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Designing The Right Enclosures For Today’s Medical Electronics

Challenging Clinical Environments

Medical devices are like the clinicians that use them. Both face punishing working conditions – but miraculously, neither is expected to show any signs of wear. No patient wants to be treated by an overworked doctor who looks tired. Nor do they want to see medical equipment that looks scuffed and past its prime. They expect it to look spotless – all day, every day, no matter how old it is. So the enclosures housing these devices must be exemplary: smart, modern, robust and tamperproof. And they should be resilient so they continue to look ‘new’ for as long as possible.

Head of Marketing at OKW Gehäusesysteme

That is no easy task in a healthcare environment. Unlike ‘nine-to-five’ office equipment, medical electronics must:

  • withstand the hard knocks of frontline clinical care
  • be used 24/7/365 by a wide range of clinicians
  • be transported from ward to ward as hospitals struggle to fill gaps in resources
  • survive repeated deep cleaning (and not just because of Covid19 – medics have been waging war on healthcare-associated infections since the dawn of medicine).

But no one size fits all. The vast array of different healthcare applications creates a range of challenges for manufacturers.

For us, that means regularly adding new models to our range. Each of our models offers a degree of specialism – but is also versatile enough to adapt to each your particular requirements. And each housing is also easily customisable to help you maintain differentiation.

To see what we mean in more detail, take a look at the main banner photo on our Products page. Every single enclosure in that photo is standard – straight off the shelf. Not one has been customised. But they don’t look ‘standard’ – they all look as if they’ve been designed for a specific purpose. And so they have…but they’re also versatile enough to be mounted in different settings.

Customisable Enclosures For Medical Electronics

Customising a standard enclosure is a great way for you to help keep costs down and lead times short.
Simple design touches often make a huge difference. Our new EASYTEC sensor enclosures feature smart lugs at each end – making it quick and easy to cable-tie them to hospital bed rails or screw them to walls. There is also a concave recess at the rear to help EASYTEC sit more securely on poles or rails – without affecting its ability to be attached to a flat surface. These enclosures are not just for the medical sector. They are a huge timesaver for Industry 4.0 IoT/IIoT applications where manufacturers may have to install huge numbers of sensors across their smart factories. EASYTEC makes it very easy indeed.

EASYTEC shares the same soft contours as our EVOTEC designer tabletop (and wall mounted/DIN rail) enclosures. EVOTEC may be just one enclosure but it’s one that offers a generous choice of options – flat/sloping top, recessed/unrecessed – and now in five plan sizes thanks to the addition of new size 80. EVOTEC’s gentle curves belie its toughness. It’s moulded from UV-stable ASA+PC-FR, a blend which features polycarbonate – the plastic used to make riot shields. IP 65 ingress protection is optional.

But EVOTEC is not our only new desktop/wall enclosure. New PROTEC for larger desktop touchscreens is available in a choice of three versions with either:

  • a recessed interface area at the rear for connectors, interfaces, switches and cables
  • the recess hidden by a flush-mounted snap-on cover
  • an extra-deep cover that doubles as a stand.

Modern ergonomic contours also feature in our CONNECT enclosures for wired remote controls or lines of USB coonectors. CONNECT comprises two snap-together shells: one is flat, the other convex – enabling you to decide which is the ‘front’. Accessories include a bed rail holding clamp and robust cable glands with kink protection and integrated strain relief.

But comfort is never more important than for wearable electronics. Not just in terms of shape but also in choice of materials. BODY-CASE watch-style enclosures are moulded from high-gloss (and easy-to-clean) ASA for a smooth feel, smart aesthetics and UV stability. BODY-CASE’s two case sections are separated by a soft-touch matt TPV sealing ring that adds IP 65 ingress protection and a dash of colour. And now there’s a new size XL version.

Sealing rings are something we used to great effect on our MINITEC personal electronic enclosures, winning an iF product design award. We created different rings that enable MINITEC to be fitted to belts, straps, lanyards, key rings or carried loose. Add that to the choice of shapes, sizes, colours and recess options and the number of standard permutations is mind-boggling.

Handheld enclosures become even more specialised with our eccentric (and double award-winning) BLOB range. These unique housings are designed to intuitively guide users’ hands to the controls. They are perfect for patients with restricted grip or learning difficulties.

But what if you need a larger handheld enclosure for portable instrumentation? CARRYTEC is the tough attaché case of plastic enclosures. It can be stored safely on a docking station for charging/data transfer or clipped to a hospital bed rail or cart. It can also be fitted to a suspension arm if you invert it.

Link to application examples of "Medicine / Laboratory / Wellness"