When it comes to laser marking medical devices there are a couple of considerations that must be met when determining the best laser marking method.
First, it is absolutely necessary that any mark be clear, easy to read, and permanent. To this end there are a number of marking solutions that satisfy these requirements. YAG, Vanadate and Fiber lasers should all be capable of producing a clear, permanent mark on all metal surfaces. In the medical device business the trend is toward a laser stain mark rather than a mark that engraves into and penetrates the surface of the part. All of the above mentioned laser types should be capable of applying a stain mark to an appropriate metal surface.
A second requirement for most marking systems used in the medical industry is reliability and low maintenance. For the majority of companies that mark medical devices there is an emphasis on finding a cost effective marking solution that will require little maintenance. The relatively high cost of consumables and failed components and the need for outside service makes solid state laser systems (YAG and Vanadate) less desirable for satisfying this requirement.
Fiber Lasers are generally a good fit for medical device marking applications. While YAG, Vanadate, and fiber laser systems all meet the minimal requirements of clear, permanent marks, fiber laser systems also offer the benefits of wall plug efficiency, size, long life and a no maintenance design.