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HomeTips & GuidesMedical Cable Assemblies: Types of cables used in the medical industry

Medical Cable Assemblies: Types of cables used in the medical industry

About Medical Cable Assemblies: In recent years, we have experienced a technology boom and are taking advantage of it in one way or another. 

However, the medical industry has grabbed this opportunity most productively. 

Technically upgraded devices and innovative medical equipment have helped healthcare providers manage the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases.

However, the success of these instruments is attributed to the advanced signal control and power control components. Custom-designed medical cable assemblies are transforming the use of new technology in this field.

What are Medical Cable Assemblies?

Medical cable assemblies help the industry connect equipment and laboratory instruments to transmit data and power signals. They are either single or groups of cables connected in a single unit using connectors.

Applications of Medical Cable Assemblies:

The healthcare industry uses medical cable assemblies in many applications. Whether the simple medical guidewire or the most complicated surgical equipment, medical assembly is required for their functioning. Some examples include:

  • RF ablation,
  • Surgical knife assemblies
  • Medical balloons
  • Guidewires
  • Coblation surgical assemblies
  • Catheters
  • Disposable surgical wand assemblies, and much more.

Out of this huge range of medical cable assemblies, some cables do not contact the patient directly. Instead, they are part of the larger assemblies in X-ray machines, innovative robotic devices and video monitors. There are three types of medical cable assemblies:

Equipment and sub-assembly interfaces.

Such assemblies are common in larger machines like MRI and other imaging devices. These assemblies come factory-fitted in these devices and can only be replaced.

Communication interfaces:

Medical cable assemblies transmit data signals between devices in this category. These can be fiber optic cables, serial cables or LAN cables. 

Patient interfaces:

These medical cable assemblies must be durable but cost-effective, as they are replaced after every use to minimize the risk of infections. Based on the intensity of infection control required, this category has three subtypes:

  1. Long-life interfaces: These are designed to withstand long-term contact with the patient without infection. For instance, the ones used for monitoring vital signs and ECG diagnosis.
  1. Limited use interface: These cables undergo continuous medical stress and chemical exposure. As a result, these are the most durable of all subtypes and need replacement only with the schedule.
  1. Single-use interfaces: These are supposed to be disposed of after every single use.
Electrode Stimulating massage of the spine

Electrode Stimulating massage of the spine

Key attributes of a medical cable assembly:

The application of medical cable assemblies is very sensitive, and thus, they have some special attributes.

EMI protection:

A medical room has so many electronic devices, and every device emits some electromagnetic interference, hindering the performance of other devices.

However, signals should be intact for medical devices to ensure precision and safety. Thus, medical cable assemblies are designed with special shielding to reduce noise interference.

Human safety:

Medical assemblies deal with infectious materials; thus, they must follow strict guidelines regarding sanitation and human-friendly conditions.

Most countries, including California, New York, and Illinois, follow RoHS directives in this regard. According to this directive, using hazardous substances like phthalates, flame retardants, heavy metals, etc. is strictly restricted for use in electrical equipment.

Further, medical cable assembly manufacturers must avoid using harmful chemicals such as cadmium, mercury and lead during manufacturing.

The abrasion-resistant and biocompatible outer jacket of medical cable assemblies is completely non-toxic. They do not trigger any immune response, ensuring complete human safety.

Compliance with safety and regulatory standards (international and regional) like ISO 10993-1 is also essential to pass biological evaluation of these devices.

Reliability:

Medical cables connect to the devices used for critical treatments, such as patient support systems and life-saving diagnoses.

Thus, reliable performance from all the components, be it connectors, shields and conductors, is very much expected. Manufacturers must make sure that all the components are of high quality.

Durability:

Different healthcare workers, medical devices, and assemblies suffer from constant wear and tear. Only a durable product can bear the constant abuse from foot traffic, gurneys and wheelchairs.

The application demands medical cable assemblies to be flexible to withstand frequent kinking. Also, they must resist moisture, chemicals and extreme temperatures, including heat.

Medical cables

Medical cables

Single-use:

Cables in direct contact with patients must be disposed of immediately to avoid infections. It is difficult to decontaminate these cables as different treatment methods change their function and structure.

Components of medical cable assemblies:

The medical industry demands high-performing products; thus, they must be manufactured using special components. 

Connectors:

In different configurations, connectors help lock cables and wires securely for smooth transmission of power and data signals. 

Flat flexible cables or FFC

These thin and flat cables are common in high-density and modern electronics like smartphones, tablets, LCDs and LEDs. The FFC used in these devices is thin, lightweight and compact.

Due to their highly flexible and easy-bending nature, they form secure connections between device components.

Flexible printed circuit or FPC:

Like FFC, they are thin and used in highly dense electronic devices such as cameras. Flexible printed circuits have replaced hard boards that used to take up too much space.

