Rodd Turnquist,
National Sales Manager US,
OEM Division, WMFTS

For medical devices that require cooling or surgical instruments requiring irrigation, pumps are one of the more significant medical device components, and pump selection is paramount to operational success. Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions (WMFTS) specializes in fluid management, offering over 60 years’ experience in high-quality components for medical devices. MDB spoke to Rodd Turnquist, National Sales Manager US, OEM Division, WMFTS, to find out more about selecting the best pumps for medical devices and accelerating time to market.

MDB: What Medical Device products use peristaltic pumps?

Rodd Turnquist: Peristaltic pumps are used for a variety of medical equipment applications, such as cooling the catheter tip when performing cardiac ablation. With a stable flow, these pumps allow for precise temperature control to prevent scarring. These pumps are also used for organ transport, diagnostic test equipment, and precise dosing equipment use in hospital pharmacies. Many Watson-Marlow pumps are used in irrigations applications for endoscopic and orthopedic surgical equipment.

MDB: What are the advantages of a peristaltic pump?

Turnquist: The media never leaves the tubing — no carry over or cross contamination, and no need to clean the pump between procedures. Peristaltic pumps are also self-priming, can run dry, and are reversible. They also have a low cost of operation and maintenance: replacing the tubing is all that is needed.

MDB: What should OEMs look for when selecting pumps or other products?

Turnquist: Designs, features, and performance that will add value to the product, like intuitive, foolproof tube loading that is easy for the operator to perform, and high-pressure designs capable of up to 130 psi. OEMs should look for good aesthetic designs that look the part and give confidence to operators and patients. OEMs should also look for a pump manufacturer with wide range of standard products: Standard products are generally less expensive and have shorter lead times.

MDB: When is customization needed?

Turnquist: Medical device OEMs often need some level of customization beyond the standard off-the-shelf products. WMFTS has development services in place to assist customers in optimizing the functionality and performance of their overall system. Customization plays an important role to optimize functionality, and our engineers are uniquely placed to adapt each pump’s design. This includes compatibility with custom tubing types and sizes, integration into the device, triboelectric effect reduction, and branding. We start with the rapid delivery of samples from our wide range of standard products. Over the arc of a project, we can create a complete pump, motor, and drive subassembly that is tested and ready to install.

Our team will support development efforts from prototyping through to production and will be there throughout manufacturing.

MDB: What things do medical device engineers need to have to be able select and integrate products into a design?

Turnquist: Things like product data sheets and 3D drawings that are readily available. An engineer should also expect to have full engineering design support from a supplier. Standard products may require too much of a compromise in the design goals of the medical device. It is important to have a supplier that has the willingness and staff to help with design selection and optimization and do it with medical device standards in mind.

MDB: What is the advantage of working with a pump specialist throughout the design process?

Turnquist: All product needs are considered from the start: performance, functionality, size, ease of incorporation, and final appearance. This helps accelerate the process, increasing potential ROI. It also means engineers are on hand to support product testing, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance.

MDB: Beyond the products, what should an OEM look for in a component supplier?

Turnquist: A supplier that is proven in the industry: The supplier should be used on multiple medical devices that have been on the market for 10 years or more. When pursuing a 510(k), is it important to be able to point to existing similar products on the market to shorten the FDA approval process. An OEM should also expect a supplier with strong quality systems: The supplier should have at minimum ISO 9001 or ISO 13485. Meeting these standards demonstrates that the supplier has their quality system in control and can meet industry requirements for quality, design change control, and CAPA.