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Improvement of Medical Devices with Linear Actuators over Time

ByDave Stopher

Oct 1, 2020 #technology

Actuators have changed our lives irreversibly. One of the most important fields where they are used is the medical field. There, actuators are used widely to facilitate medical research, patient care, and to increase the comfort of patients in general.

What Actuator Is the Best for Your Needs?

To make sure the actuator and the device where it is used work as expected, you need to choose the items very carefully. The best actuators for medical applications are electric linear actuators due to some of their features:

  • They are easy to control;
  • Their weight is low;
  • Their enhanced safety features that prevent the item from falling when there is electricity failure;
  • They allow for ultimate positioning precision;
  • They do not require maintenance.

Actuators for medical applications shall comply with specific requirements. There are special standards applied in every specific country and international standards, such as IEC 60601. The compliance with the standards guarantees that the actuators are reliable enough to be applied in this specific field. They shall work during the expected time without failures. 

You need to choose an actuator based on the requirements that every specific system has. The actuator shall comply with all of them. It might be not so simple as it might seem. For instance, choosing the force of an actuator might be quite tricky. You need to understand that it is not only the weight that the actuator shall be able to lift. To determine the force of the item, you need to consider a lot of factors, such as the installation position, etc. There are special formulas that allow us to calculate the force of the actuator for every application. 

One more important feature is the stroke length. Again, this is not just the movement distance of the actuator. It is recommended to leave 1-2 inches of allowance from every side. 

If you have doubts about whether you can select an item with the needed features, it is recommended to consult a specialist. Actuators for medical devices are of special importance and a correct choice influences directly the well-being of patients.

Actuators in Patient Rooms

Taking care of a patient involves not only running up and down pushing a wheelchair. Actuators are used for many devices that facilitate patient care significantly. A special role plays so-called patient mechanical lifts and weight-bearing equipment. 

Patient Mechanical Lifts

These devices are used to lift patients. These devices can be placed on the floor or be ceiling-located. They are used to lift a patient and to move it at a short distance. For example, it can be applied to move a patient from a bed into a wheelchair. Performing this procedure is dangerous for medical staff but with a lifting device, it becomes much easier.

Weight-Bearing Equipment

These are sondercare hospital beds, chairs. These items are used not only for their traditional purposes but also to assist patients in getting up or moving to a sitting position. While these actions are normal for most of the population, for people with health problems, they might be complicated or even dangerous due to the risk of falling and damaging themselves. 

These devices not only improve the life level of a patient but facilitate the performing of medical procedures. For example, they simplify taking tests or performing basic care.

Imaging Equipment

Actuators play a significant role in CTI, MRI scanners, and other types of imaging equipment. Tables are lowered and lifted in such devices. Thus, for patients with limited mobility or other health issues, it is easier to climb on them. Then, the table is lifted and moves to facilitate the scanning of a specific body part. 

Prosthetic Limbs

This application field of actuators is very recent. Earlier, one could not imagine that with the help of devices one can imitate the limb movements. Now though, engineers have managed to achieve the top precision of movements. Micro-actuators are used for these purposes. 

Robots for Medical Applications

Robots have been used in the medical field for ages. In 1985, the first robotic system assisted people during surgical intrusion. Since then, technology has improved. Now, robots are developed to such an extent that they allow performing minimally invasive surgeries. This type of surgery replaced many traditional intrusion ways. In the case with minimally invasive surgery, you can count on:

  • Less blood loss;
  • Higher precision of the intrusion;
  • Less scarring;
  • Infection risks are reduced;
  • The recovery process is faster.

Even though it takes a lot of time to learn how to manage a medical robot. But the results are greatly beneficial for both patients and surgeons. 

Some patients are worried because a robot is involved. Though a robot never makes decisions. It is manipulated by an experienced surgeon. However, the robot allows making those tiny incisions and performing the operations that otherwise would be impossible to perform. 

Actuators for Medical Research

Actuators are widely applied for medical research procedures. One of the most frequent applications is the use of these devices for agitation. They allow working efficiently with many reagents. The application of actuators makes the work more efficient and the results are more reliable. 

Final Thoughts

Linear actuators have made a long way. Now, they are applied in all the fields. They make our lives easier and more comfortable. Actuators in the medical field are especially important though. They allow us not only to improve the patient`s life level and to facilitate the tasks of medical staff but to perform many types of procedures that were impossible earlier.

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