Cables that work perfectly well in a non-medical environment can cause severe issues if used in the medical industry. In the pharmaceutical industry, a small margin of error can create a disastrous effect on the patients’ health, leading to pain, suffering, injury, and even death. Thus, the need for high-quality medical devices that will reduce this error to a tolerance range that guarantees safety.
The medical cable is one of the critical components of the medical device. Therefore you need to know the structure, material choice, and properties of medical wires to get a high-quality one that not only performs well but guarantees safety.
If you are trying to get a medical cable with high quality, but you don’t know how to go about it, don’t worry; the solution is here.
Just follow this ultimate guide.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Understanding Custom Medical Cable
- Chapter 2: Structure of Medical Cable
- Chapter 3: Materials for Medical Cable
- Chapter 4: Medical Cable Assemblies (Connectors and Types)
- Chapter 5: Properties of Medical Cable
- Chapter 6: Disposable and Reusable Medical Cable
- Chapter 7: Applications of Medical Cable
- Chapter 8: Benefit of Custom Medical Cable
Chapter 1: Understanding Custom Medical Cable
1. Medical Cable
So let’s get started; what are medical cables? Medical cables are highly developed insulated wires that allow electrical power, signal, and data between medical devices. They are flexible, reliable, and durable to withstand a wide variety of environmental conditions. Due to the high sensitivity and precision of medical devices, medical cables are made of high-quality materials. The material type and composition determine the application of the medical cable. There are countless applications of medical cables in the medical field.
2. Custom Medical Cable
Custom medical cables are medical cables uniquely designed to meet your specifications and environmental conditions. You get to specify your requirements, such as the material, thickness of the conductor, length, wire configuration (stranded or solid), jacket, connectors, and even color that best suits your environment. Don’t worry; everything is here for you, follow! How will you specify the requirements that suit your environmental conditions and still work perfectly well if you have no idea what they are?
Chapter 2: Structure of Medical Cable
The medical cable consists of three main components that contribute to its total performance: conductor, insulator, and jacket.
The conductor is one of the major components that constitute the inner structure of the medical cable. It is responsible for the transfer of electrical signals in medical devices. It is usually made of metals with high conductive properties, in solid, stranded, or tinsel form. The conductor‘s performance is a function of its material composition and construction. The conductor’s size is dependent on the amount of current it will carry.
The insulator is another critical component that forms the internal structure of any medical cable. Insulator offers high resistance to electrical flow. Thus, preventing the conductors from coming in contact with each other and the environment. It also helps to impede electrical leakage to the patient.
Insulators usually have two main properties, dielectric properties and compositions. These properties determine how efficiently the insulation will prevent electrical leakage. They also affect the cable’s flexibility, biocompatibility, and resistance to environmental factors.
In medical applications, there is a high possibility of the cable getting in contact with the patients. Therefore, you must consider the electrical leakage to the patients is during design, using the jacket.
The jacket is the outer shield that covers both the insulator and conductor. It acts as an insulator, preventing the conductor and insulator from coming in contact with the environment. Besides, it protects the inner components of the cable from damage during use, cleaning, and sterilization.
The jacket must meet the ISO 1099 and FDA requirements for bio-compatibility because they are the only material that may contact the patients. The jacketing materials must be bio grade and biocompatible.
Chapter 3: Materials for Medical Cable
You need to know the materials used for each cable component to select the type that will meet your requirements. These are just a few out of the numerous materials used for medical cable.
Copper is the most commonly used type of conductor because of its high electrical conductivity and thermal resistance. Apart from its excellent conductivity properties, copper has high flexibility. You can bend it to some degree without deforming it. It makes it a great choice when you need to turn your cable to suit the environment. Copper is also relatively cheap when compared to other conductors like gold and aluminum. For high conductivity, you can also use an alloy of copper such as
There are wide varieties of insulation materials, each with its properties for any given application. The commonly used ones are Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene (PE), and Semi-Rigid Polyvinyl chloride (SR-PVC).
When you are specifying your medical cables, you have to consider the jacketing. There should be adequate care meeting the bio-compatibility requirements. It must be durable and flexible to prevent damage during use, cleaning, and sterilization.
Below are the common jacketing materials used with their respective properties.
• Thermoplastic Elastomer or Thermoplastic Rubber (TPE/TPR): TPE/TPR is the most common medical jacketing material because of its excellent chemical resistance. It is an excellent jacketing material for cable that requires cleaning and disinfection.
You can use it for cables in the surgery room and intensive-care instruments.
• Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU): When considering strength, TPU is an excellent choice. It is the most durable jacketing material for medical applications. It has superior tensile strength, and it offers exceptional abrasion and crush resistance. TPU is a suitable choice for cables regularly. However, it has weak resistance to high heat and some cleaning agents and techniques. That limits its use to a non-sterile environment.
• Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC is the least expensive jacketing material, and it offers excellent resistance to many commonly used sterilizing chemicals. However, it is not suitable for autoclaving or high-temperature sterilization methods.
• Silicone: Silicone is the most preferred material for medical cable jackets because of its excellent autoclavable properties. It is the only material that can withstand a high number of autoclave cycles. That makes it an excellent jacketing material for sterilization. Apart from its autoclavable properties, it is lightweight and flexible.
However, it is more expensive than any other jacketing material, and it tends to tear and rip easily.
To enhance the cable quality, you can use air, water, vacuum, reinforcing elements, and some other components within the cable.
Chapter 4: Medical Cable Assemblies (Connectors and Types)
Medical cable assemblies are for making connections between medical devices. They consist of cables that band into a single unit using connectors; the connectors usually have plugs (male-end) and jack (female-end).
There are three major assemblies types: equipment and sub-assembly interfaces, communication interfaces, and patient interfaces. Each of the assemblies has its applications.
• Registered Jack (RJ) 45 Connectors: For transmission of serial data, RJ-45 Connectors are to be in use for transmission of digital data and information along the cable’s length. It has eight (8) pins outlet to which it is plugged into a jack.
• Bayonet Neill-Concelman (BNC) Connectors: For transmission of the video signal, BNC is an excellent choice. They operate in twist-locking motion to establish temporary or permanent connections.
• DIN Connectors: DIN connectors refer to any connector that conforms to the standards of Deutsches Institut für Normung. They are usually multi-pins, with the pins arranged in the circular or rectangular form to transmit the digital signal along the cable length.
Chapter 5: Properties of Medical Cable
1. Electrical Properties
The electrical properties of the medical cable are dependent on the conductor’s parameters. Parameters such as circuit resistance, intrinsic ohmic value, wire configuration (solid or stranded), platings, composition, American Wire Gauge (AWG), and flexibility all contribute to the electrical properties of the medical cable.
2. Mechanical Properties
Medical cables undergo tear and wear during use, which tends to affect the performance of the cable. Hence, the need for the cord of high mechanical properties guarantees high performance, durability, flexibility, and a long life span. The careful material selection goes a long way to determine the mechanical properties of your custom medical cable.
3. Thermal Properties
Another property you must pay attention to during the design of your custom medical cable is the cable’s thermal properties (i.e., thermal conductivity). It is the measure of the ability of the cable to conduct and transfer heat. It is slow in materials with low thermal conductivity, while in materials with high thermal conductivity.
Chapter 6: Disposable and Reusable Medical Cable
Depending on how you want to use your cable, the type of materials, the sterilization method you intend to use, etc. The custom medical cable is classified into two types: disposable and reusable.
Disposable types are of low-cost material; they are for limited use. Insulators commonly used are PVC and PE, while bare or tinned copper is used for the conductor. The reusable type is made with materials that can withstand several sterilization cycles.
Chapter 7: Applications of Medical Cable
Medical cables have found full applications in the medical industry. You see them in almost every area of the industry. These are just a few out of the numerous application you can use the medical cable for.
- CT scanners
- MRI scanners
- X-ray devices
- Ultrasound equipment and probes
- Ultrasonic scanners
• Hospital beds
• Dental chairs
Patient monitoring systems
- Electroencephalographic (EEG)
- Electrocardiographic (EKG)
- Pulse oximetry
Surgical and life support
- Anesthesia apparatus
- Respiratory equipment
- Ophthalmological instruments
Other applications include but are not limited to the catheter, defibrillator, medical implants, diagnostic imaging, and dialysis.
Chapter 8: Benefit of Custom Medical Cable
There are endless benefits you can derive from the custom medical cable. With custom medical rope, you get the cable that meets your requirements, ranging from the cable length, size, materials, and even colors.
Below are just a few out of the endless benefits you will get from custom medical cable.
• You get to save time in installing and using your medical cable and device.
• Unlike the store-bought type, your custom cables will be of high quality. Hence, improving the quality and increasing its lifespan.
• Optimum performance of both the cable and the device.
Custom medical cable is specifically to fulfill your requirements, type of use, and environmental conditions. You know several factors before the design of the cable for your application; disregarding these factors will affect the performance of your rope. Everything you need to know is in this article.