Why is laser marking used in the medical industry?
The medical technology industry requires a high level of quality and traceability in order to ensure patient safety. Medical devices, such as implants, tools, and any other instruments, need accurate, indelible, and legible markings so that they can be identified far into the future. This non-contact marking process ensures that products are permanently and durably marked, which is especially vital for the medical technology industry, where traceability is required by law.
Markings within the medical industry also need to be sterile, and resistant to acids and bodily fluids; they must also be non-toxic. This is especially pertinent for internal medical devices, such as pacemakers, as the markings on the device need to be easily read and accurate in case of a fault. If a fault is detected, the unique device identification (UDI) can be used to give a plethora of information about the manufacturing of that particular pacemaker. If a fault is highlighted, other pacemakers manufactured in the same setting could potentially feature the same fault, and other owners could be notified.
Laser marking a medical device makes it fully traceable, improving overall patient safety, and is the preferred method of marking over other forms, as the laser marks are not prone to fading over time, especially when subjected to the years of regular sterilisation necessary in the industry. Further, laser marking, especially non-contact laser marking, ensures that the device or tool can be used in a variety of sterilisation levels, and on a variety of materials, including high-alloy stainless steel, titanium, silicon, and polyimides. It is also a chemical-free process, preventing the material, and any resistant coating which may be present, from being damaged by the marking.
- Lasers can be used to mark metals such as those present on Pacemakers.
- Laser Marking can be used on plastics, similar to the insulin pen below.
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