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Assuring Medical Equipment Reliability; The Role of Medical Connectors

 

insights from industryMarina LeeLife Science and Data Center SpecialistStäubli Electrical Connectors

An talk with Marina Lee, conducted by James Ives, MPsych

Please give an overview of a problems that medical connectors have to overcome, and a innovations that Multi-Contact have finished to solve these problems.

Our medical connectors are used on a accumulation of medical devices. Here in a U.S. medical inclination are authorized by a FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and personal into 3 risk categories, classes I, II and III.

Class III inclination are compared with a top risk and therefore have a top mandate and regulations. An outmost pacemaker is a category III device for example. Examples for category II inclination would be electro-surgery apparatus or distillate pumps.

As we can imagine, category II and III inclination have a top mandate for their components that embody high reliability, reserve and a prolonged life time. Also connectors in a medical margin need to be sterilization concordant if they come in hit with patients and medical personnel. Then they have to perform a specific mandate of a medical device such as form factor, voltage and amperage.

St?ubli connectors (previously famous as Multi-Contact) perform those requirements; a technological core of a connectors are a MULTILAM hit bands, that are commissioned on a block or hollow side of a connector to yield a high peculiarity and unequivocally arguable tie between  those dual parts.

One advantage here is that a low hit insurgency also allows unequivocally tiny signals to be transmitted accurately. MULTILAM bands are also unequivocally durable contacts. Some of a bands assent adult to one million mating cycles so they concede for a unequivocally prolonged lifetime of a product.

In terms of safety, many of a connectors are touch-proof. Most of a Medicalline products can also be steam sterilized and we are happy to countenance other sterilization options if needed.

One of a advantages of operative with St?ubli electrical connectors is that we are a pointing electro connector company. We’re rarely accurate and high quality.

We have an American work force that can work locally with business to come adult with a tradition pattern formed on that pointing engineering from Switzerland to perform a tradition need.

Most people can’t contend that; they furnish off a shelf connectors though with us we can cgange a connector or we can come adult with something totally new.

With bespoke products, all can be sourced locally, with a internal engineering team, we don’t have to worry about a apart association that’s going to make something, and during some indicate send it over to you.

We yield engineering work so that we can work together on a plan and if it becomes possibly afterwards they can squeeze it. They can outsource a engineering to us and we’ll hoop a connector part, since that’s a expertise.

What forms of connectors do we produce? What applications are these used for?

At St?ubli Electrical Connections we pattern and make a accumulation of customary connectors for a medical margin yield tradition solutions formed on a customer’s specific requirements.

Our customary product operation includes 1.5mm, 2mm and 4mm connectors, fabricated leads, adapters and row mountain receptacles that are ordinarily used in applications such as electro-surgery and ablation equipment.

They yield a tie of a palm instrument to a generator for example. Another focus is heart contrast and proxy heart pacing. In this box a connectors are used to bond to contrast and pacing catheters. They are also commissioned on ECG cables.

We are a usually manufacturer of a special form of connector operation called POAG. POAG is a shortening of a German word ‘Potenzialausgleich’ and stands for equipotential education or intensity equalization.

POAG connectors are used in handling bedrooms to revoke a risk of electrical startle to a patients and medical professionals. By bringing all a apparatus to a same intensity it will mislay wandering voltages by swelling them opposite all equipment. We’ve also had cases where business use POAG connectors for sound rebate in a OR.

Another product used in medical inclination is a modular connector complement CombiTac. CombiTac is a multi-pole connector that gives a choice of power, signal, information gas and liquid connections, to name a few, all in one connector housing.

These are used in handling bedrooms for a supply of video or anesthesia units, or to bond palm pieces to medical inclination for example. CombiTac is also used in programmed contrast of medical devices. In addition, we offer a operation of contrast leads and probes.

How is a unchanging tie ensured? What is a boyant mount?

A boyant mountain is compulsory for multi-pole connectors like a CombiTac connector. In a multi-pole connector a block and hollow side both have some-more than one hit pole. There are certain pattern tolerances.

You can suppose that if a poles are commissioned firm in a connector housing, a block side could potentially not partner with a hollow side or if it does mate, there might be some-more friction.

By creation a contacts with during slightest one side as a boyant mounted, it can adjust a position and catch any pattern tolerances. This allows for blind mating of a connector and also for a longer life time since of reduction wear of a contacts.

With applications such as electro-surgery, it is indispensable that a appurtenance is good connected and doesn’t accept too many or too small current. How are a connectors peculiarity tested to make certain they can withstand their requirements?

Our comforts approve to ISO 9001 that is a peculiarity government customary that includes design, growth and corroboration processes for new products.

In addition, we perform ubiquitous peculiarity tests on a products and have contrast comforts in a US, Switzerland, France and Germany for specific contrast needs, e.g. steam and quivering tests.