Micro-coaxial cables:

Micro-coaxial cables have multi-layer structures comprising inner and outer conductor layers separated by a dielectric layer. All these layers remain protected under an outermost jacket. The outer conductor of a micro-coaxial cable protects from electromagnetic interference to the inner conductor.

LVDS cables:

Abbreviated for Low-voltage Differential Signaling, these cables have high-speed analog circuits, fulfilling high-speed transmission needs in modern applications.

The circuit ensures multi-gigabit data transmission on copper interconnects. Communication devices in the medical industry use LVDS for high-speed data transfers.

DF9 cables:

DF9 cables are flexible, easily bent, soldered, and molded to laminated FFCs. They are used in board-to-panel display interconnects, connecting circuit boards to a flat panel display.

Due to their compact and narrow designs, they form reliable and efficient interconnections between the board and the panel. In the medical industry, these are used in monitors, video, and HD displays.

Power supply cables:

As the name clears, these cables deliver power to medical devices and equipment, based on the purpose, power cables are of different types. 

  • Battery cables
  • Adapter cables
  • Extension cables
  • AC/DC power cords

Coiled cables:

Coiled cables are similar to regular cables in their functionality, but they have a spring shape to increase flexibility. Due to their capability to extend and retract, they can expand to larger areas but take up much less space for storage. Also, as they do not tangle easily, they are very useful in the medical industry.

Twisted pairs and twin axial cables:

Twisted pair cables comprise two twisted wires as central conductors instead of one. The twisted pairs help to reduce noise effects and, thus, are used for differential signal lines.

These cables have maximum transmission rates of 2-4 Gbps, while twin axial cables can work at higher transmission rates of up to 25 Gbps. However,  twisted pairs are more flexible than their twin axial counterparts.

Twin axial cables are similar to coaxial cables but have two twisted inner conductors instead of one. As a result, you can use twin axial cables in high-bandwidth applications.

Twin axial cables are advantageous over twisted pairs, offering better longer signal travel, lower attenuation and better impedance.

EKG machine

EKG machine

Custom medical cable assemblies at Cloom:

At Cloom, you can find a wide range of medical cable assemblies and connectors that ensure reliable and long-lasting performance in several medical environments. We strive to meet all your specifications and environmental conditions in our medical cabling solutions.

Diagnostic imaging cables:

  • Cables used in CT, C-arm, X-ray machines, Fluoroscopes, Mammography, etc.
  • Coiled cables for MRI scans
  • Cable assemblies and wiring harnesses for patient beds, mobile devices and supporting arms
  • Footswitch and hand cables
  • Patch and control cables for the supply of regular and special data and signals.

Surgery cables:

  • HDMI and DVI cables for video monitors
  • Disposable/reusable medical devices
  • Individual cable assemblies for medical instruments
  • Flexible cable and cable assemblies for movable operating tables
  • Disinfecting and sterilizable cables and systems
  • Customs-designed cables and wires for operating room microscopes

Patient monitoring cables:

  • Reusable cables unaffected by frequent sterilization and disinfection
  • Disposable cables for patient-contact use
  • Carbon ECG cables that do not interfere with X-rays
  • Individual cables and cable assemblies for life support systems
  • Biocompatible medical cable
  • Data and control cables (copper and fiber made) for device monitoring

Endoscopy cables:

  • ENT use
  • Surgical robot
  • Colonoscopy surgery
  • Mono and bipolar electrosurgery
  • Laparoscopic robots and surgeries and many more

Laboratory diagnostic cables:

  • Cardiac testing and systems
  • Electrocardiogram machines
  • Laboratory automation
  • Genomics and forensics test devices
  • Chemistry and immunoassay analyzers
  • And many more

Aesthetic cables

  • Non-invasive fat reduction
  • Laser refinishing
  • Facial aesthetics surrey
  • Submental heat contouring
  • Non-invasive lipolysis
  • And many more

Endoscope cables:

  • Temperature probe cables
  • ECG/EKG cables
  • Pulse oximetry cables
  • Surgical blood pressure cuff cables

Ultrasonic cables:

Ultrasonic testing or ultrasound uses sound waves to study a patient’s medical condition. In ultrasound, ultrasonic machines are used, which use ultrasonic cables to send and receive signals between the patient and the device.

Hybrid bundle cables:

Cloom also offers hybrid bundling of cables to form a multi-function cable with different features and benefits. We offer tubes for fluidics and air, special optical fiber for power and data transmission or regular copper wiring for power and data. Our hybrid cable bundles feature:

  • Different types of data, fiber optic, power, twin axial and coaxial cables are available for bundling
  • Accurate extrusion and cabling technology
  • Customs designs
  • Multi-layering capability

Conclusion:

As the technology becomes smaller and more compact, it becomes more powerful. The cables and wires need to be upgraded with these technical advancements, not only in the medical industry but in all others.

The medical cables and wires offered by the Cloom are amongst the top designs used by medical professionals. If you need any custom-designed medical cables, we can do it for you. Contact our team and discuss your requirements.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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