In the medtech industry, couplings play an important role in producing machinery. They are used to connect, transfer power, provide misalignment, protect, and more. As the industry evolves, coupling manufacturers will be tasked with designing unique parts to meet the growing need.
With uniqueness in mind, bellows couplings have rare properties and are small – a plus for engineers. Their thin walls and ductile nickel give electroformed bellows just one-fifth to one-tenth the spring rate of hydroformed brass bellows of the same size. The force required to extend and compress their convolutions is low and stays consistent from part to part. The dynamic properties of nickel also give electroformed bellows an essentially infinite life of 1016 cycles, plus they can be manufactured leak-tight to 10cc to 9cc of helium per second.
“With advances to assay time and automation, bellows couplings are well positioned, so to speak, to deliver the reliability and high-performance requirements that this new technology demands,” says Lori Lyons, Marketing Manager of Servometer & BellowsTech, speaking on the benefits of bellows couplings for immunoassay equipment and automation.
Additionally, another distributor’s Miniature Fairloc bellows couplings are said to have zero backlash, be easy to install, and correct for angular and parallel axis misalignment. The miniature couplings dampen vibration and noise, making them well suited for medical device manufacturers.
Because of its compact design and high-quality build, the miniature coupling is durable and allows connections in restricted spaces. Both inch- and metric-dimensioned parts are offered and a variety of bore combinations are available, ranging from 1mm to 3mm and 0.0625 in. to 0.125 in. The hubs feature the unique Fairloc design, capable of maintaining shaft alignment when others fail. They are also offered in rigid and flexible designs, including modular bellows, beam, disk, jaw, Oldham and slit types.
One manufacturer recently released a series of enhanced polypropylene plastic couplings. The quick disconnect couplings with panel mount options allow OEMs to easily integrate flexible tubing connections directly into their devices or equipment. The series and its panel mount inserts are available in polypropylene for enhanced chemical resistance and are gamma sterilizable.
Because of their small, compact form factor, the plastic quick disconnect couplings with panel mounts are used for applications within in vitro diagnostics systems, including those handling reagents and buffers. They also operate reliably in printing and ink-handling applications.
The manufacturer also offers a quick-disconnect coupling designed specifically for use with dual fluid lines, designed to offer intuitive, simultaneous connections and disconnections with a single thumb latch.