How prolonged are a connectors designed to final and how do we know when to reinstate them?

The IEC, that’s a International Electrotechnical Commission, defines a connector during end-of-life when it reaches twice a initial insurgency value. At St?ubli Electrical Connectors, we serve conclude this by voltage drop. A connector is deliberate used when a voltage dump during rated stream is aloft than 25mV.

While we offer connectors for adult to 1 million mating cycles, for medical many are singular to a customary 5000 cycles and many are indeed disposable and usually used for one mating cycle.

That said, a tangible medical device might have facilities that tell a medical veteran when upkeep or deputy of a member is needed. In a finish it’s a use association or a manufacturer that would be a one to confirm either a connector needs replacement.

Is there any surplus or fill-in complement with these connectors?

Our contacts and connectors are commissioned in medical inclination such as electro-surgery generators and AEDs. If there is a fill-in complement needed, a OEM of a medical device would be a one to pattern it in.

That said, a solutions are unequivocally high peculiarity and arguable to forestall any failure, that is because they are used in vicious areas. we indeed only talked to a patron of ours during a medical show. He uses a 2mm plugs and sockets for proxy heart pacing cables and mentioned that in over 15 years they never had a failure, that was good to hear.

How volatile are a connectors to wear and tear? What facilities impact this?

Even if a connectors are used correctly, a plating of a steel hit might wear, generally when a connectors are plugged and unplugged often.  Our customary MULTILAM hit bands are china and bullion plated. Both materials are unequivocally resistant to wear.

We can also adjust a material, plating density and hit force for applications that need a aloft series of mating cycles.

Some applications call for an boost in a stream flitting by a connector, that increases a temperature. How does heat impact a forms of materials used for these connections? Within what heat ranges do your connectors work?

The opposite tools of a connector are finished from opposite materials. The limit operative heat of a finish connector varies and depends on a materials that are used for a connector body, MULTILAM hit band, cosmetic housing and wire insulation.

For example, a customary MULTILAM contacts concede operative temperatures of adult to 180 degrees Celsius. For aloft temperatures special materials can be used. Commonly used insulation materials are silicone, PVC and TPE and their limit operative heat varies between 70 and 90 degrees Celsius.

The limit operative heat of a insulation element is always reduce than a one of a lead components, that means that we are distant divided from a annealing heat of a metals that ensures a prolonged tenure fast hit force and resistance.

How are these connectors sterilized? Can they be autoclaved or is primer sterilization required?

Most of a medical line products such as a 1.5mm and 2mm connectors are steam sterilizable and medical professionals can emasculate them by palm or they can emasculate them in an autoclave chamber.

We’re also happy to countenance any other sterilization options such as EtO sterilization if needed.

What is a POAG hollow and how does it differ from a normal socket? What innovations are there in a sockets that a connectors are trustworthy to?

POAG connectors differ from a customary products in that a pin isn’t a ideal cylinder though rather has a winding basin during a hit point. That effectively allows a connector to close though still be away but a special apparatus that is a requirement of a IEC customary IEC60601-1.

The intensity equalization complement is apart from a belligerent or earthing connectors of a particular pieces of apparatus in a handling room and allows all a apparatus and a studious to be brought to a same electrical potential.

That’s finished to forestall electrical startle to a studious and a medical veteran and creates a protected handling sourroundings for vicious procedures such as open heart medicine or neurosurgical procedures where a doctors are monitoring several signals from a studious and can't means any outward sound in a monitoring.

What does a destiny reason for Multi-Contact?

We recently altered a name from MultiContact to St?ubli Electrical Connectors. St?ubli has been a primogenitor association for over 15 years, so we are unequivocally vehement to finally use a same name.

St?ubli is a large company. We have 3 categorical areas: robotics, weave machinery, and connectors. The connectors multiplication is distant into liquid connectors and electrical connectors.

The destiny of a association is a prophesy where we benefaction ourselves as a finish mechatronics resolution provider. Whether it is robotics, or weave machinery, or either we need a connector, electrical or fluid. We can yield a resolution for you.

Where can readers find some-more information?

Readers can revisit a website for some-more information that is http://ec.St?ubli.com/

They are also acquire to hit me directly with any questions they might have.

About Marina Lee

Marina is Specialist for a Life Science and Data Center Markets during St?ubli Electrical Connectors. She has some-more than 7 years of knowledge in a connector attention including positions during St?ubli Electrical Connectors (former Multi-Contact) and Phoenix Contact.

Before that she worked for Texas Instruments in Business Development. Marina binds a B.S. in Engineering and Business Administration and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Renewable Energy Engineering from universities in Germany where she grew up. She now lives with her family in Southern California.