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Laser production of surgical instruments

With lasers, you can not only precisely cut and weld surgical instruments and also provide them with ultra-smooth surfaces. Read about the additional advantages laser technology can offer for the manufacturing, processing and reprocessing of surgical instruments here.

What are the challenges in the manufacture of surgical instruments?

Modular designs and different product variants make the manufacture of surgical instruments more difficult. Catheter systems, for example, are often difficult to handle because of their length. Other instruments and devices, such as endoscopes and laparoscopes, must frequently be cleaned and sterilized before they can be reused.

Temper marks are difficult to read after repeated reprocessing. In addition, the high temperatures and aggressive cleaning agents can damage the adhesive joints of the instruments. Such deficiencies in the medical instruments would be life-threatening for the patient during a surgical procedure. After all, given their usually small size, surgical instruments must also withstand high mechanical stresses.

What advantages does laser technology bring to the production of medical instruments?

Surfaces that have been processed by a laser are even and burr-free in their progression - without furrows or other major irregularities that could affect sterility. Laser weld seams on diagnostic instruments are also completely smooth and non-porous. This means that the seams have the same biocompatibility as the base material. Incidentally, additive manufacturing with laser technology can often be a viable alternative to the new production of small batches of medical instruments.

Lasers can automate applications for different materials

For a wide range of materials such as metals, polymers, ceramics and glass, work steps such as welding, cutting or surface treatment can be automated using laser technology.

Lasers manufacture robust products with strong joints and smooth surfaces

Laser manufacturing can be used to produce robust weld seams, surfaces and joints that can withstand even the most demanding uses and most aggressive cleaning agents.

Lasers are ideal for filigree and UDI-compliant markings

Laser technology is ideal for applying very filigree markings or UDI codes that offer maximum corrosion resistance and guarantee permanent legibility.

Lasers ensure the best possible sterility

Surfaces of instruments that have been processed by a laser do not show any blemishes that could affect sterility. In addition, laser welds are completely smooth and non-porous. As a result, they have the same biocompatibility as the base material.

What applications can lasers have in the manufacture of surgical instruments?

Lasers can be used in medical technology for both individual work steps and combined processes. Corresponding applications are, for example, cutting, welding and marking. This also makes it possible to optimize lasers for specific tasks and materials, enabling medical technology companies to respond to their customers' needs in production and manufacture customized, high-quality instruments.

Laser marking of UDI codes and measurement scales

Marking lasers can be used, for example, to permanently mark medical devices with precise measurement scales or assembly instructions.

They are also used for marking UDI codes (alphanumeric and Data Matrix Codes) on metallic and polymer surfaces to meet FDA, EU or other regional regulatory requirements.

Laser cutting of a wide range of materials

Lasers cut various materials, e.g. metal tubes for stents, polymer tubes for catheter shafts, ceramics for the insulating components of bipolar laparoscopic instruments or precious metals such as platinum or gold for X-ray marking components.

Cuts can be made at different angles to prepare weld seams. This creates flexible shafts that offer breakthrough medical functionality.

Laser structuring and ablation for surface processing

You can use the laser to structure surfaces of metal or plastic to make them hold more stably when bonding with adhesives. Unlike grinding, sandblasting or etching, laser technology improves friction without the need for chemicals or mechanical processing, and laser-structured surfaces have a very uniform geometry.

For example, laser ablation removes unwanted coatings from metal and composite pipes without damaging the base material.

Laser welding for stable connections

With lasers, it is possible to join metals with uniform geometric tolerances as well as to create deep weld seams.

Laser transmission welding of complex structures with small dimensions is again suitable for vascular catheter systems such as balloon and guide catheters, especially since it requires only a small amount of energy.

Laser drilling of precise holes

Laser drilling makes it possible to make highly precise holes in various materials such as cannulas, balloons or tubes in order to distribute liquid drugs in a controlled manner.

When processing sheet metal, laser technology can also drill many patterns of holes on numerous different materials with high precision - for capacitors, batteries or leads for neuromodulation, for example.

Laser cutting for optimal material utilization

Unlike conventional sawing methods, you can cut particularly efficiently and save material with lasers.

For example, when laser cutting roof prisms with the Top Cleave process, you get 12 prisms from one glass rod instead of just 10. The laser first modifies the surface of the glass rods on a thin track. Subsequently, a CO2 laser suddenly heats the glass surface along this track. This stress separate the prisms along the modification - without material loss. This allows you to make the best use of your glass rods and reduce scrap.

Karl Storz SE & Co. KG relies on laser systems from TRUMPF in the manufacturing of their endoscopes

The TruLaser Station 7000 alone reduced the production time per component from ten to one and a half seconds.

Sarah Mühleck
Site manager for Karl Storz SE & Co. in Widnau in Switzerland

Are you also looking for the best solution for manufacturing your surgical instruments?

We will show you how you can benefit from the use of laser technology. Send us an email or make an appointment at our Laser Application Center (LAC) to process your sample part directly on site.

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Rely on solutions from TRUMPF in the manufacture of your medical instruments

With the expertise of the technology leader for laser technology with decades of experience in medical technology, we will be happy to advise you. Learn how you can use our laser systems and solutions to produce medical-grade instruments for surgical use.

Short-pulse lasers

Short-pulse lasers have a pulse duration in the nanosecond range and can be used in many processes in industry. They offer great flexibility in welding, drilling and cutting as well as in the ablation, cleaning and marking of medical instruments.

Ultrashort pulse laser

Whether for structuring, cutting, drilling or ablating material, ultrashort pulse lasers are an indispensable tool for micro-manufacturing in medical technology. One of their special performance features is that they transfer almost no heat to the material (cold processing).

Automated multi-axis systems

In 3D manufacturing, automated multi-axis systems are often used for cutting, welding or surface treatment. These systems can be combined and configured with fiber lasers, disk lasers and ultrashort pulse lasers.

Marking lasers

With our marking lasers, you can achieve UDI-compliant markings with extremely good legibility. Find the perfect marking laser for your requirements: simply answer a few questions about your application and our product finder will show you which marking laser is right for you.

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Black marking

Due to extremely short laser pulses, you can create durable and deep-black markings without damaging the material surface through ablation. The perfect procedure for creating corrosion-resistant markings, for example in the medical technology sector.

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UDI-compliant marking

In accordance with EU and US standards, medical products must be labeled with a uniquely traceable UDI code (UDI = Unique Device Identification). TRUMPF can offer you the perfect complete package comprised of marking laser and software for this.

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