Wearable Pumps for Medical Devices Count on Ball Screws

There has been a tremendous amount of innovation lately in the design of medical devices and lab instruments. One of the critical aspects of the new products being developed is linear motion.  And Steinmeyer is proud to be directly involved in providing drive solutions to our cutting-edge customers.  We currently have several on-going applications involving wearable pumps driven by ball screws, and I wanted to share some of the specifics.

Implantable medical devices naturally place extreme requirements on size, materials, lifetime, and reliability.  These constraints drive up cost and complexity.  Incorporating all of this function into a single implantable is extremely challenging.  Not only that, but servicing the pump requires major surgery!

One solution is to break down the system into two components—one implantable and one wearable.  The implantable component handles minimal functionality and consists simply of a balloon. The wearable component enjoys much looser design requirements. In the projects we are working with, a wearable pump is used to drive compressed air through a catheter that passes into the body.

A wearable pump offers the advantages of being small, quiet, and very reliable.  That is where precision ball screws come into play.  Steinmeyer offers standard miniature screws in diameters 3 to 16 mm. The diameter typically required for this application ranges from 8 to 12 mm. Custom products can be developed as well for applications that need it. Steinmeyer ball screws also feature our proprietary super finishing process, called optiSLITE.  This improves the surface quality of the shaft threads for reduced friction torque, quieter operation, and longer life.

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