Understanding Solenoids and Solenoid Valves and Their Use In Medicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the medical sector to its core over the last 12 months and one of the major takeaways from the situation is that hospitals across the world need more ventilators.

Thankfully, there have been significant increases in ventilator technology in recent years many of which centre around the use of proportional solenoid valves that can help control air injection.

As a result, solenoids and solenoid valves are increasingly being used in the medical industry within a wide range of medical applications, particularly as there has been an increase in demand for more portable medical devices.

How does a solenoid valve work?

The concept of a solenoid valve is quite simple at its core and they have been utilised in various industrial applications for over a hundred years. Solenoid valves work by employing an electromagnetic coil to either open or close the valve. With the coil is energised the valve is open and when it is not the valve is closed. A simple and elegant solution that has been perfected over the last 50 years. But why are they increasingly being used in the medical industry?

Solenoid valves and the medical industry

Portability – There has been a significant increase in the need for portable medical devices such as ventilators, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Solenoid valves are ideal for these applications as they allow for precise flow control options and are very small and lightweight

Power Solenoid valves have a surprisingly high-power density which means they can help to reduce the size and weight of medical equipment.

Reliable – They are also incredibly reliable, which is of paramount importance when you’re talking about equipment that is, in some cases, literally keeping people alive.

Efficient – Not only are the valves whisper-quiet (which works wonders when it comes to easing patient comfort) but they are very energy efficient too.

Future proof – Drivers and proportional current controls that can be controlled by sophisticated software mean that solenoid valves can be controlled directly and precisely by computer. This makes them an obvious fit for all current and future hospitals.

Where are solenoid valves used?

We’ve already mentioned ventilators and respirators, but solenoid valves can also be used in settings such as medical and biological analysis and due to their lightweight nature and relative affordability they have become regular fixtures on bedside medical equipment. They are also used regularly in dialysis and diagnostic equipment, in the former for controlling fluid control and in the latter for controlling intakes of samples and distributing doses. For the same reason they are popularly used in ventilators, they’re also, of course, often used in the delivery of anesthesia. A true flexible friend for the medical sector.

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