Category Archives: Medical Industry

4 Uses for Custom Cable Assemblies in Healthcare

Off-the-shelf cable wiring is acceptable for many applications like power tools or home wiring. However, when dealing with sensitive equipment and peoples’ lives, it’s worth paying a little more attention to how you invest in custom cable assemblies.
custom-cable-assemblies

Durability

Medical devices are subject to intense strain on a daily basis, from heavy-use by devices such as defibrillators to low-intensity, but high exposure, devices such as pace-makers. The amount of regular stress that these devices must endure and overcome is immense.

Disposability

There is some imbalance in viewpoints when it comes to cable wire disposability vs. reusability. Reusable wires must be able to endure the sterilization process and remain functional, while disposable wires can be less durable but must be replaced after single-use. For these purposes, it really comes down to use of the cable wiring. In some situations safety trumps cost and disposability is preferred, whilst other times reusable devices are preferred because the machines are too expensive to replace.

Biochemical Interface

One of the most taxing conditions for wiring operation is at the biological technological point of contact. Customized cable assemblies may need to comply with specific regulations and pass a series of stress tests. Working with an experience cable manufacturing company like, Meridian Cable Assemblies, will ensure wiring will meet strict standards and comply to federal regulations.

Adaptability

Devices must be able to adapt and perform during many different scenarios. Custom cable assemblies allow you to design assemblies and wire harnesses equipped with the perfect technical specifications to meet their needs for each situation.

Cable Assemblies for Healthcare

For more than 25 years, Meridian Cable Assemblies has been designing and manufacturing cable assemblies for device manufacturers. We design more than 70 percent of the products we produce and work directly with our clients to ensure the highest quality. Custom cable assemblies are the best way to get the perfect device ready for both medical professionals and their patients.

What You Need to Know About Electric Cable Assemblies

What You Need to Know About Electric Cable Assemblies

Electronic Cable Assemblies

Electric cable assemblies are found on medical products, military equipment, industrial controls and machinery, and all kinds of consumer electronics. Electric cables can be defined as cables that transmit control signals or information, or that supply low current power typically below 5 amps. Often the power is DC by sometimes it can be AC, but in either case for electronic cable assemblies the power is low.

Electric cable assemblies are used on a wide variety of equipment they often experience wide ranges of movement, or flexing. Regardless of how much movement the assembly experiences it is critical that it be designed correctly to withstand any flexing. This is important for two reasons. One, a failed cable assembly means the data or power stops and this can have bad consequences. Two, a wrong design can increase costs beyond what the application truly needs.

Some applications require a lot of flexural capability. Examples are medical cables, military cables or industrial control cables where failure is not an option or the equipment runs quickly for long periods of time. Other applications don’t flex much at all. Examples are vending machine cables, security cables or box build wire harnesses that are installed one time and never move again.

Flexural requirements for wire assemblies can range from 1, in the case of wire harnesses, to hundreds of thousand for industrial cables. Some products need hi-flex cables to ensure they never fail, which is the case for medical cable assemblies and military cable assemblies.

How many flexes a cable can withstand is a direct function of the materials used in construction and the process employed to make the product.

In regards to electronic cable assemblies, there are really only 3 types of materials in any cable or wire, metal, plastic and fillers.

  • Typically the metal used is copper in some fashion. The copper can be bare, plated with another metal such as tin, or in some cases clad around another metal such as silver.
  • The plastic can be any combination of polyvinyl chloride, PVC, polyethylene, PE, polyurethane, PU, or thermoplastic elastomer, TPE.
  • Fillers are used to ensure the cable’s cross section is uniform in shape, whether round, oval or square a uniform cross section is critical.

At the heart of all cables and wires is metal, typically copper. Metal as we all know comes in many varieties and copper, for most applications, has the best attributes to make a cable or wire. As we also know most metals don’t like bending. This is especially true of larger pieces, which is why most electronic cable assemblies use stranded wires. This means to make a certain gauge conductor many smaller strands of copper are used. The amount of copper doesn’t change it is just spread across many conductors. As we all know small things bend easier than large things so a wire or cable made with a high strand count will have a long flex life than a wire or cable made with one conductor.

Around the conductors is most often plastic of some kind. We all experience and use plastic every day and the variety is quite amazing. From the rigid bodies of cell phones, to the semi flexible sides of a milk or water container, to soft pliability of a rubber band plastics used in custom cable assemblies come in even more varieties than copper. Some custom wire assemblies can accept very rigid constructions, but for custom electronic cable assemblies usually a high degree of flexing is required. For these applications it is best to use plastics capable of handling repeated bending. These can range from PVC all the way to PTFE.

Obviously with all these factors designing a custom electronic cable can range from simple to very complex, so finding a qualified cable and wire vendor is critical for many companies. Meridian Cable recently designed, manufactured and cycled a cable assembly to over 200,000 cycles without any failures. If you need custom electronic cable assemblies, Meridian Cable can design and manufacture just what you need. Contact us today for any custom cables needs or view some of our cable assembly designs.

