The Evolution of Solenoid Valves within the Medical Device Industry

The Evolution of Solenoid Valves within the Medical Device Industry

The basic electromechanical fundamentals of solenoids and solenoid valves have not changed greatly since the first concepts were developed in the 1900’s. However, there has been a significant evolution in the materials used and the methods in which solenoids and solenoid valves are manufactured. This evolution is partly in response to the ever-evolving regulatory requirements and specifically in relation to use for medical applications.

In addition, the use of different signalling for example PWM and the move to current controlled as opposed to voltage control of valves has opened new possibilities for the use of solenoids and solenoid valves in the medical device industry, through more precise flow control options.

Why has there been a move to Solenoids and Solenoid Valves in the Medical Device Industry?

In recent decades, solenoids and solenoid valves are increasingly being used in a wide range of medical device applications. There are several reasons for this:

Increase in demand for portable medical devices – With an ageing population in Europe and an increasing pressure to reduce healthcare costs, healthcare procedures and recuperation are increasingly being carried out in GP practices, nursing homes, and homes, leading to an increase in demand for portable medical devices such as ventilators.

Increase in demand for smaller and lightweight components – Portable medical devices are by their nature more lightweight and smaller in size. The compact design of solenoid valves allowing them to be used in small enclosures typical of portable and bedside medical equipment.

High power density – Solenoid valves offer a high-power density which can help reduce the overall equipment size and weight.

 

Reliable and repeatable technology – Due to the safety critical nature of the medical device industry high levels of reliability and repeatability are required. Solenoid valves are extremely reliable.

 

Compact design possibilities – The high-power density offered by solenoid actuators enables compact and flexible design solutions.

 

Flexible fluid control – The addition of drivers and proportional current controls has given equipment manufacturers flexibility to design systems with sophisticated software drivers capable of precision metering of critical air and liquid supplies to patients.

 

Low noise operation – Some medical applications, such as patient monitors require minimal noise to increase patient comfort. Solenoid valves can be optimised to reduce noise.

 

Low energy consumption – Solenoid valves are extremely energy efficiency. They are designed to reduce energy consumption.

 

 

The above factors make solenoid valves the perfect choice for a wide range of medical device applications, including:

Ventilators and respirators – Solenoid valves plays a key role in the pneumatic systems of ventilators and respirators. They are used for precision control of oxygen and air flow to patients.

 

 

 

Dialysis equipment – Pinch valves or clamping solenoids have long been used for maintaining fluid control during dialysis and are a pivotal part of most dialysis equipment.

 

 

 

Diagnostic equipment – Solenoids are used to control intake of sample and for dosage in laboratory analysis.

 

 

 

 

Anaesthesia delivery – Solenoid valves are used in the pneumatic systems to control flow.

 

 

 

 

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, pushing for smarter and more efficient medical devices, it is expected that solenoid valves will continue to play a large role in medical device applications.

LISK Ireland offer a range of bespoke solutions for the medical device industry. Contact us today to discuss your medical device project.

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