Medical miniaturization is rapidly evolving for a number of reasons. Among them are the fact that doctors, hospitals, and other medical care facilities are requiring more functionality, increased portability, and more robustness to upgrade surgical procedures and mobile monitoring equipment. Also, highly complex devices successfully interacting with the human body are driving the need for this greater medical miniaturization.
Bio sensing and biosensors are on the front lines of this device miniaturization due to their critical nature in today’s medical technology. In most cases, biosensors are implantable devices that look for diagnostic conditions such as monitoring a patient’s health conditions in remote areas most of the time.
Certainly, they offer considerably improved patient care. However, they are pushing the limits of today’s PCB microelectronics manufacturing.
Check out our SMT007 article to learn more about medical miniaturization and how electronics manufacturing is getting ready for it. In the meantime, here are some tips and hints to get you better acquainted with the issues and solutions
- You have to keep in mind bio sensing devices require very thin PCBs. Why? Because they must be capable of getting into very tight spaces in the human body.
- Thin flex circuits are about 15 mils thick. With new bio sensing technology, flex circuit board thickness will be reduced to five to 10 mils.
- Traditional SMT and microelectronics assembly must be able to deal with this device miniaturization. Extremely accurate component placement systems must have tolerances of within +/- 1 mil accuracy for SMT manufacturing, and tolerances of +/- 10 micron accuracy for PCB microelectronics assembly.
- Excellent inspection systems using in-process verification methodologies are especially important. A product must have self-verification and correction built into it for the full manufacturing cycle for optimal product creation.
- Medical equipment OEMs and their EMS providers should collaborate early on with device manufacturers to define device characteristics such as electrical, mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetics.
- Component selection and characteristics take on special consideration to that overall circuitry performs at optimal levels.
Given today’s trends toward increasing medical device miniaturization, it is highly beneficial for medical equipment OEMs to partner with PCB design and assembly vendors that not only design but also develop the necessary processes at the early stages of new products. Those include component matching and selection for a particular product application, associated power consumption, and other important factors associated with medical miniaturization. Based on these disciplined steps, testing and mass production are performed with minimal efforts.