Medical PCBA – applications and types of PCBAs for the medical industry
PCBs are a crucial component of contemporary life and have enabled the development of ever-more-complex technologies. Printed circuit boards are everywhere, from computers and cell phones to medical equipment. One of its most intriguing uses is in the world of medicine. Medical PCBA is extremely important to the medical sector. Various medical devices need PCB, including X-rays, ECG, anesthetic, and surgical instruments.
Medical equipment now heavily relies on printed circuit boards to maintain patient health. Medical PCBA has played a significant role in the medical industry. PCBs are now a basic necessity for medical equipment. The reason is more diagnostic, research, and treatment techniques in technology.
So, let’s talk about medical PCBA and why it is crucial in the medical industry.
What does medical PCBA mean?
The electronics industry uses PCBs to make computer circuits. But they’re also various uses of PCBs in other applications. Medical PCBA is a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) type, and medical equipment uses them to operate perfectly.
In medicine, many devices incorporate PCBs, including hearing aids, pacemakers, and defibrillators.
What is medical PCB?
Medical PCB is a board that is used in medical devices. Medical PCBs are produced by medical device manufacturers and can be found in many different types of medical equipment, such as heart monitors, infusion pumps, imaging equipment, and surgical robots. The main purpose of a medical PCB is to control various functions in the device.
The main advantage of using PCBs in medical devices is that they can be easily disposed of once damaged or need replacement. This helps in reducing healthcare costs as well as increasing efficiency.
Types of PCBs used in the medical industry
As the medical industry continues to expand and evolve, so do medical device manufacturers’ needs. The need for new PCBs comes with new technologies, methods, and materials.
High-density interconnect PCBs (HDI PCBs)
HDI PCBs are a popular choice for medical devices because they allow for high-density interconnections between components without requiring extremely fine pitch or dense packing (as seen in other printed circuits). HDI PCBs typically use FR4 glass epoxy laminate boards with copper foil and a thick dielectric layer between them (generally FR4).
These boards use single or double-sided copper layers for manufacturing. Single-sided boards typically have one layer of copper, while double-sided boards have both sides coated in copper. High-density interconnection traces are etched on each side of the board and then connected through holes drilled into each side’s dielectric layer with plated through hole (PTH) technology.
Flex or rigid-flex PCBs
Rigid-flex PCBs are used when a flexible device needs to resist heat and pressure. Despite being bent and twisted, flexible boards still function properly. Electronic or manual controls may be available for heating elements on flexible boards. It is also possible for them to have multiple layers of material to provide more conductive pathways between components.
Challenges of medical PCBA
PCBs for the medical sector must comply with several standards to perform as expected. When sourcing medical PCBA, a PCB provider must ensure they meet compliance, size, and reliability regulations. Here are the main issues that PCB makers must resolve:
- Temperature – Medical devices are often implanted deep inside the body, where temperatures can reach 113 degrees Fahrenheit at their surface and 140 degrees Fahrenheit within 30-50 millimeters (1-2 inches) below the skin surface. This requires that medical PCBAdesigners ensure that their electronic components won’t overheat if exposed to these temperatures for extended periods while implanted inside a patient’s body.
- Compliance – Medical companies are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe for use by the general public. This means that they must comply with various regulations and standards. For example, companies may need to ensure their products meet ISO 13485 (medical devices) or FDA 21 CFR Part 820 (electronic devices). Failure to comply can result in serious consequences, including hefty fines and criminal charges!
- Reliability – The main challenge faced by medical PCBAmanufacturers is reliability. Since these boards will be used in medical equipment and devices, they must withstand extreme conditions such as fluctuating temperatures or exposure to moisture or chemicals.
- Size – In the medical PCBAindustry, a challenge often encountered is the size of the product. Medical devices are usually very small and require special attention when designing them. The size issue is especially problematic when dealing with specialized medical equipment such as pacemakers or defibrillators. Such devices contain many components and require large amounts of energy, so there is no room for error.
Thus, it results in a high level of complexity and impacts the cost of manufacturing.
Functions and benefits of medical PCBs
Medical PCB, or printed circuit board, is important in many aspects of medicine. The medical industry has benefited greatly from the use of PCBs both in preventative medicine and in the treatment of patients.
- Wireless communication
One of the most important benefits of a medical PCBA is wireless communication. The use of wireless communication allows doctors to communicate with each other without having to rely on cables for that communication. This allows for more flexibility and quicker response times during emergencies.
● Wearable medical technology
Pacemakers and other body implants also use medical PCB boards. These devices allow patients to access their health information without using equipment or devices. This may not seem like much, but it does go a long way toward helping keep people healthy by allowing them access to their data whenever needed.
● Digital health records
Medical PCBs (printed circuit boards) are used in many medical devices, including smartphones, tablets, and mobile computers. These devices are designed to collect health data from patients for clinical evaluation and analysis. With medical PCBA in digital health records, doctors can easily monitor their patient’s vital signs and other health indicators remotely from anywhere in the world. Also, this technology enables doctors to better manage their patient’s care by providing real-time information about the patient’s conditions.
● Smartphones, tablets, and mobile computers
Hospital staff now have access to various mobile devices, thus boosting practicing doctors’ access to patient and medical data. Without using pencils and paper, doctors and nurses may digitally maintain notes, compare data, and dispense medicines and other medical devices. Other online services can also assist with illness diagnosis and medication comparison to ensure that each patient is treated as fast and precisely as possible.
