8 April 2016

Closed-loop marking and identification for medical devices ensures process reliability

There are many suppliers of laser marking systems offering different solutions, however, only a few provide real turnkey and closed-loop solutions. Manufactured by German Laser System specialist FOBA, and available in the UK and Ireland from Worcestershire based TLM Laser, Holistic Enhanced Laser Process (HELP) is a comprehensive process that offers tangible additional value.

HELP is a three-stage closed-loop medical device marking process that ensures process reliability before and after laser marking and easing compliance with regulations. Parts are validated prior to marking, and with the combination of a TTL (Through-The-Lens) vision system and IMP (Intelligent Mark Positioning), only the correct mark will be applied in the correct position and only on the correct part.

Once the laser marking process is complete, the mark contents can then be verified using Optical Character Verification (OCV) and 2D code reading. This information is captured whilst the part is still in the machine, everything achieved with just one laser and its fully integrated machine vision system.

There are three separate stages to the process, which begins with part validation. The vision system is used to ensure that the correct part is in place, eliminating the potential for marking the wrong part or defective products.

Part verification confirms that the part waiting to be marked has not already been marked previously. Mark alignment is used to check the position of the mark relative to the position of the to-be-marked part. It is important to note that the part does not have to align to the mark, as the mark automatically aligns itself accurately to the part.

The mark verification stage, post laser marking, validates that the marks are where they are expected, checking for contrast, alignment and size. Optical Character Verification (OCV) then validates that every character marked by the laser matches the content expected. The contents of 1D and 2D codes (Datamatrix [ECC 200, GS1], QR) are also read and compared to the content expected.

The HELP process benefits manufacturers in a number of ways, by providing: seamless traceability, increases in product quality, compliance with regulations, more flexible production, cost reductions through increased yield and less scrap, more economic production through a repeatable process and increases in process reliability.

The complete range of FOBA Laser Marking Systems are available in the UK and Ireland from Bromsgrove based TLM Laser. For stand-alone operation in laser class 1 TLM offer turnkey laser marking machines either as manual work stations or as customised solutions. Laser marking systems manufactured by FOBA are modular in design and can be configured according to specific customer requirements.

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