Christoph Miethke GmbH & Co. KGwww.miethke.com
Christoph Miethke GmbH & Co. KG is a Potsdam-based medical technology company developing innovative, neurosurgical implants for patients with hydrocephalus. What started as a good idea at the beginning of the 1990s has since become a company that operates globally today. Within a historical, 19th Century building, each implant is produced individually with care, using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology. They are also consistently scrutinized and developed further.
- Black marking Laser precision cutting of metals Marking of metals (e.g. titanium, stainless steel, aluminum), brittle materials (e.g. sapphire), as well as plastic
The finest markings with utmost quality – marking lasers meet medical technology
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.
"If you want to produce high-quality results, you need to purchase premium tools which can generate top quality. TRUMPF was the natural choice."
It became clear very quickly that the laser was the tool which could meet Miethke's diverse challenges. Black marking specifically turned out to be ideal. This is because the extreme peak pulse powers only alter the surface structure and no material is removed. Since the process is non-contact with only a minimal heat-affected zone, the component does not become deformed, and its metallic structure remains virtually unaltered. This method retains the biocompatibility of the titanium material. Black marking creates deep-black, high-contrast markings on Miethke's valves, such as the direction for positioning the implant in the form of an arrow, which remains legible even under highly reflective operating lights. In addition to marking, Miethke also uses the ultra-short pulses of the TRUMPF marking lasers for laser precision cutting the microtechnology components in the valves. The TruMicro Mark is the ideal solution for both of the company's manufacturing tasks.
"A dialogue as equals" is how Miethke summarizes the partnership with TRUMPF. An application engineer from TRUMPF "worked meticulously" with Miethke in the Laser Application Center (LAC) in Ditzingen to find the perfect prototype and optimal process. During this phase, the TRUMPF application engineer shared a wealth of helpful expertise with Miethke, which the company can use in the future to independently develop and optimize processes. Additionally, TRUMPF visited the customer at their own application laboratory for fine-tuning the laser and for detailed parameter setting.
The cooperation, the trust, and the knowledge that TRUMPF's technology is no flash in the pan were reason enough for Miethke to declare that TRUMPF can be the partner for the future – and that is also who they became. As the medical technology manufacturer wished to produce with utmost quality in the long-term, it became clear to the decision-makers that they must, therefore, also purchase high-quality tools. For the Potsdam-based company, TRUMPF is also a pace-setter, able to grow in line with future requirements in medical technology, and to push forward the development of Miethke's range with new technologies. For example, the company would like integrated data processing for the marking process in the future. TRUMPF already offers solutions for this, and continuously develops these further, in order to optimally meet customer requirements.