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Hospital needs to color code surgical instruments

Q. I work in the sterile instrument area of our hospital.We currently send our instruments (stainless steel)out to be color coded.The present service dips them in a plastic compound of some type. After a few cycles through our wash and sterilization process(steam under pressure 270F), they begin to show signs of wear and tear meaning they have to be sent out again.We are looking for a more durable type of finish,keeping in mind that the instruments will be used in surgery (no flaking,etc.allowed). Any suggestions?

Thank you

Brian K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hospital - Cambridge, Massachusetts

A. Titanium can be colour coded. SS can be colour anodized (According to D.Fishlock: Metal Colouring, Teddington 1962 -- this finish is corrosion very resistant).

Hope it helps!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

A. I have good experience with teflon colour coating on titanium for this application. It resist perfectly the temperature and also the chemicals.

Jordi Pujol
- Barcelona, Spain

A. I have worked as a surgical Instrument repair specialist for the past nine years at a major Boston hospital. Color coding can be tricky. If it is not done well it will flake. Have you tried surgical tape? Make sure it is not on the scissor shafts. Try the ring handles.

Brendan Childs
Surgical Instrument Repair - Amesbury, Massachusetts
August 3, 2009

Color Dipping Surgical Instruments

Q. I am looking for a company with products for color DIPPING surgical Instruments. I am only finding companies that provide the service of color dipping, but we want to handle this in house for different projects going on. Any help would be great.


Mike Wall
Hobbyist - Pottstown
October 23, 2015

A. Hi Mike. The coloring of stainless steel and titanium is not done with paints or dyes, but is an anodization process. A very thin (partial wavelength) transparent oxide is produced by the anodization, which creates an interference pattern because some of the incident light reflects off the substrate and some off the top of the anodized coating, giving the appearance of color. For this reason you tend to not find companies selling the chemicals (which tend to be simple dilute acids) as proprietaries. But there are companies who have done the requisite development work and will license the technology to you.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 2015

A. Tell me about your titanium anodizing. I have 15 years experience in titanium coating.

Sabir Younis
Jaso surgical instruments - Sialkot Pakistan
February 12, 2019

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