laser marking and laser etching requires high precision and tight tolerances, it’s important to find a laser engraving company with expertise and experience working with medical device manufacturers. Laser Impressions Inc., with over 35 years of experience, is that company.

Advantages of Laser Marking Medical Instruments

Laser marking is quickly becoming the industry standard for marking medical devices. The laser marking process is quite versatile. Below are common reasons why professionals in the medical industry require laser etching over other methods to mark medical devices:

  • Enhanced legibility
  • Longevity
  • Durability
  • Precision
  • Temperature-resistance (particularly during sterilization)
  • Bio-compatibility of the base material
  • Environmentally friendly

Professionals regularly require laser marking services for their medical devices to accomplish a number of different goals. Below are some common applications of laser etching:

  • Traceability of products
  • Identification of products
  • Branding
  • To give functional information about components

Materials Suitable to Be Laser Marked

Laser marking is a process that is suitable for nearly any type of material that needs to be marked with precision. Laser Impressions utilizes a proprietary, no-contact system that is appropriate for nearly any type of material from plastic to steel. Using YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) lasers, 532nm Green Laser marking equipment and C02 Lasers, Laser Impressions is able to work with all shapes, sizes and materials for medical applications. Devices or materials that are too difficult to mark using ink or other methods can often, easily be etched using our state-of the art, high-speed laser equipment.

Below are example materials that we work with regularly to produce repeatable, precise results:

  • Polymers, Plastics and PEEK
  • Stainless steel, 17-4, 303, 304, 316
  • Aluminum, Anodized, Alodine coated, powder coated
  • Titanium, Titanium Nitride Coated, Anodized
  • Other metal alloys

The Laser Marking Medical Instruments Process

There are different laser marking processes that we use at Laser Impressions to achieve the most functional results for medical components and devices.

Laser Engraving and Laser Etching: A high-powered laser is used to melt and ablate the material, leaving behind engraved words or logos. In some cases oxides form during the process, adding even more contrast to the laser engraved mark.

Laser Annealing: By locally heating the material in question, a thin layer of oxide forms. Most common with stainless steel and titanium medical instruments and implantable devices.

Laser Bleaching or Coloring: This process is most commonly used on plastic materials. Laser bleaching and coloring occurs when the chemical structure of the molecules that make up the material or plating are changed through the application of laser light.

Foaming: This process can only be used on certain types of plastics. Through a careful calibration of laser parameters, it is possible to melt the plastics locally to create gas bubbles inside the material. The result is a raised surface of air pockets in the shape of words or images inside the material.

Material Removal: Materials that have been plated can often be marked by removing the plating with the laser. For example, the anodizing on aluminum can be removed using laser technologies to create clear, clean markings.

To speak with a laser etching expert at Laser Impressions about your next laser etching project, call (800) 344-LASER or send us an email.

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