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Applications for EMC products grows in medical technology


Demographic changes in the global population creates new challenges in society. This is particularly true in the area of medicine and health care. The need and complexity of treatment and care as well as the costs of such increase with the age of patients. The consequence of this should lead to a drastic expansion of hospitals and care services, however the declining birth rate reduces both available government tax revenue and take up of private medical insurance funds. As a solution to this dilemma medical supply should be improved in nursing homes, hospice services, palliative care wards, and outpatient nursing services (Keyword: home care).

Decentralising medical care inevitably implies an increasing need for medical devices and appliances. At the same time the security and reliability of these devices becomes more crucial and important than ever as, for example, in outpatient care where in case of an emergency due to technical defects professional medical aid can be some distance away.

Technical devices meet the highest standards

Operating with faulty technical devices puts the life of patients as well as the operators in danger. To perform in a riskless, reliable, and hassle-free way, medical devices must harmonize perfectly in terms of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and must not disturb each other with emissions. This places extremely high demands on EMC. The IEC standard 60601-1, which is obligatory for all medical products, should prioritize the prevention of human injury and additionally avoid damage to appliances and devices. To obtain approval in Europe, medical devices must furthermore comply with the obligatory EMC limits set in IEC standard 60601-1-2.

This is where Schaffner’s long experience of EMC products can be of great use to equipment designers. Schaffner’s entire product portfolio is being integrated with a wide range of medical technology applications to secure their EMC: engines and drive systems of compressor units in medical cooling devices as well as conveyor belts in pharmacy robots make use of Schaffner’s single or three phase filters. IEC inlet filters are currently applied in propulsion engines of infusion pumps and EMI chokes ensure the compliance of EMC limits in processors of displays for varied medical applications and laboratory scales.

Specialisation and long-term experience

Any EMC partner selected by a designer of a medial product should specialize in electromagnetic compatibility and additionally have expertise as well as extensive experience in collaborating with medical technology. Schaffner has a wealth of such experience and their existing EMC products have been permanently optimised and adapted to meet the specific requirements of the medical industry. In addition to the regular EMC products, Schaffner has implemented a medical filter variation (B types) which do not have Y-capacitors avoiding additional leakage current being introduced into the system through the filter. 

To comply with the requirements of the current medical technology and in anticipation of future innovations as well, Schaffner is currently developing a class II filter according to the high requirements and needs of medical technology. Due to its special design, it will simplify the installation in terms of clearance and creepage distances. Additionally, it also prevents any additional leakage current and can therefore be easily installed in devices which need to comply the highest standards.  

By Holger Urban, Product Marketing Manager, Schaffner Group

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