Specialty Valves for Medical Device Manufacturing

Over probably the past decade, the medical field has been moving to smaller devices and at-home care. Many of these devices are now required to run on battery power at least part of the time and must be conducive to the at-home patient setting. These requirements have pushed the valve market to develop new products that are smaller, lighter and require significantly less power to run.

Humphrey’s entry to this arena started with a portable Oxygen concentrator. The valves for this device needed to be smaller than we had produced before and of lighter material. Additionally, they need to provide a high level of flow within the small package size. These requirements were driven both by the need for the overall package to be light enough to be carried easily by the patient over their shoulder, and to allow for maximum hours of use out of a single battery charge.

From these requirements, Humphrey developed the CSV 10mm cartridge valve. The cartridge aspect of the design allowed the customer to apply the valve in several special manifold configurations while still only needing to purchase a single valve part number. The valve itself employs several plastic parts which significantly reduces the weight the valve adds to the overall package. The Humphrey design team was able to develop the valve technology to produce a significant flow rate of 40 lpm at only 30 psi. Additionally, the valve was designed to run with PWM, which can drop the power requirement from the standard 2 watts per valve to a running wattage of less than ½ watt.

One final important aspect that has been true to almost all recent medical applications Humphrey has been involved in is the need for quiet operation. As so many of the new device applications are designed for home use, quiet operation has worked its way to the top of the requirements list. Many of these devices such as Oxygen concentrators and dialysis machines are running while the patient is sleeping.  Therefore, it is vital that the previously normal “clicking” noise of a valve be significantly reduced. Customer responses to the noise variable of the CSV valves has been overwhelmingly positive. Even in the case of some dialysis machines with up to 22 valves running, the noise level was reported to be low enough to not disturb the patient.

In summary, the CSV valves offered by Humphrey can provide the user with:

  • Small package size
  • High flow
  • Quiet operation
  • Low power

Additionally, the CSV line has been expanded to now include a 12mm version, providing all the above benefits in an even higher flow package. The 12mm CSV valve can provide 125 lpm flow rates at 30 psi – more than three times the 10mm version.

Overall, the CSV valves have been a great starting point for Humphrey’s journey into the new medical device market. Expect that the CSV valves will be the lead for a number of other new advances designed specifically for this growing important market group.