People often marvel at the technology involved within the medical industry which enables people to live longer, healthier lives. However, some of the technology involved within the medical industry is honest, down-to-earth tech such as motors and gearboxes, and these have advanced more in the past 15 years than they have done in the past century. They have aided the medical industry in introducing portable, disposable and battery-operated equipment as well as the motors themselves becoming smaller, quieter, more powerful and more robust.
Motors play a crucial role in so many aspects of the medical industry, and as a design engineer if you are looking to incorporate motors and gearboxes into your medical products there are many applications where they have a crucial role.
- Ventilators and Respiratory Devices – Motors are crucial for driving the air pumps and ensuring regular airflow through the ventilators. Parvalux motors are robust providing reliability to accurately control the volume, pressure and flow of the air.
- Fluid Pumps – Motors drive the fluid pumps which administer regulated delivery of fluids, medications and nutrients directly to the patients. The motors need to fit a small size envelope, as well as being as quiet as possible, as they are placed close to patients.
- Diagnostic Equipment – Diagnostic equipment can cover a large range of machinery including X-ray, MRI and CT scanners. Motors are used to drive a number of components within these machines ensuring accurate and reliable imagery. Some applications within diagnostic equipment may require high torque, while others need high speed for certain functions.
- Patient Hoists and Mobility Aids – Some of the most vital equipment for social care are the patient hoists and mobility aids which are powered by motors and gearboxes ensuring the patients are moved safely and smoothly every single time. Parvalux motors are suitable for various weight loads, from paediatric to bariatric (>500lb), as well as being battery or mains-operated. These motors typically require a high torque and a low to moderate speed to move patients safely.
- Laboratory Automation – Not all equipment deals directly with patients, but things like centrifuges and lab robots are a central part of laboratory automation. Since the Covid pandemic it has been even more vital for fast high-volume laboratory work which has meant more laboratories have automated. Parvalux can help customers find a solution for this application.
- Dental Equipment – When visiting the dentist not only is the chair itself powered by a motor but also the suction systems on the hand-held equipment which are central to patient care. The motors have to be smooth running, as well as reliable. In a lot of practices, you might see a brushless solution.
- Prosthetic and Orthotic Devices – Some advanced prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces are fitted with motors which can provide extra mobility assistance to patients enabling them to move with greater ease and a more natural gait. The motors should have a moderate torque with high speed for control in various movements as well as being able to start and stop quickly in order to mimic natural movement.
- Surgical Robots – Motors are the lynchpin of surgical robots which need to be precise and controlled, easing the complexity of even the most delicate operations. A wide variety of motors are used with surgical machinery from brush and brushless DC motors, stepper, and gear motors depending on the specifications of the machinery.
- Patient Monitoring Systems – Patient monitoring devices such as ECG and telemetry units rely on motors to function. Motors used within these devices generally require low to moderate torque but a variable speed control to guarantee patient comfort.
- Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy Devices – These devices are designed to help patients gain strength and mobility, and motors can facilitate controlled and customised exercises. Devices for resistance training may require high torque, while others for passive motion may need lower torque and variable speed control.
One of the defining features of medical equipment and of course the motors and gearboxes that drive them is that they have to be robust as they may be required to function in extreme environments being subject to caustic fluids, steam, high temperatures, vacuums and of course long periods of use. There is nothing to be done about the environment, so here at Parvalux, we need to ensure that the motors are suitable for the environment and need minimum maintenance therefore reducing equipment downtime.
Features of Robust Motors
We are proud of our motors and gearboxes for being reliable, and robust which is essential when considering the life-and-death aspect of some of these applications. We have been supplying the medical industry with motors and gearboxes for more than 75 years, and for many manufacturers and companies, we are their first choice. Therefore we fully understand the importance of ensuring the right combination of torque, power and speed for each specific application.
- Torque – This is the rotational force generated by a motor, and is a crucial element for many applications within the medical industry. Generally high torque motors run at slow speeds and low torque motors run at high speeds.
- Speed – The speed at which a motor can rotate, is important for many applications. Motors with high-speed capabilities are used where rapid motion or high rotation speed is required, such as hand-held dentistry tools. Low-speed motors, on the other hand, are suitable for applications that require slower movements, such as hoists.
- Flexibility – Robust motors need to be flexible in that they are able to work in changing conditions and adapt quickly. They are also able to be adapted to work with a number of different applications and requirements.
When supplying to the medical industry we take factors such as load requirements, space constraints and safety standards very seriously, and can provide off-the-shelf options, semi-customised electric motors or fully customised motors specific to your application requirements.