Medical Design & Outsourcing - SEPTEMBER 2016

Page 110


A foolproof formula for customized connectors Four steps help design a better-thanstandard fluid coupling.

Ty l e r G r u b b | Design Engineer Medical Business Unit | CPC |

Connectors – seemingly small components – have a significant impact on medical device design, function and user satisfaction. The wide capabilities of today’s couplings make devices easier and safer to operate. For instance, they can stop flow when lines are disconnected, detect the correct placement of multiple lines and even confirm the type of media being delivered. They can also relay valuable information such as temperature and pressure. Smart couplings can track batch numbers, expiration dates, and the number of uses for limited-use devices. Custom connectors enhance the performance of a growing array of medical applications, including surgical and patient monitoring devices and invitro diagnostic tools. Custom parts meet exact performance requirements, extend a device’s functional capabilities, and differentiate products from the competition. Is a custom solution right for you? Here are four key steps to follow when working with a connector specialist to provide an ideal fluid coupling for your device: 1. Define your requirements – technical, price, and timing. Do your performance requirements extend beyond the capabilities of standard catalog parts? Do you want to reduce cost by integrating multiple components? Are your engineering resources focused on other subassemblies? If

so, tap into the extensive capabilities and experience of a connector expert. Simple custom modifications include incorporating a particular O-ring, spring or tubing material to address chemical or sterilization compatibility. Other straightforward projects include accommodating multiple fluid lines or adapting to unique tubing sizes or bottle caps. More advanced connectors might feature data lines, sensors, or radiofrequency identification (RFID). Whatever the complexity, highly qualified coupling suppliers invest significant time early in the process to understand design inputs for optimal custom outputs. For example, the manufacturer of an emergency patient-monitoring system found that rough handling in the field broke the tubing connectors on their blood pressure cuff, creating leaks that required expensive service

Hybrid connectors can consolidate multiple connections between remote tools and a device, and improve patient safety by eliminating misconnections. Such connectors allow fast, easy, simultaneous connection of multiple lines for electricity, fluids, or air. 106

Medical Design & Outsourcing

Connectors_ 9-16_Vs4.indd 106

9 • 2016

9/10/16 7:11 PM