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Which Plastic Enclosure Is Best For Your Medical Electronics?

Blog - November 2018

Medical electronics require a special breed of enclosures: tough, high-quality and with a whole host of specialized design features. Hospitals, GP surgeries and other healthcare facilities set the bar very high when it comes to their electronics. After all, patients’ lives may be at stake…

Below: EVOTEC enclosure used in medical application

EVOTEC Plastic Enclosure For Medical Electronics

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.

Seven Standard Plastic Enclosures For Medical Electronics

PROTEC medical enclosures

1. PROTEC is OKW’s newest plastic enclosure – and healthcare will be a key market. These soft-contoured square desktop and wall mounted housings are robust enough to be used outdoors as well as indoors. They are moulded from UV-stable ASA+PC-FR and rated to UL 94 V-0 for flammability.

BODY-CASE medical enclosures

2. BODY-CASE (IP 65) wristwatch-style wearable enclosures are designed to fit a standard 18 mm watchstrap. That makes them perfect for applications which involve bio-feedback sensors for healthcare, therapeutic and social care; fitness and wellness data recording and transmission; patient or clinician safety geo-localisation; digital communications; tracking and monitoring.

Ergonomic and comfortable BODY-CASE is designed to be worn next to the skin for extended periods of time. Its high-gloss ASA case is easy to keep clean (as is the optional charging station available as an accessory). Choose from two sizes (1.96" x 1.61" x 0.62" and 2.16" x 1.81" x 0.66").

STYLE-CASE medical enclosures

3. STYLE-CASE (IP 65) handheld enclosures can be used to control medical equipment via either cable or infrared remote control. Choose from three sizes (4.84" x 1.88" x 0.94" to 6.53" x 2.51" x 1.22") in either glossy and UV-stable ASA or infrared-permeable PMMA.

EVOTEC medical enclosures

4. EVOTEC contoured enclosures (IP 65) for medical and laboratory electronics offer a choice of mounting options (desktop or wall) – so they can be specified for a variety of applications in healthcare environments. This provides ergonomic and aesthetic design continuity. Three versions are available: flat top (four plan sizes, 3.93" x 2.44" to 9.84" x 6.10"), inclined (12°) top with or without recess (two plan sizes 7.87" x 4.88" mm and 9.84" x 6.10"). They are moulded from ASA+PC-FR.

CARRYTEC medical enclosures

5. CARRYTEC (IP 54) handheld enclosures feature an integrated grip handle which can also be used to manoeuvre the housing more easily when it is mounted on a suspension arm. Optional sidebags enable medical probes and sensors to be carried while still connected to cables for swift deployment. Choose from ABS or tough ASA+PC-FR in four sizes (8.74" x 8.07" x 3.14", 10.62" x 9.72" x 1.65", 10.62" x 9.72" x 3.58", 13.70" x 11.92" x 4.60"). Read here how CARRYTEC is being used for wire-free bed occupancy monitoring.

BLOB medical enclosures

6. Award-winning BLOB (IP 54) handheld plastic enclosures are available in three different shapes, each designed to guide the user’s fingers instinctively to the controls. This makes them suitable for a wide range of users with different hand sizes and grasping volumes. Read here how BLOB is used for:

MINITEC medical enclosures

7. Award-winning MINITEC handheld and wearable enclosures offer a huge range of permutations thanks to their combination of two shapes, three sizes and a multitude of standard colour options. They can be worn around the neck, on the wrist or attached to a key ring or belt. Find out more about how MINITEC is being used for:

More Medical Electronic Enclosures In Action

OKW manufactures a massive range of standard enclosures – 18 handheld housings alone. This makes it easier to specify the case you need with less customisation, saving you time and money.

Our website features 45 examples of OKW enclosures being used to house electronics for medical, wellness and laboratory applications.

View them all here >>

Get Expert Advice

Contact OKW for expert advice on the best enclosures for your medical and wellness electronics.

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