Page 24 - 2019 How-to-Specify E-Book
P. 24

Meeting Medical Market Demands for High-Density Electrical Connectors with Standard and Custom Solutions
John Holloway, Principal Engineer at ATL Technology
The growing demand for high-density electrical connectors in the medical market is being driven by an overwhelming trend towards smaller, lighter, and more ergonomically conscious medical devices. These demands can be met with an array of standard and custom solutions, but coming up with the right solution isn’t as straightforward as simply adding more pins to an existing medical connector. Due to a combination of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) specifications and other regional safety regulations, designing high-density connectors that aren’t unwieldy or cumbersome is often a challenging task.
High-Density Electrical Connectors
High-density electrical connectors are connectors that have a large number of individual contacts in a relatively small connector body. The demarcation between standard and high-density connectors is arbitrary, but the high- density nomenclature is generally reserved for connectors that have many more contacts than are typically found in comparable connectors with the same shell size.
High-density connectors are designed to accommodate many more pins than comparable connectors in the same shell size.
The Growing Demand for High-Density Electrical Connectors
The growing demand for high-density electrical connectors is driven by a number of factors, but especially size, weight, and handling requirements. Component size and weight have long been critical factors in many military and aerospace applications, and are now becoming more important in the medical market as well due to the increasing popularity of portable and patient-worn devices. By increasing the contact density of a given connector, design engineers can boost performance while maintaining the same footprint and minimizing any additional weight. Employing a high-density contact geomoetry can also prevent high-pin-count connectors from being too large and unwieldy for easy, ergonomic handling, which is especially important in high-mating-cycle medical applications, like patient monitoring and imaging equipment.
Medical Application Example: Cardiac Electrophysiology Equipment
High-performance, mission-critical medical applications like cardiac electrophysiology devices, which are responsible for analyzing the heart’s electrical signals and diagnosing various types of arrhythmia, also require high-density electrical connectors.
One such arrhythmia, atrial fibrilation (AFib), is an irregularity in the otherwise normal heartbeat of the left and/ or right atria (i.e., the two upper chambers of the heart). AFib disrupts the normal blood flow between the atria and the ventricles (i.e., the two lower chambers of the heart) and increases stroke risk by four to five times since it allows blood clots to form more readily. In fact, AFib is responsible for 15–20% of ischemic strokes caused by clots or fatty plaque deposits in blood vessel linings.1 Between 2.7 million and 6.1 million people in the United States alone are estimated to have AFib and this number is only expected to increase along with the ageing US population, as approximately 2% of people under age 65 and approximately 9% of people 65 or older have AFib.2

   22   23   24   25   26