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A. Six Key Design Features Of Medical Enclosures

1. Toughness/resilience – medical enclosures must be much stronger than you would expect. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they will have an easy life just because they spend their life in a comfortable heated and air-conditioned hospital (rather than in a factory, a foundry or on an oil rig).

Medical devices will be used intensively…day after day, week in week out, year after year with no let-up. Hospitals don’t have the budgets to buy electronics they will use once in a while. So this equipment must be able to withstand a punishing daily regime – and being handled by lots of different healthcare professionals, virtually all of whom will be working under pressure.

2. UV stability is important – even though the enclosures will be used indoors. Never underestimate the power of the sun’s rays to discolor, degrade and weaken plastics! Glass blocks UVB rays but not longer-wavelength UVA rays. It is possible to mold medical enclosures from ABS but a better choice for UV-stability is ASA. Or better still, an ASA blend such as ASA+PC-FR which is less flammable and includes polycarbonate for added strength.

3. Ergonomics are important for any modern enclosure but the medical sector demands more. Contours are the watchword for any medical housing. Not just because it makes them more comfortable to use, but also because gentle curves are easier to keep clean than lots of right-angled insets. And remember that that these devices have to be handled by patients as well as clinicians. Some of those patients may have physical or mental impairments so ease of use is critical.

4. Easy cleaning for infection control is a must – especially in this age of modern hospital superbugs. Hospitals are highly sensitive to the risk of Healthcare-associated Infections (HCAIs) that can be transmitted either through medical procedures or simply from being in contact with them in a hospital setting. That means molding enclosures from a high-gloss plastic (such as ASA) which is easier to wipe clean and sterilise.

5. Security is vital. Medical enclosures must be tamper-proof. That means using Torx assembly screws as standard.

6. Aesthetics is an important factor. Medical equipment must not just function well, it must look good too – and stay good looking. How would you feel if you were a patient and the electronics being used to diagnose your condition or treat you were housed in a plastic case that looked tired and dated? It would not fill you with confidence.

B. Seven Standard Plastic Enclosures For Medical Electronics