3 Reasons Why Coil Cords are Important in a Wireless World

3 Reasons Why Coil Cords are Important in a Wireless World

28-gauge 30-gauge coil cords

Coil cords are everywhere, from the back of a semi truck, to a camera’s flash strobe to the arcade games where you manipulate a claw to pick up a toy. Coil cords are used in a wide variety of industries too. Coiled cables are used by the medical industry, security industry and industrial control industry to name but a few. And in this age of everything wireless a good question is why would anyone use a coiled cord? So no matter what you call it, a coil cord, curly cord or coiled cable this article will give some reasons why a coil cord is still the right solution for many applications.

1) There are three main reasons to use a custom coil cord instead of wired solution. The first is power. While wireless solutions exist for many application when electrical power needs to be supplied it almost always is done with wire or cable. When something is wireless it means the product uses radio waves of some sort. Radios that we listen to are one example of just such a product. We could connect all radios with coil cords and send the signal along the cord, but that isn’t practical for long lengths of distances, so radio waves are used to send the signal. When radios waves are sent they move in all directions and don’t really care what they hit, and don’t react with anything but antennas “tuned” to their frequency.

Power is different. If power was transmitted like radios wave it would interact with anything metallic in its path. And if the metallic object was connected to something the power would transfer from the metal to the object. This would act as conductors, and could be very bad as in the extreme case of lightning, which is a very powerful wave of energy. So cables, and coil cords, are used as a part to transfer power for obvious safety reasons.

2) The second reason coiled cables are used instead of wireless is to avoid electronic noise. We live in a world filled with radio waves all around us. Often custom coil cords are used instead of radio waves because the items needing the signal would be damaged or impaired by other signals. A classic representation of this is again a radio, only the old AM kind. We have heard static and other stations fade in and out on radios. The static we hear is noise. If a coiled cord was used instead of radio waves, and the radio was shielded from outside waves, we wouldn’t hear static. However connecting all radios with coil cords is impractical, but in an operating room it isn’t. This is why cables and coil cords are often used in hospitals.

3) The third reason to use a coil cord instead of wireless signal is security. In the early days of cell phones, it wasn’t unusual to be talking with someone one moment and the next be speaking with someone else. This was because the cellular phone systems and their suppliers at that time were not as advanced as now. For most people this is not an issue, but if you are in the military it can be a matter of life or death. Having a coiled cable transmit signal or power ensures there will be no interruptions. Imagine a surgeon in the operation room losing power at a critical point in surgery. This is why where failure is not an option coiled cords are often used.

Wireless products are great, and they have made our lives much more mobile and easy. However as the above points show custom coil cords and cables are still very necessary. If you need power, a clean signal or security of transmission a coiled cable is a great solution. Meridian Cable manufactures and designs coil cords for any coiled cable need you have.

Coil Cords – Physical Shape and Performance

Recently Meridian Cable was approached by a medical device company to solve a “spring” problem.  The medical company’s device weighs about 1 pound and will be connected to a patient via a coiled cord.  The medical company wanted the device to stay put when the cable was extended 5 inches, however they didn’t want the 1 pound mass of their device to pull on the patient if the device fell off a standard bedside height surface.  This meant the device had to almost free fall for 22 inches.

The customer also had physical requirements for the coil diameter and overall cable length.  The coil diameter could not exceed 0.60 inches in outside diameter and the overall cable length must be no longer than 42 inches.  The coiled diameter could be smaller and the retracted length, or coiled section, could be adjusted.

To solve this problem the following force parameters were established.  At 5 inches extended the force must be less than 0.25 pounds and at 22 inches extended the force must be between 1.0 and 1.25 pounds.  The 5 inch force was designated “B” and the 22 inch force was designated “C”.

Several cable constructions were made, but all of them had 6, 24 awg conductors.  We settled on two cable designs with the primary difference being the type of shielding used.  Testing was performed over several days using various configurations and the results were achieved.

SAMPLE # CABLE # RETRACTED
LENGTH
(inches)
ROD
OD
(mm)
COIL
OD
(inches)
“B”
FORCE
(pounds)
“C”
FORCE
(pounds)
1 3 6.25 5 0.55 0.55 2.20
2 3 6.25 6 0.57 0.53 1.43
3 3 6.25 8 0.68 0.13 0.66
4 3 5.5 4 0.54 0.59 2.50
5 4 6.38 5 0.55 0.44 1.60
6 4 6.75 6 0.57 0.42 1.30
7 4 6.75 8 0.68 0.08 0.62
8 4 6 4 0.54 0.88 2.70
9 3 6.25 7 0.61 0.26 1.01
10 3 10.25 6 0.57 0.13 0.77
11 3 4.25 8 0.68 0.31 1.10
12 4 6.38 7 0.61 0.29 1.01
13 4 10.5 6 0.57 0.18 0.77
14 4 4.38 8 0.68 0.24 1.03

Based on the above data specific samples were made for the customer to test.  See a video of the coil cord manufacturing process or view some of our coil cord designs.