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topic 59708

How to do Decorative Colored Finishes on Stainless Steel Medical Devices

September 28, 2014

Q. Hello,

I have a medical device part currently made out of stainless steel (also considering titanium) that I'd like to achieve a solid vibrant color finish, such as blue, pink and gold. There is also white text on the part that needs to be added. This is a part that would be used in the oral cavity for longer term use.

I'm keen to understand what options I have in terms of achieving a good color outcome that is biocompatible, vibrant and durable.

Thanks in advance for your help

Josh Myer
product designer - Sydney, NSW, Australia

September 29, 2014

A. Josh,

It is possible to color anodize pink, blue, yellow, black if stainless steel is 420 or similar. If stainless steel is 302, 304, 316 - colors are very limited - probably blue, gold.

The colors are bio-comparable, will stand multiple pressure sterilization and alkaline cleaning.

Fading colors will indicate that surgical instruments underwent so many sterilization cycles and need resharpening (and recoloring).

Contact me for more information

Anna Berkovich
Russamer Lab
supporting advertiser 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
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September 29, 2014

A. PVD has been used to color orthodontic brackets for twenty years or so. ZrN is used for a light gold/champagne look, but TiN provides a much darker gold. Carbon can be added to both coatings to produce a rose look. Both stainless steel and titanium brackets are coated.
TiN is the preferred coating on titanium dental implants, but more for its mechanical properties. These are color-coded with very vibrant colors -- blue, green, yellow, red -- by anodizing the titanium. The anodize will not hold up as well as the PVD coatings, but both are suitable for oral applications.

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Jim Treglio - scwineryreview.com
PVD Consultant & Wine Lover - San Diego, California

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