Permanently labeling medical devices and products with a unique identifier to track them from initial production through patient use is an important part of manufacturing control in the medical industry. In our previous blog posts, we discussed Laser Solutions for UDI-Compliant Stainless Steel Marking and Cold Marking With UV Lasers for Plastic Medical Device Manufacturing. Many medical device manufacturers (MDM) must also label glass devices or glass packaging for medical devices, and we have a solution for this as well.
Using nanosecond pulsed lasers with ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths, our systems can mark UDI-compliant labels on and inside glass products. The short wavelength allows for spot sizes as small as 3 micrometers, but 10 to 20 micrometers are typical of scan lenses that create human- and machine-readable text and codes with speed and precise detail. The small spot size, short wavelength and nanosecond pulse duration produce high-energy density and good photon absorption at the laser’s focal point. Unlike glass cutting, glass marking does not require lasers with ultrashort pulse durations — such as femtosecond or picosecond — to achieve successful results. Nanosecond pulsed lasers can reduce overall cost and still mark glass internally to medical device manufacturing standards.
Internal Laser Marking of Glass
Our laser marking systems allow MDMs to mark glass internally without affecting the outside surface. Internal glass marking is desirable when the outside surface of the product needs to be smooth for patient use or must be sanitized and cleaned many times without degrading the label. When done correctly, internal glass marking does not compromise the glass strength or produce any debris or contaminants.
Laser Etching Glass
UV laser marking can also be used to etch the outside surface of glass products when surface roughness and sanitation requirements are less critical. Femtosecond lasers are a standout choice when precise glass marking, etching or engraving is required, or when glass types vary. Short wavelength ultrafast lasers are well-suited for creating microfluidic channels and hydrophilic surfaces. The results must justify the higher cost.
Our Applications Lab provides free sample processing to develop a solution to your specific marking requirements. Some recent applications include marking glass medical vials, marking thin glass medical tubes, marking glass wafers, and chemically strengthened glass, such as Gorilla® Glass. Our engineers will work with you to provide a complete solution for your production environment — whether you need a standalone, manual-load glass marking system, a fully automated on-the-fly marking system integrated into a production line or anything in between.
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For more information on using lasers to mark glass products, visit our capabilities page.