Springs are integral components in the manufacture of many medical devices. Whether it’s for a surgical stapler or a medical monitor, the types of springs in medical devices are defined by a specific action or movement required for the application. Though relatively simple in its design, springs store the mechanical energy necessary for a wide range of medical devices, machinery, and equipment to function properly.
Any type of surgical instrument, medical equipment or device that has a mechanism undoubtedly has a spring component. Spring material must be medical grade, and the design and function of any device must adhere to stringent regulatory requirements and guidelines as defined by the FDA. Booms, table and bed lifts, fluid control devices, wheelchairs, medical testing and monitoring equipment either fixed or mobile, MRI and X-ray machinery, dental x-ray with articulated arms, medical equipment drawer closing mechanisms, anesthetic infusion devices, sterilization valves, various implants, and shunt valves are all examples of medical devices that require springs to function.
Manufacturers of medical devices and devices subsequently relied heavily on springs in a variety of applications. The medical industry relies on the same types of springs that most industries rely on—constant force springs, constant torsion springs, power springs.
Constant force spring
Constant force springs are coiled with stainless steel tape so that when coiled relative to being stretched, the spring relaxes in a low stress state. When it is unrolled, the restoring force comes mainly from the portion close to the unwinding spring coil. The resultant force is almost constant. The actuators that operate in the surgical robot have to be moved over the patient and positioned carefully. Accordingly, there is a need to balance surgical instruments, associated actuators, and support structures so that the surgical instruments can be positioned safely and easily. Constant force springs are very suitable.
Constant torsion spring
Constant-torsion springs are a type of use of constant-force springs, which are designed for torque, i.e. torsional action or rotational motion. When a bending motion is required, a rotational motion is usually used. X-ray machines and MRIs are common types of medical equipment that use constant torsion springs. They are typically used in applications that require less than 360 degrees of rotation, but can also be used to get a lot of torque from a small amount of rotation. Constant torsion springs are designed to rotate in both directions with the ability to “return to center”, such as in dental X-ray head units.
The power spring is made of rolled steel strip, and a spring box is required to limit its outer diameter. The center of the spring is connected to the shaft. When an external force is applied to make the shaft and the spring rotate relative to each other, the spring will be rolled around the shaft and stored. Torsion, when the external force disappears, the spring will generate torsion on the shaft or spring box. Power springs are divided into natural power springs and preload power springs according to their relaxed shapes. In contrast, preloaded power springs can store 25% to 55% more torque and provide more effective turns.
Springs are important components used in a wide variety of medical equipment and devices. Even as healthcare technology becomes more advanced, the use of constant force, constant torque, and powered springs still plays an important role in the design and manufacture of medical devices. Choosing the right one can ensure the success of a medical device, instrument or specific device.
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