KNF recently had a feature article published in Medical Design Technology’s April issue. The article, titled “Innovation Drives Pump Technology to Meet Today’s Medical Designs” details how today’s medical device demands are being answered by advanced pump technology.
In today’s medical designs, transferring media – be it oxygen, a patient’s sample or fluid for analysis within the IVD device – is reliant on the pump, sometimes referred to as the “heart” of the application. Some pretty big advances in pump technology are helping design engineers meet the device miniaturization and cost reduction criteria set down on them. These advances are bringing additional value by optimizing performance.
One key trend that has helped meet the smaller-design, less-expensive mandate is the development of brushless DC (BLDC) motors, which allow flow rates to be regulated, helping extend device lifecycle and reliability. The ability to adjust to slower speeds also helps to reduce audible noise, a valuable benefit of today’s medical devices and systems.
Another advantage of BLDC motors in the miniaturization trend is their power requirements. BLDC motors operate at 12V or 24V, much lower than AC motors that operate at 115-230V. This significantly reduces the amount of heat generated, no small factor in compact designs. BLDC motors, with their lower operating voltage, also help create a global chassis that streamlines the system-level regulatory agency approvals, because one design can be used worldwide.
Pumps with BLDC Motors
A perfect example of pump miniaturization can be seen in the KNF NMP series, which features models that are extremely compact yet deliver king-sized performance. These pumps have proven to be extremely useful in designs such as anesthesia monitoring, where they play a crucial role in analyzing the content of patients’ exhaled air, helping ensure the required precision measurement.
Another example of a pump that utilizes BLDC technology is the KNF N838 diaphragm vacuum pump and compressor. Its many advantages have made it the pump of choice in many aspiration systems to evacuate waste and protect samples from becoming contaminated.
Medical design engineers will also find another emerging trend – digital control – advantageous. Utilizing soft-start and other electronic features, pumps with this higher-level system control capability can detect changes in the overall system and respond with automatic adjustments, extending component life, improving reliability and optimizing performance of the entire system.
More Than a Pump
There is more to selecting the proper pump than performance, though. Working with an experienced, knowledgeable pump manufacturer early on in the process is important in choosing the best pump for the application. In fact, an OEM pump manufacturer should be a part of the process from first product touch to last, and even far after. This consultative approach doesn’t just optimize the efficiency of the pump; it provides a total system solution and risk mitigation factor for the design engineer. It also provides efficiency aspects, as engineers can focus on other elements of their design while having confidence that the pump manufacturer can help specify the pump, ultimately leading to a better final product.
Simultaneously, incorporating the pump manufacturer early into the process can also benefit the pump itself. Well-designed BLDC diaphragm pumps correctly integrated into an application can boost product lifecycles, lasting more than one billion strokes. Therefore, as power consumption becomes a priority and control via electronics is maximized, costs can be reduced when compared to traditional methods of AC pump operation.