Laser Marking

Coherent Introduces Fully-Automated Laser Processing System for Implantable Medical Devices

Coherent Corp., a leader in laser processing systems, today announced the introduction of its AP 530 S, a fully automated laser system for texturing and marking implantable medical devices.

Advances in materials and technologies for implanted medical devices, combined with the aging of the global population, are driving the urgency for medical device manufacturers to adopt manufacturing processes that can scale with the growing demand for their products while maintaining a high standard of quality. Coherent’s AP 530 S is a freeform texturing and marking system for implantable medical devices that operates unattended between loading and unloading of large batches of parts. The laser-based process is contactless, which eliminates any risk of contamination and ensures a very high level of quality and uniformity required for medical devices.

Dr. Alexander Roth, Vice President and General Manager, Industrial Systems Business Unit says, “The six-axis robotic handling capability of the AP 530 S is a key enabling feature, not only for high-volume semiautonomous manufacturing today but also for the Industry 4.0 factories of tomorrowThe degree of versatility and control that can be achieved with a laser-based process far outperforms alternatives such as sandblasting. With our new laser system, the exact texture or mark can be dialed in and applied to a wide range of medical device sizes, from bone screws to orthopedic implants.”

The AP 530 S can be configured with a femtosecond laser for texturing, a picosecond laser for permanent black marking, or a nanosecond laser for general marking or engraving. Its advanced 3D vision system automatically inventories an entire batch of parts to be processed. It can determine the precise shape and size of each individual part. The system’s user-friendly software simplifies integration into any production environment and automatically logs the process data.

The Coherent 530S is a fully automated laser-based machine for creating precision surface textures and/or permanent marks on implantable medical hardware and other devices with complex freeform shapes. This unique system incorporates an ultrashort pulse (USP) laser and a 6-axis robot for complete shape versatility and automated operation, i.e., batch processing with minimum operator intervention.

Unlike traditional methods like sand-blasting and other mechanical means that can only create stochastic surface textures, the AP 530 S provides a deterministic alternative that gives the user complete control over feature size and depth, feature density, spatial distribution, and other texture details. This deterministic control of surface texturing can produce orthopedic implants for enhanced osseointegration and vascularization characteristics. In addition, laser texturing is a cleaner process that avoids the possible contamination by sand-blasting and other mechanical methods. The AP 530 S also supports other types of surface functionalization as well as complex marking applications.

The use of a 6-axis robotic part handling system enables texturing and/or marking on selected surfaces of any shape or sized orthopedic device up to a hip implant. This robotic handling offers complete coverage of the part with enhanced 3D vision for parts and process verification. The machine can learn the part shape and details using this 3D vision system, or it can work directly from a CAD file. The operator then specifies the location(s) and texture details to be applied. Automated vision registration supports batch loading of parts, providing longer unattended process time with complete logging and tracking. This minimizes labor costs and eliminates potential errors associated with manual operation. In addition, the AP 530 S is Industry 4.0 ready and its user-friendly software also simplifies integration into any production environment.

The AP 530 S is available with several different laser types and several different laser power levels. A femtosecond laser is the optimum tool for texturing stainless steel, titanium, and other bio-compatible metal surfaces. A picosecond laser is recommended for corrosion-resistant black marking that is ideal for UDI and production tracking. In addition to these USP lasers, the AP 530 S is also offered with a nanosecond laser to support conventional laser marking and engraving tasks.

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