Medical sensor prototyping and testing

Paul Boughton

Specialist designer and manufacturer of sensors for use in a variety of medical equipment, Morgan Advanced Materials has invested in an additional state-of the-art capability at its facility at Southampton in the UK, for testing its technologically advanced range of standard and customised medical sensors.

Designed to test pressures as low as 0.3 bar absolute, the rig incorporates a function generator, oscilloscope, impedance analyser, digital pressure sensor and Coriolis flow meter  with a resolution of <0.02 - >3000 ml/min, an accuracy of ±0.2%, and repeatability of ± 0.05%.

Morgan Advanced Ceramics manufactures a variety of air in line sensors, occlusion and flow sensors for the healthcare market.

The company’s air in line sensors detect the presence of air bubbles in liquid lines, protecting patients while undergoing procedures such as, drug therapy, dialysis, infusions and enteral feeding. Designs and configurations can be adapted to suit individual OEM requirements in terms of tube diameters, clamping methods, mounting arrangements and interfaces with disposable cassettes.

Occlusion sensors offer non-invasive detection of pressure changes - both upstream and downstream of the pump mechanism - in the flexible tubes used in equipment such as infusion pumps, enteral feeding pumps, dialysis equipment and other fluid applications. They ensure the safe delivery of the fluid to the patient in the correct quantity while protecting against fluid surges and will raise an alarm if a line becomes blocked.

Richard Miles of Morgan Advanced Materials says: “Primarily, our customised test rig has been designed to fully and accurately test prototype sensors prior to them going into full production. The rig - which is built to our own specification and has the ability to create bubbles of a pre-determined size, as small as 0.5 microlitres - tests sensitivity, repeatability, time stability and hysteresis, giving us a detailed picture of how an individual product is performing.”

The new sensor test capability is just one example of the significant investment being made by Morgan Advanced Materials in its manufacturing facilities worldwide.

“The sensor and testing market presents a wealth of opportunities for ceramic technology, a material which offers a more resilient and accurate solution than those traditionally used in measurement and testing applications”, added Richard Miles.

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