The healthcare industry continues to experience increased demand for a wide array of medical devices and the critical components that give them functionality. When these devices are engineered correctly, they provide critical care to patients and provide ease-of-use and safety to front-line healthcare workers.
Among the critical components needed for these devices are precision force sensors used in various applications, especially infusion pumps.
Force Sensors for Infusion Pumps
Infusion pumps are common in hospitals, ICUs, emergency wards, and some patients’ homes. These pumps are used to deliver fluids, medicines, or nutrients (delivered directly to the stomach) in very precise amounts at regular intervals. Types of infusion pumps include ambulatory pumps, enteral feeding pumps, kidney dialysis machines, and portable pumps.
Infusion pumps. Image from Honeywell
Within infusion pumps, precision force sensors are used to measure the pressure inside the delivery tube to
- Monitor the delivery of nutrients, fluids, or medication to patients,
- Detect blockages in the delivery, and
- Determine when the bag containing fluids needs to be changed.
Key considerations for force sensors within infusion pumps include accuracy, sensitivity, reliability, and compliance with applicable standards.
Micro-Force FMA Sensors
Micro-Force FMA sensors are piezoresistive-based force sensors engineered for applications that require precision, accuracy, and reliability. They are designed to meet the demanding requirements of medical infusion pumps.
The Honeywell Micro-Force FMA product line of sensors can be configured to provide analog or digital (I2C or SPI) output and include amplified and temperature compensated output to enhance their accuracy further. They come with an onboard application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that ensures the sensor remains calibrated and temperature compensated for sensor offset, sensitivity, and nonlinearity.
Honeywell’s Micro-Force FMA sensor. Image from Honeywell
The sensors are available in multiple force ranges (0 – 15 N, 0 – 5 N, and 0 to 25 N) that allow users to improve system resolution/performance and maximum sensitivity. The Micro-Force FMA force sensors support direct mechanical coupling and have a stable, corrosion-resistant stainless steel sphere interface. They also offer selectable supply voltages and have a low power consumption of only 14 mW.
In addition to being manufactured according to ISO 9001 standards, the sensors are REACH and RoHS compliant and meet MIL-STD-202, Method 214, Condition 1F (20.71 Gms) for vibration and MIL-STD-202, Method 213, Condition A (50 G) for shock.
Honeywell Micro-Force FMA Sensors for Infusion Pumps
The use of sensors from the Honeywell Micro-Force FMA sensor product line offers several benefits for infusion pumps, starting with high accuracy that results in a very precise fluid flow rate to ensure the patient is receiving the correct dosage. Their high sensitivity leads to early detection of blockages, which enhances patient safety, and their stability means long-term consistency in both performance and reliability.
In addition, the Micro-Force FMA sensors are designed for usability because the sensor is external to the tubing, leading to isolation of the media and minimizing the need for cleaning and sterilization. Finally, these precision source sensors have a small form factor (5 mm x 5 mm) that supports integration in space-constrained applications.
The need for reliable, precision medical devices will undoubtedly continue to rise, and the Honeywell Micro-Force FMA sensors are intended to meet the challenge. And while the sensors are suitable for infusion pumps, other applications include laboratory equipment, touch panels, load and compression sensing, weight measurement, and force/grip measuring equipment.
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