One of the most important medical devices created in the last century is the ventilator. The ventilator is critical for patients who cannot breathe on their own due to medical procedures or long-term respiratory ailments. The significant impact the ventilator has had on the medical industry has made the device an essential piece of emergency care, intensive care, and anesthesia delivery.
Ventilator technology is rapidly advancing, and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) need component manufacturers to design innovative new parts to meet their demands. Here, we’ll examine what OEMs are looking for when it comes to one of the most crucial components of ventilators — proportional control valves.
From a design standpoint, ventilators can be complex and costly. Using versatile parts that have multiple functions/settings allows OEMs to reduce part complexity — decreasing the number of vendors required as well as making the device easier to manufacture and repair. A proportional control valve that features a wide linear control range makes it possible to have a single ventilator for various desired flow ranges. For instance, different flows are required for a child vs. an adult in respirators or anesthesia delivery.
Other features OEMs are looking for in a proportional valve for the next generation of ventilators are fast response time and consistent flow from cycle to cycle. Fast response is necessary to deliver oxygen in milliseconds when sensors detect a patient trying to breathe. Smooth, consistent flow is very important for the patient’s comfort and safety.
Lastly, OEMs want valves that are compact and energy-efficient. Power and space are limited in portable ventilators. Emergency ventilators need to be light and easy to maneuver. When a hospital loses power, ventilators continue to operate on emergency power and batteries, so any power reductions in the ventilator’s design are desirable.
The valve that is meeting all these demands is Parker’s new LM-Pro (Linear Motor Proportional Valve) — an innovative miniature proportional valve that is separating Parker from the competition. The LM-Pro introduces unparalleled flow control capabilities to meet OEM needs. Featuring a linear controllable flow range from 0.5 to 540 slpm for precise flow control, the LM-Pro ensures the accurate and safe delivery of precise gas flow to patients, from neonates to adults. Additionally, this valve offers a pressure capability up to 100PSI (6.9 Bar), and typical power consumption of fewer than 2 watts. It has been tested to well over 100 million cycles. With all these advancements, the LM-Pro is still easily face-mounted/ported into ventilator systems and can be configured with an optional inlet filter to prevent debris from dirty system connections from entering the valve. Parker’s LM-Pro is the only valve that’s meeting OEM demands to make the one-size-fits-all valve solution to achieve the next level of ventilator technology.
The LM-Pro is lightweight at 36.6 grams (1.29 oz) and sized for all OEM applications. Read more technical specifications of this product here.
In addition to the LM-Pro breaking ground with its broad range of controllability, pressure capability, low power consumptions, and validated to over 100 million cycles; this proportional valve has been carefully crafted to comply with some of the most sought-after certifications for medical components. The LM-Pro is certified in two critical ISO standards for anesthesia and respiratory applications: ISO 10993:2010 and ISO 15001:2010. ISO 10993:2010 certification means this valve is biocompatible and does not use materials that can potentially cause irritation when used in breathing circuits. ISO 15001:2010 certification means this proportional valve meets the cleanliness requirements for oxygen circuits. The LM-Pro is compliant with RoHs directive (2002/95/EC) and Reach EC 1907/2006, which means this valve doesn’t use any hazardous materials that can’t be recycled and is composed of registered, evaluated and authorized materials. The LM-Pro is meeting new market needs and complying with the most important medical device certifications.
The ventilator is an essential piece in emergency care, intensive care, and anesthesia delivery, and will continue to be a pivotal part of health care as it adapts to our needs, whether portable, lower power consumption or multiple flow control settings. As ventilator technology advances, OEMs will require innovative products like the LM-Pro miniature proportional valve to stay competitive in the ever-changing medical device market.
Our applications engineering team is always available to provide recommendations and customize equipment to customer specifications. To learn more, visit Parker Hannifin Precision Fluidics Division or call +1 603-595-1500 to speak with an engineer.
This blog post was contributed by Joel Verrecchia, a senior engineer at Parker Precision Fluidics.