Laser manufacturer Foba provided Furtwangen University’s Innovation and Research Center (IFC) Tuttlingen with a laser marking system for medical scientific research and demonstrations.
The first study project was for an applied materials student thesis to develop laser parameter combinations for corrosion-resistant annealing marking on stainless steel instruments using Foba’s M2000-P laser marking system with a Y.0201 fiber laser.
The laser markings’ resistance was verified using a cooking test in accordance with DIN EN ISO 13402. Effects of passivation, necessary for instrument manufacturing, were also taken into account.
The project demonstrated reproducible, corrosion-resistant marking of data matrix codes using various parameter combinations. Data matrix codes were analyzed microscopically, macroscopically, and using a code tester. After a corrosion test and passivation, the codes could easily be read by a blackness measuring device and a code checking device.
The results could help medical instrument and implant manufacturers, providing a basic guideline for suitable parameter combinations. This could aid compliance with marking requirements of the European Medical Device Regulation (EU MDR). All parameters must be individually adapted, depending on each material and application used.
The scientific determination of laser parameters could support a large number of future studies, even ones based on extended corrosion tests, reducing marking time, or to test additional substrate materials. With the large number of metals and plastics used in medical technology, laser marking is a comprehensive research field with a high degree of practical relevance, especially since most of the complex technological processes on the material surface have not been researched in detail.
Foba is using the study results to further develop its own marking software, in particular the function that facilitates user parameters via predetermined values already preset to work with different materials.