Christoph Miethke GmbH & Co. KG is a family company founded in 1992, developing and producing neurosurgical implants with a focus on treating hydrocephalus ("fluid in the brain"). This is a condition whereby more cerebral fluid is produced in the brain than the body is able to reabsorb. Surgical treatment involves inserting something called a shunt – a drainage system consisting of a brain ventricle catheter, a valve, and a drainage catheter that passes into the body. Miethke produces the tubes as well as the delicate valve which regulates the draining of the cerebral fluid. This high-tech medical technology allows Miethke to help improve the quality of life of people with this condition; a very special impetus for all of the company's employees. "To be told how people feel so much better due to our products is great motivation to give our best each and every day," said Christian Gleumes, mechanical engineer in the area of Research & Development at Miethke.
The tiniest of products, yet high demands for precision, curved surfaces, high volumes, legal requirements – the challenges in the medical technology industry are immense. This means that even Miethke must apply permanently legible, corrosion-resistant markings to their titanium valves, for the purposes of traceability. A vital requirement for this is that no foreign matter may be introduced into the material, so as not to compromise the biocompatibility of the implant. Even the size and shape of the valves are a challenge for laser marking systems. Only very few systems on the market are able to mark the extremely delicate valves – most of which have a curved surface – with a consistently high quality. The large volume of valves which need to be supplied with a unique, traceable UDI (Unique Device Identification) code are also a challenge for Miethke, as the laser must be able to reliably mark entire pallets of products automatically.