Custom cable assemblies are the most frequently chosen wiring option for devices used in the healthcare industry. Largely, this is due to the fact that only custom assemblies can handle the complexity of the devices and their intended application. The wiring needs of medical devices are different than other electronics devices, because they are expected to function properly, are biocompatible with patients’ bodies, and must withstand the sterilization process.
Cables used for medical applications may be manufactured from a wide variety of component materials, depending on the requirements associated with its use. For instance, some devices may have their requirements met using standard cabling. Standard wiring is not specific to the medical industry, but is commonly used in the internal wiring of many devices that do not require contact with the patient or the sterilization process. Standard cable may also be used for powering devices. Custom cables can be a great choice for devices that need super flexible wiring in tight, crowded spaces.
However, more often than not, medical cabling needs are more complicated. For instance, the majority of electric wire or cable purchased for the purpose of medical devices is specially designed to withstand sterilization, patient contact, or flexibility to get in and around those tight spaces. Custom wire is the perfect choice for these types of applications. When working with a manufacturer, it is important to clearly communicate any requirements in order to get the best possible raw materials for your device.
Here are a couple of key pieces of information to convey to your cabling partner:
Reusable vs. Disposable – The benefit of disposable wire and cable, is that it does not need sterilization, and in many cases can be far more affordable than PE or PVC. On the other hand, reusable cables can be subjected to the sterilization process over and over. For more expensive or harder to replace cables, reusable is often the best choice.
Sterilization Resistance – Your wire’s ability to withstand the sterilization process depends on the materials used in the insulation and jacket of the wire. Typically a metal or fiber wire carries an electric signal, but is insulated by materials to prevent heat, exposure to electricity, and signal interference. Materials such as Teflon, TPE, or silicone are often top choices because they can withstand the excessive heat, moisture, and chemicals that are used in autoclaves and E-beam machines.
Bio Compatible – Additionally, it is important for many medical devices to be biocompatible, particularly at the point of contact between the device and the patient’s body. Many devices will require FDA approved materials for the point of contact with the patient’s skin, arteries, muscles, etc.
Flexibility and Durability – Many devices need their wiring to fit inside very small exterior medical device cases. This means they need to be thin and flexible. Or, you may need wires that are abrasion resistant for cables that drag on the floor or are worn on the body, or able to withstand high temperatures, flex, and even moisture.
Partnering with a custom cable assemblies provider is the perfect way to make sure your needs are met. A design consultant will be assigned to your account to help you make choices to custom design your own medical device wiring. For a full consultation regarding your application and device, contact us now!