Electrical Connectors: Design Considerations for Medical Devices
The myriad of devices used in surgical, interventional, imaging, diagnostic and therapeutic, sensors, and single-use medical applications use some form of transmission medium to transport electrical signals. While the construction of a cable seems relatively straightforward compared with the complexity of the apparatus it is connected to, the environmental considerations and regulations behind these constructions all bring with them additional design constraints. This article provides an overview of particular characteristics found in medical device cables and connectors along with some respective design considerations.
Medical settings are saturated with electrical equipment to supplement patient care. This equipment can vary from portable defibrillators to MRI machines. Connector heads used in these applications require a high resistance to dirt and moisture ingress as well as the ability to be easily mated and unmated. A pre-certified connector with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of at least IP67 — a ranking that indicates a device is dust-proof and can withstand immersion in water for an extended period of time (e.g., 30 minutes) — would be favored because they would function regardless of time in storage or in case of accidental liquid entry. As an additional note, an IP69K rating would indicate further protection against high temperature and high-pressured spray downs at a close range. Connector heads at this ranking would be able to withstand both washdowns and submerges.
Understanding power system components and how to connect them correctly is critical to meeting regulatory requirements and designing successful electrical products for worldwide markets. Interpower’s Ralph Bright defines these requirements and explains how to know which cord to select for your application.
Rapid prototyping technologies play an important role in supporting new product development (NPD) by companies that are working to bring novel and innovative products to market. But in advanced industries where products often make use of multiple technologies, and where meeting a part’s exacting tolerances is essential, speed without precision is rarely enough. In such advanced manufacturing—including the medical device and surgical robotics industries — the ability to produce high-precision prototypes early in the development cycle can be critical for meeting design expectations and bringing finished products to market efficiently.