The challenge to create corrosion resistant marks and labeling has spanned across many industries that require robust traceability methods including medical devices and instruments. The unique properties of ultrashort laser pulses enable precise surface structuring to withstand the required manufacturing post-processes of passivation and autoclaving. The benefits of ultrashort laser marking are demonstrated with the results in a comparison to traditional nanosecond laser marking systems through observation of pulse energy and pulse duration effects, corrosion resistance and long term durability under clinical conditions on medical grade alloys. Moreover, an analysis of microstructure by use of EDX and XRD exhibits a visual advantage of formed laser induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) evident only to ultrashort pulse marking techniques. Under this new approach the allowable process parameter window flexibility for varied material types specific to medical applications was noted with respect to pico- and femtosecond pulse techniques. Traceability through unique device identification (UDI) is realized by combining complimentary technologies to format compliant sequenced data. Such data has been demonstrated as verifiable and rated with a customized grade to ensure quality of the marked code. The read-out data as well as the quality grading of marking result can be further processed in the production environment for documentation reasons. Thereby, the obstacle of UDI and corrosion resistant marking for medical devices and instruments can be met with such an industrial solution.
The unique properties of ultrashort laser pulses and the decrease of invest pave the way to numerous novel applications. Even in the very price sensitive field of laser marking, ultrashort laser can compete due to a new cost structure and remarkable properties of the marking results. In this study we concentrated on industrial marking of medical equipment by using IR ultrashort lasers and compared the results with common marking laser systems. We demonstrate the benefits of ultrashort lasers marking on chirurgical devices, observing the influence of pulse energy, pulse duration, scanning velocity in respect to the visibility, corrosion resistance and long term durability under clinical conditions. Nowadays many parts and products are marked for the purpose of identification and traceability. One kind of laser marking is the well known annealing of stainless steel by nanosecond marking lasers. When annealing occurs a colored oxide layer grows due to the local heating of the material surface. Compared to the raw material, the annealed marking shows increased corrosion sensitivity. Regarding the traceability, the poor durability of the ns marking resulting in contrast reduction and the corrosion susceptibility are a huge problem. Therefore three different laser sources with ns-psfs pulse duration were observed. The focus rests on the realization of parameter studies (various lasers) and their effect on the corrosion and passivation behavior. Furthermore analysis of the oxide layers by use of EDX and XRD were performed to obtain further information on the composition and structure of the markings.