Applications of PCB assembly in the medical device industry
PCB assembly is a critical part of the medical device manufacturing process. The medical PCBA process involves creating an electrical circuit using printed circuit boards (PCBs). Moreover, medical PCBAs are used in many devices, including medical monitoring equipment and implantable medical devices.
Implantable medical devices
Doctors use implantable medical devices to treat various afflictions such as chronic pain or heart problems. They can be controlled remotely from a computer or smartphone app. The implantable device can also be updated with new firmware. This means that it will have more features or better performance over time.
Medical monitoring devices
Medical monitoring devices are a huge market for PCB assembly. Their usage is to monitor and track patients’ vital signs. These include heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and other body functions.
Therefore, a variety of medical monitoring devices that use medical PCBA, including:
- Body Temperature Monitors
- Heart Monitors
- Flow Rate and Dispensing Systems
- Electrical Muscle Stimulation Equipment
- Heart Pacemakers
- Blood Glucose Monitors
- Blood Pressure Monitors
- Nerve Stimulator Unit
- Infusion Fluid Controls
- EMG Activity Systems
- X-ray Computed Tomography
- Peristaltic Infusion Technology
Medical diagnostic devices
Doctors use medical diagnostic devices to diagnose diseases in patients through simple tests such as blood tests or X-rays. A good example is an ECG machine. It records electrical signals from the heart during each heartbeat cycle. It measures it against the normal range of values for healthy people to determine if there are any irregularities in their heartbeat pattern.
How to design and fabricate medical PCB?
There are two major steps in designing a medical PCBA
- Schematic design
The first step is to create the schematic diagram of the circuit, an arrangement of circuit components on a single sheet of paper.
The second step is to create the layout drawing of the circuit, which shows all circuit components placed on the PCB substrate (usually FR4 or FR8).
Technologies of medical PCBs
Medical PCBs use different types of technologies in manufacturing:
- Via-in-pad technology
- Surface Mount Technology (SMT).
The most popular technology in medical PCBA is the copper-clad laminate (CCL) technology based on advanced copper foil technology. This technology can make thin, flexible electronic devices such as printed circuit boards (PCBs). All devices as it permits more electronics to be packed into smaller spaces.
What are the key factors to consider when designing medical PCBs?
The key factors to consider when designing medical PCBs are:
● Board Layout
The medical PCBA board’s layout is important because it defines the overall size and shape of the device. The board layout should be easy to manufacture, assemble and test.
The functionality of the medical PCB should be clearly defined before designing a medical PCBA for a medical device. This will ensure that all relevant information about the device is available on the PCB. The functionality can be determined by considering different components such as sensors, actuators, power supplies, communication ports, etc., used in medical device design.
● Quality Control
Quality control involves checking that all components on the board conform to their intended function, specifications, and dimensions during manufacturing. It also contains no manufacturing defects on any board part during testing.
What are the standards and regulations for medical PCB assembly?
Medical PCB assembly requires strict standards and regulations. The following standards and laws are important for any PCB producer to be aware of.
IPC is a widely used standard for medical electronics. This standard provides detailed information on the quality requirements for medical assemblies, including the design, fabrication, inspection, test, and documentation.
Some important standards under IPC are as follows:
- IPC-A-600: Covers the acceptability of the circuit boards.
- IPC-A-6012: Covers the qualification as well as performance specifications for PCBs.
- IPC-A-610: Covers the acceptability of electronic assemblies.
The FDA has strict guidelines for medical PCB assembly standards and regulations. The Federal Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) requires that all devices be safe, effective, and labeled properly.
These standards set out requirements for the quality management systems of companies that provide goods or services. The standards are based on the belief that the quality requirement of circuit board design, manufacturing, and testing is defined by the customer’s needs and not by a business’s internal processes.
How to select medical PCB manufacturers
There are many medical PCB manufacturers to choose from. Here are some tips to help the designers to find the right one:
- Read product descriptions carefully and look for a company that has been in business for a long time with good customer reviews.
- Contact the company and ask about the manufacturing process, including how long it takes to manufacture their PCBs, what type of materials they use, and how many different boards they can make.
- Ask about shipping times, as well as any other questions regarding the manufacturing process or PCBs in general
FAQs about medical PCBA
Characteristics of medical PCBA
The main characteristics of medical PCBs are as follows:
- Designed for a specific purpose and application;
- Easy-to-use interface;
- improved safety, reliability, and serviceability;
- A modular for easy replacement or upgrades;
- It can perform multiple tasks at the same time.
Tips for medical PCB assembly and design
Medical PCBA assembly and design is a discipline that requires a lot of attention to detail, careful planning, and excellent communication between all involved parties.
Here are five tips for successful medical PCBA assembly and design:
- Understand the PCB process.
- Select a board partner that can meet all individual needs.
- Establish a clear cost estimate for each stage of fabrication.
- Select a fabrication vendor with experience in manufacturing the type of product.
- Specify the assembly process in great detail.
What is the role of PCB assembly in medical devices?
PCB assembly plays an important role in medical devices because it helps to connect the various electronic components on a single circuit board. This helps to increase functionality and improve the efficiency of the electronic device.
A medical PCBA assembly involves connecting all the electronic components on a single printed circuit board, making it easier to manufacture and use.
Many medical applications use medical PCB boards, including portable devices and systems. Medical PCBAs have wide usage in the healthcare market, where manufacturers commonly use them to create heart monitors and patient monitoring devices. They have become more popular as time has passed, especially since they provide functionality unmatched by any other type of printed circuit board.
The medical PCB industry has been growing over the years, buoyed by a continued need for more advanced medical equipment and technological advancements. In the future, medical PCB and medical PCBA will gain more and more attention in the world.