Medical electronics buyers have always set the bar high for a very good reason – lives could be at stake.
And that’s not just limited to the electronics, assembly and software: the enclosures also face exacting scrutiny. There are strict hygiene and ergonomics requirements.
Health, wellness and social care are vital markets for manufacturers such as Hampshire-based OKW Enclosures Ltd. The company has seen significant growth in these segments because it offers easily customisable cases that offer patient-centric features as standard.
OKW’s Marketing Director Robert Cox said: “Electronic enclosures aimed at the medical sector must be physically strong and resilient, ergonomically contoured and easy to keep clean. And they must be tamper-proof.”
Look at OKW’s newest ranges and you will notice a new trend emerging: they are moulded from high performance ASA rather than tried and trusted ABS, traditionally the go-to plastic for enclosures.
ASA is tough and UV-stable – so it is much more resistant to discolouration and the weakening effect of prolonged exposure to UV radiation.
OKW’s new BODY-CASE (IP 65) wearable enclosures and STYLE-CASE (IP 40) handheld cases are both moulded in high gloss, gleaming white ASA. And they are sealed with tamper-proof Torx screws – a key consideration for medical electronics.
Ultra-modern STYLE-CASE was designed specifically for the health and social care fields, offering a comfortably contoured handheld case for a broad spectrum of tasks. It is ideal as a remote controller because OKW provides infrared-transparent PMMA as a standard alternative to ASA.
OKW launched STYLE-CASE initially as a large size then swiftly followed up with two smaller sizes. The lid is recessed to accommodate an easy-clean membrane keypad.
BODY-CASE is equally radical in its design and just as focused on the health sector: applications include bio-feedback sensors, personal medical monitoring devices.
But what truly sets BODY-CASE apart is the fact that it’s the first OKW enclosure designed specifically to fit a standard 18 mm watchstrap (courtesy of two spring bars supplied with each case). The enclosures can also be clipped to a belt or pocket, worn on a lanyard or attached to a hand strap thanks to a range of accessories (which also includes charging stations).
BODY-CASE is available with or without a recessed lid as standard. An added design touch is the soft-touch TPV ring that forms the seal between the ASA top and bottom. This makes it easy to colour-code the cases for branding or operational reasons.
Robert Cox said: “Creating a wristwatch-style enclosure was an important ‘first’ for OKW because of the rising demand for wearable electronics especially in the medical field.
“Like all our standard enclosures, BODY-CASE had to be versatile, high quality and visually appealing but also sufficiently discrete in design to suit a wide range of products.
“And that’s where the accessories really help – the fastening kit with clip and eyelet enables BODY-CASE to be used in so many ways. Patients can wear the device on their wrist, on a belt or around their neck depending upon their personal circumstances.
“It’s hard to imagine walking into a hospital or surgery and not seeing a whole host of potential applications for BODY-CASE,” he added.
OKW’s EVOTEC (IP 65) desktop/table top enclosures also have strong credentials. They too are moulded from ASA but this time it’s a blend…ASA+PC-FR; ASA for UV stability, polycarbonate for added strength, with a flammability rating of UL 94 V-0.
The EVOTEC range includes a flat top case (no recess) in four plan sizes and a sloping top variant that is available with recessed lids (for membrane keypads) or non-recessed lids for touch screens etc.
But not all OKW enclosures destined for the medical sector are small handheld or desktop cases. Healthcare is also a prime market for one of the firm’s largest cases…
At 348 x 303 x 117 mm, the largest size of CARRYTEC resembles an attaché case. With its tough (but soft touch) integrated handle, these robust instrumentation enclosures are equally at home in the hands of a clinician or fixed to a suspension arm. Smaller sizes are also available, ranging from 222 x 205 x 80 mm to 270 x 247 x 91 mm.
CARRYTEC enclosures can be mobile, sit in desktop charging stations or be attached to bedrails (using a holding clamp which is available as an accessory). The small and medium sizes can be extended with zipped side bags – a clever move that allows a connected probe, sensor or scanner to be stored safely and conveniently without having to unplug it.