Why are PCBAs Critical to Medical Devices?
Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs) play a critical role in the development and functioning of medical devices. These devices, which include everything from diagnostic equipment to surgical instruments, rely on the reliable and efficient operation of their electronic components. PCBAs connect and control these components, making them a fundamental part of any medical device.
How do PCBAs Function in the Devices?
One of the most common ways to use PCBAs in medical devices is to control and monitor patient vital signs. For example, a patient monitor may use a PCB to track a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. The electronic assembly in this device would likely include a microcontroller or microprocessor, which would instruct the device’s operation and interpret the data collected by the sensors. The PCBA would also include the necessary circuits and connections to power the device and display the information on a screen.
Manufacturers also build electronic assemblies into diagnostic equipment such as imaging systems. X-ray machines, CT scanners, and MRI machines use PCBAs to direct the movement of the imaging equipment and process the data collected. These machines require precise management of the imaging equipment and use high-powered electronic components to generate and process the images. Overall, the PCBAs in these devices must be highly dependable and able to withstand the high radiation levels generated by the imaging equipment.
Another important use of PCBAs in medical devices is in surgical instruments. Surgical robots, for example, require precise and reliable regulation of their motions. The assemblies boards in these devices command the motors that move the robot’s arms and perform the surgery. These PCBAs must be able to withstand the rigorous conditions of the operating room and be resistant to disinfectants and sterilization procedures.
An example of a highly specialized application of PCBAs in medical devices is implantable devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants. Doctors and surgeons implant these devices in the body, and they must function for an extended period. The PCBAs in these devices need to be highly miniaturized and able to withstand the harsh conditions of the human body. They must also consume very little power and be able to function for long periods on small batteries.
PCBAs in medical devices have to go through a strict certification and compliance process with agencies such as FDA, to ensure that they are safe for use in medical applications. Manufacturers have to adhere to strict guidelines, such as those designated by ISO 13485:2016, for the materials used in the PCBA, the manufacturing process, and the quality control procedures to guarantee the PCBA is suitable for use in medical devices.
In conclusion, Printed Circuit Board Assemblies play a vital role in the development and functioning of medical devices, from patient monitors and diagnostic equipment to surgical instruments and implantable devices. The design and manufacturing of PCBAs for medical devices is a highly specialized field, requiring specific materials, manufacturing processes, and strict compliance with safety guidelines. With the advancement of technology, electronic assemblies will continue to be an essential component in the development of new and improved medical devices.