Today, laser technology is often used for marking of medical products for easy identification. The process of marking products using lasers is generally referred to as laser engraving, laser etching, or laser marking. Almost all materials can be laser engraved/laser marked for identification, patent safety, and other purposes.
Laser Marking of Stainless Steel Medical Products
Laser etching employs reduced power of the laser in order to mark the material without cutting all the way through it. Laser marking can be done on different types of materials including stainless steel, slate, granite, leather, glass, arborite, industrial fiber, mirrors, and premium hard woods.
Laser marking is mostly preferred when the part to be marked is too small and/or has a complex shape or design. For this reason, laser marking is being heavily used for the marking of stainless steel medical products.
Today, a majority of medical devices and their components require marking for identification. This came into force after the Food and Drug Association (FDA) adopted a new rule for the identification of medical products. According to the new rule, it is mandatory for medical device manufacturers to mark all medical devices and instruments with a unique device identifier (UDI).
Moreover, when it comes to devices such as catheters or invasive surgical tools and/or minimally invasive instruments, as well as implants such as bone plates or hip stems, manufacturers need to mark 100% of their medical devices and products. The reason for manufacturers to mark their medical products is patient safety.
In order to reduce risks during medical treatment, careful measures are adopted for process validation and quality assurance. Hence, correct identification of medical devices becomes even more critical with regard to consistent documentation and complete traceability within the product cycle.
Benefits of Laser Marking For the Medical Industry
Laser marking serves to be one of the best marking technologies and comes with various benefits for the medical device manufacturers worldwide. The following are the major benefits:
- Traceability: Medical instrument and devices must to be marked to ensure proper identification and traceability throughout their life cycle for patient safety.
- Product Liability: For simplifying product recalls, optimizing market surveillance, as well as quality assurance and process reliability.
- Product Safety: For trademark and patent protection as well as protection from product piracy.
- Product Identification: For manufacturer identification, production date, year, etc., and the device itself.
- Regulatory Compliance: For compliance with UDI and global standards.
For the above mentioned factors, most medical device manufacturers worldwide are employing laser technology for marking their devices and instruments.