From diagnostics and treatment to therapeutic equipment, medical grade cable assemblies are inevitably used. They form an essential component when it comes to the assembly of laboratory analysis equipment, imaging systems, surgical and medical instrumentation, dental lab equipment, and diagnostic apparatuses, among several others. Medical cable solutions are available with specialized features such as steam sterilization soaker caps used to withstand chemical sterilization, sealed connectors for wet applications, and high voltage for isolation applications.
Taking into consideration the demands of the medical industry, cable assembly manufacturers execute rigorous testing prior to shipping the product to the customer. This blog enlists several testing methods conducted when assembling medical grade cable assemblies.
Types of Electrical and Mechanical Tests Pertaining to Medical Cable Assemblies
When it comes to assembling wiring harnesses for the medical industry, the following tests are conducted to ensure product quality.
Electrical tests include:
- High Voltage Testing
- Insulation Testing
- Pressure Testing
- Micro Section Testing
- Crimp Testing
- Pin Assignment Testing
- Length Testing
- Function Testing
- Component Testing
- Propagation Delay Measurements
Mechanical and thermal tests include:
- Drag Chain
- Flex Cycle
- Customer-Specific Function
The aforementioned tests are done to ensure the following:
- The cable solutions are assembled in compliance with required specifications.
- They exhibit desired electrical and optical properties for use in demanding medical environments.
- They are manufactured by incorporating specialized requirements of the customer.
- Designed and manufactured in compliance with international quality standards.
- They perform exceptionally well in elevated temperature ranges.
- They can withstand chemical sterilization and other harsh fluids and solutions.
Cable Assemblies – A Must-Have Component in Medical Devices
Cable assemblies for medical devices must be built to withstand demanding conditions in the application areas. The final assembly should meet the specifications, performance criteria, and exacting standards, as specified by the customer. The use of poor quality assembly not only affects the performance of the medical apparatus, but also leads to unexpected catastrophe, claiming lives and damaging properties. By stringently testing the assemblies, manufacturers can assess the overall performance, helping deliver only those assemblies that meet the highest quality standards.
The medical industry requires specialized cable assemblies to manufacture devices and equipment of several types. They are an indispensable component used in the assembly of diagnostic equipment and imaging systems to sophisticated surgical robots. They are available in a wide range of specifications for applications across several areas of the health care industry.
This blog is meant to familiarize you with the four major areas where medical grade cable assemblies are indispensable.
Applications of Medical Grade Cable Assemblies
The below listed are the 4 key medical areas where cable assemblies are extensively used.
Applications – Video Endoscopy, Electrosurgical Unit, Surgical Robots, Electrosurgical Unit, Medical Ventilators, Anesthetic Machines, Electro Thermal Bipolar Vessel Sealing, Circulatory Assist Devices, Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD), Defibrillators, Power Hand Instruments, and Arthroscopic Shaver System.
Applications – MRI and Cardiac MRI Equipment, CT Scanning Unit, X-ray System , Ultrasound Unit, Obstetric and Maternal Fetal Ultrasound Equipment, Bone Densitometry or DXA, Fluoroscopy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Digital Mammography.
- Area – Diagnostic and Therapeutic
Applications – ECG Machines, Blood Pressure Monitor, Therapeutic Ultrasound Devices, Combination Therapy Units, Light Therapy Equipment, Urinalysis System, Portable Ultrasound Scanner, X-Ray Film Processor Tabletop, Electrical Muscle Stimulators, and Magnetic Resonance Tomography
- Area – Patient Monitoring
Applications – ECG, Oxygen measurement, Temperature Measurement, and Blood Pressure Monitoring, among several others.
Medical Grade Cable Assemblies Tailored to your Applications
These days, medical device manufacturers prefer customized cable assemblies so that the final assembly fits their applications perfectly. However, ensure that you are providing the exact specifications to the manufacturer when stipulating requirements.
For specialized medical applications, cable assemblies can be customized to incorporate the following:
- Non-toxic and irritant-free cables
- Color-coding for polarization
- Smaller bend radius
- Low surface friction
Medical cable assemblies are built to last to resist frequent wash-downs using mild cleaning agents or industrial sterilization solutions. Also, they are superbly engineered to resist chemicals, radiation, vibration, high pressures, humidity, and variable temperatures. In addition, they can withstand corrosion, moisture, UV light, abrasion, impact and more.
With increasing dependence on electronic equipment, there is a huge need for cable assemblies that are reliable in performance, and durable in service. One industry that depends immensely on cable assemblies is the medical sector. Diagnostic equipment like ECG and EKG, imaging systems like X-ray, CT, MRI, PET, as well as automated laboratory machines and systems depend on medical cable assemblies for support.
Points for Custom Cable Assembly Design
Every cable assembly is different, and is designed to meet particular needs of an application. Hence, there are a variety of companies that design and produce assemblies for application areas such as hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, research laboratories, etc.
Custom cable manufacturers work with a customer to design the perfect assembly for his needs. Customers need to provide specific information that will ensure that the cable assembly will be built according to their requirements.
Here are a few points to remember when designing a custom medical cable assembly:
- Sterility Requirements: Every equipment used in a medical application needs to meet certain standards of hygiene prescribed by the FDA. The cable assembly will have to be designed depending on the number of times that the equipment is washed down or sterilized.
- Choice of Disposable or Reusable Cables: The design of the cables will also differ if they are disposable or reusable in nature. Disposable cables can be constructed from materials like PVC, which is less expensive. Reusable cables need to be sterilized prior to usage. Therefore, the insulation needs to be constructed from a material like polyurethane, which can withstand repeated sterilization procedures.
- Beneficial Operation Characteristics: As each application area and environment is different, the insulation and outer protective jacket will have to be designed to protect the cable from environmental hazards such as moisture, chemicals, abrasions, extreme temperatures, etc. Depending on the application space, the assembly will have to be flexible for installation and repair.
For a manufacturer, understanding a medical application is the first step in helping the customer choose the right materials for cable assembly construction. With the information provided by the client, industrial designers can produce the ideal medical cable assembly for medical applications.