What Are The Factors To Consider When Choosing Custom Or Standard Medical Connectors?

There are many factors to consider when choosing custom or standard medical grade connectors. In the design of new medical equipment, one of the decisions faced by manufacturers is to choose a connector and supporting socket. For some applications, standard connectors are a viable option; for others, custom or combo connectors may be more appropriate.

Reasons for choosing custom medical connectors include:

  • The unique design is required to ensure that only specific cables or connectors can be plugged into the device;
  • The shape of the connector must match the shape of the medical device;
  • Multiple signal types (high voltage, low voltage, high bandwidth, data, thermocouple) must be carried in a single connector;
  • Better meet cost targets;
  • Custom logo or mark required;
  • The unique pin to pin socket pattern or connector shape is used to prevent the incompatible connector from being plugged, to improve the security.

Custom electrical connectors usually includes engineering technology and mold manufacturing costs, and these upfront costs may be the obstacle to choose Custom connector solutions. However, when the cost of connector design and mold is determined, the cost of customized connector is usually much lower than that of the standard connector.

Physical characteristics:

1. Custom connector solutions meet the physical characteristics required for each.
2. A customized connector is designed to meet specific customer requirements. The insertion and extraction force is composed of the friction of each pin and socket, as well as the mechanical interface of the connector and socket.
3.Moisture resistance is usually a consideration for medical interconnection systems, and standard power connectors usually incorporate a housing and a preformed shroud. When these components are assembled in the finished connector, they usually do not provide the required level of ingress protection (IP), but the custom-molded connector can be designed to have any required IP level.

Also, the supply of connectors from major manufacturers may also be a problem. When the mold is prepared, the delivery time of customized connectors may be much shorter than that of standard connectors.

Design requirement

One of the first steps to make a detailed design requirement is to determine whether custom or standard connector is the best choice. Factors to consider include:

  • Number and type of contacts (pins or sockets and specifications for each)
  • Cable configuration
  • Cable diameter, material and shape
  • Regulations and the environmental protection level
  • Requirements for strain relief
  • Shielding requirements for connectors and cables
  • Voltage and current requirements
  • Dimensional limits and/or required physical dimensions
  • Intrusion protection (IP) requirements or levels
  • Number of plugs or unplug cycles required
  • Locking mechanism
  • Keyed request
  • Required plug and unplug force
  • Cleaning, disinfection and sterilization requirements
  • Marking, marking and serialization

Custom connector components

Custom connectors typically consist of an injection-molded rigid plastic insulator with pins or/and sockets inserted. The most common method is to use welding or crimping to terminate the conductor to a pin or socket. The component is then molded with a rigid material, such as polypropylene, to hold the structure together and provide physical strength. Secondary over-molding with materials such as thermoplastic resin or silicone resin can provide the connector with the required color, coating, appearance and feel.

Combo connector

For some applications, combo connectors may be the best choice. Combo connectors are standard connectors with custom features such as over-molded handles or strain relief. The design and mold cost of the combo connector may be lower than that of the custom connector, but the finished product has the appearance, feeling and some additional performance advantages of the custom connector. In addition to the lower engineering cost, the design and development process of the combo connector is shorter than that of a fully customized connector.

Customized or combo connector can provide unique features and advantages for medical devices. Compared with standard connectors, they can achieve each design element with less compromise and improve safety and reliability. Custom connectors may be a more cost-effective solution. However, compared with standard connectors, customized and combo connectors usually require a large investment in engineering technology and mold.

Sunkye Connection Technologies provides a wide product portfolio with a complete interconnect solutions offering. Sunkye connectors and cables assemblies are complementary with Sunkye backshells and conduits.