Printing white numbers onto a 1 meter long medical device

We repair a particular type of medical device. As part of that, we sometimes remove the old coating on the device and relabel and re coat the device. Currently we use a stencil system which works but it doesn't give results as good as the manufacturers original and sometimes can be a little hit and miss. We have also tried silkscreening but it was a messy process and not terribly successful. We know nothing about printing. I've seen digital printers for printing pens and I'm wondering if this could be a successful way to achieve the print. Can you buy just the print head and we could make an apparatus that can drive it up and down our existing recoating apparatus? I'm also wondering if pad printing could be a good option. It doesn't matter if it isn't very fast as these repairs are quite lucrative but I would like to get good results. See attached pictures to give you some idea of what it looks like. The tube is about 1m long and there are numbers printed at increments along the tube and each number is printed 4 times (90 deg increments) around the tube at each position. If you think you would have the knowledge to advise us on the way we should be doing this, please contact us.
 

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draco66

Member
Does anything ride along or come in contact with this bar? My thought would be to use good quality vinyl letters and then put a heavy duty clear shrink tube over the entire thing and shrink it tight to the bar to keep the markings intact longer. Otherwise I would go with pad printing as long as you can create some sort of intricate jig to hold the bar in the exact position for each number or line. Not sure how durable pad printed numbers would be if they will be subject to anything running along the rod.
 

dabob

Well-known member
You might look into a clear label with the printing you need on it . . . . with rounded corners it should stay put pretty well - better I think than cut vinyl letters.
 
Thanks for the replies. The coating that we then put over the top is quite important because the probe is inserted down the throat of patients. So I don't want to go modifying the coating to a clear wrap or anything incase patients could then have allergic reactions or something similar. The letters cant really be a stick on label because again if it is going down somebody's throat and then the coating wore through and the letter started to lift, a sharp corner could potentially cut somebody right the way up their throat which would be fairly horrible. So we really are limited to paint/ink coatings under this clear coating that we apply. Any thoughts on stencils vs pad printing vs digitally printing directly to the product?
 

dabob

Well-known member
In this case I would opt for silk screen which is basically just a high quality stencil, you should be able to build a jig that would make it work fairly easily . . . thats my 2 cents and it's worth what you paid for it . . . . :)
 
Yeah, we tried silk screening. It works but its pretty horrible.. Nobody had any experience with digital printing who would know if a white capable digital printer could do this job?
 

Shawnd

Well-known member
I don't see that tube feeding through the OKI 5 color laser printer, let alone would it be able to withstand the fusing process?
 

dabob

Well-known member
Is it a round or square/rectangular tube???? IMHO there isn't a digital printer that will do round . . . .
 
Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback. It is so difficult to know what way to go with these kinds of things when I've never seen a white digital printer for that kind of printing... But looks like its back to stencilling and silkscreening :)
 

aparat

Member
Cheap way would be a pad press or tampography (it is used for pens, golf balls...).. Easy to use, no mess..
More expensive method is a flatbed uv printer, the You can print more at a time.
 

ecoworld

New member
Your best option could be laser engraving, if its non metallic object, engraving with CO2 laser is possible, if its metallic object, can be done with fiber laser. Once engraved, remains permanently.
 

MacDaddy

Well-known member
For none printer a flatbed printer is easiest. But needing a meter long you would have to spend a lot of money because of the size. We have one small Mimaki that prints white on parts, otter boxes but can't do that 3 feet. Engraver might be next best option. Pad printing could do job but you need to make plates I don't think much different then silk screen.
 

saso777

Active member
The best solution is laser engraving and best laser engraving machine for metals are fiber laser machines.The wavelength of lasers used in fiber laser engraving machines is around 1.06 microns. Due to such small wavelengths, fiber metal laser engraving machines create a really small focal diameter. Due to smaller wavelengths, the intensity of fiber laser engraving machines is a hundred times higher than that of the CO2 technology. Fiber laser engraving machines are the best option for metallic parts due to high power beam, smaller wavelengths, and smaller focal diameter.
 

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