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The Importance of Premium Medical Cables in Healthcare Machines & Devices

March 30, 2020

Carr Manufacturing Company, Inc. (CMC) was founded in 2006 to provide original equipment manufacturers with a domestic facility for their custom manufacturing and assembly needs. We treat each customer as an individual, tailoring our services specifically to their needs, including those in fields requiring medical cables.

We serve a broad client base across a myriad of industries, especially the healthcare sector where we provide a variety of standard and custom medical cables for use in medical devices and machinery. We’ve manufactured cables for use in equipment such as MRI machines, EKG equipment, fetal monitors, and more.

The Most Crucial Properties of Medical Cable Assemblies

Medical Cable Assemblies

In the medical sector, there is no room for failure. Medical devices and equipment must operate correctly at all times. Power failures, startup delays, or other equipment problems put the health and safety of patients at risk. As such, the utmost care must be taken when manufacturing cable assemblies for use in medical and healthcare applications.

At CMC, we incorporate the following properties into all of our cable assemblies:


Medical cables must be durable to accommodate the needs of medical professionals. They have to keep functioning even if they are tugged, kinked, stepped on, or otherwise interfered with. Cables must remain functional and accurate in frantic environments like emergency rooms, where a malfunctioning cable could impact the ability of medical professionals to conduct proper treatment.

In calmer environments like patient rooms or operating rooms, durability is still vital. Durable cables remain in use longer, staying cost-effective while safely powering expensive life-saving medical equipment.


While single-use cables do not need sterilization after use, they do need to be cost-effective. These cables are often purchased in bulk to facilitate a lower price-per-unit. For context, common examples of disposable medical wiring would include defibrillator lead wires or ECG/EKG wires.

Conversely, reusable cables must be manufactured to tolerate sanitization processes. This usually means that they must be capable of surviving a chemical sterilizer or an autoclave. Reusable medical cables will be constructed from specific materials based on the required sterilization method of the application.


Since medical centers vary in their application of medical cables and the environmental conditions they are used in, multiple uses and use scenarios must be considered when designing standard solutions intended for broad use.

Quality Components

Medical device cables are composed of three main components: the conductor, the insulator, and the jacket.

  • Conductor

The conductor is an internal metal such as gold, copper, or aluminum that transfers electric signals to a medical device. Conductors must be able to withstand the full range of expected operating temperatures while remaining pliable and resistant to breakage.

  • Insulator

The insulator is a critical component that prevents electricity from flowing out of the medical device cable to the patient or healthcare professionals. It also prevents interference between devices and between multiple cables within a device. The most common insulation materials in medical device cables include polypropylene, polyethylene, and semi-rigid polyvinyl chloride.

  • Jacket

The jacket is the outer covering that covers the insulator and conductor, protecting the inner components during use and sterilization. All jackets used in medical device cables must meet strict FDA and ISO 1099 requirements for biocompatibility.

Jacket materials are selected for their insulation properties and resistances. The most common jacket materials found in the healthcare industry include:

  • Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE): The most common material due to its high chemical resistance.
  • Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU): This material is durable and strong, but has a low heat tolerance that makes it incompatible with autoclaves.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): The least expensive jacket material, but not suitable for autoclaving or other cleaning methods that require high temperatures.
  • Silicone: The most preferred material for its lightweight, flexibility, and ability to withstand multiple autoclave cycles.

Signal Integrity

Signal integrity refers to a cable’s ability to provide accurate, complete, and unimpaired transmission of power and/or data. Medical cables that feature high signal integrity are less likely to malfunction due to interference from cross talk or other factors.

In the healthcare industry, medical cables may get rolled over by gurneys, tugged on by patients and medical professionals, stepped on, and more. All medical cables must be stringently tested in a variety of use conditions to ensure that no malfunctions occur even under the harshest medical conditions.

Patient wellbeing depends upon the proper function of medical cables, so the design and manufacturing processes must be carefully evaluated before production can begin. Medical device cables also demand thorough inspection and testing prior to release to ensure that they function properly and will not harm any medical professionals or patients when in use, whether directly or indirectly.

Medical Cable Assemblies From Carr Manufacturing Company

At CMC, we have an active SAM Registration and are capable of handling any manufacture project no matter how niche, including custom medical device cables. We’d love the opportunity to provide you a product that meets your exact design specifications. Contact us to learn more about our services and capabilities.

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