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Keeping Track of Medical Devices

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

PRODUCT UPDATE

Keeping Track of Medical Devices

Many marking technologies are available

Susan Wallace
Topflight's RFID technology offers an alternative to traditional bar coding in medical applications.

Printing, labeling, and marking are all ways of keeping track of and identifying medical devices. Sometimes they need to be tracked for inventory purposes. Other times they must be traceable in order to fulfill FDA regulations. 

Depending on the finished product, there are many options for manufacturers. This article discusses some of the latest in marking technologies. 

Transfer-Pad Printer Enhances Catheter-Imprinting Technology

CI Inc.
(Norton, MA) offers a customized version of its MicroPrint MS 500 pad printing equipment. The unit was designed to address common transfer-pad imprinting challenges, while increasing production efficiency and speed.

The MS 500 has a 100 ¥ 700-mm printable area, making it suitable for imprinting catheters. It also features automatic pad cleaning between cycles, sealed-ink-cup technology, and viscosity control. The benefits for catheter OEMs are a high degree of precision and crispness in the imprinted image, guaranteed consistency between job lots, quick turnaround times, and 
high yields.

The company operates in a 20,000-sq-ft clean, environmentally controlled production facility with computerized pad imprinting equipment. Specialties include fine-detail printing in 360 degrees, complex multicolor imprints, unusual product sizes or shapes, "unprintable" substrates or irregular surfaces, specialty inks and custom applications, and quick turnaround 
on prototypes. 

Glyph Technology--An Alternative to RFID or Bar Codes

Polyolefin material can be laser marked with Avicenna's laser marking process.

Niceware International (Milwaukee) has recently formed an alliance with InfoGlyph USA (Scottsdale, AZ), a software provider for the development and licensing of glyph technology. Niceware is developing software incorporating InfoGlyph's glyphing technology for Niceware's NiceLabel suite of label-printing software. Through NiceLabel, it will be possible for automatic identification solutions requiring security marking or lot traceability to use the emerging glyph technology in applications where traditional bar code and RFID technologies are not suitable.

InfoGlyph's patented glyph technology, together with various marking systems, allows for marking of all types of surfaces or materials such as glass, curved, or nonreflective, that in the past could not be addressed with conventional bar code marking. The NiceLabel suite enables easy implementation for customers requiring the benefits of glyph technology for lifetime tracking of products.

InfoGlyph technology enables the placing of the InfoGlyph patented 2D image within corporate trademarks or logos on a wide variety of glass, metal, plastic, and ceramic surfaces, with up to 90% error correction.

RFID Systems for Medical Devices Offer Easy Identification

Radio-frequency identification offers advantages over traditional bar coding, according to Topflight Corp. (Glen Rock, PA). It can relay more information with greater accuracy, durability, ease of use, design options, and security. The company's custom-designed equipment allows unlimited converting of tags and labels, along with ESD protection, short web paths, and setups. Interchangeable stations can handle intricate constructions. The company can work with a variety of chips, including rewritable and read-only.
 
Laser Marking on the Go

The Rofin EasyMark 
desktop diode-pumped laser marker can be used to replace inking or chemical etching.

Citing the need by its customers for a small, desktop, or on-site transportable unit, Rofin-Baasel Inc. (Boxborough, MA) created a fully self-contained diode-pumped laser marker. The EasyMark is designed for metal or polymer marking applications with small dimensions and low to moderate volume. It can be used to replace marking technologies such as inking or chemical etching.
The system incorporates the company's LaserCAD.net technology that allows marking-program files and laser control files to be downloaded directly from the user's computer. In its standard form, the Easy Mark is a Class I fully laser safe product, packaged for benchtop use. It can also be adapted to rolling-cart workstations.

Polyolefin Tubing Can Be Legibly Laser Marked

A company can laser mark medical-grade heat-shrink polyolefin tubing. Avicenna Technology Inc. (Montevideo, MN) has developed a process that produces dark, legible marks that meet the viewing criteria of implantable device makers. Vivid marks can be achieved without compromising the tube wall, which ensures that the expanded polyolefin material will not fail during heat-shrink recovery.

The company can mark tubing with alphanumerical text of any height, width, and thickness, and can serialize this text. When processing expands heat-shrink material, marks must be formatted to be visually correct upon recovery of the tube. Text, symbols, and logos can be stretched to match the recovery factor of any heat-shrink polyolefin material. 

In conjunction with the expansion to polyolefin material, the company can also laser mark bar codes on the full circumference of a tube.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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