Are Medical-Grade Power Supplies Worth It?

Posted on November 1, 2022

In theory, there isn’t any difference between computing devices used in industrial or medical fields. But in practice, medical-grade devices must adhere to more stringent norms. These higher standards apply to components like power supplies as well, like the PFC800PCX 800 Watt Medical-Grade Power Supply. Keep reading for everything you need to know on Medical-Grade Power Supplies.

The IEC 60601-1 Standard: Ensuring Safety and Stability

Devices used in the medical field are primarily governed by the IEC 60601-1 standard. The standard includes both general rules for all kinds of medical devices and specific regulations to be followed by a particular type of product.

These include things like voltage limitations or material restrictions, putting in place a minimum standard of quality. Radiation shielding is another major focus since radiation leaked by diagnostic equipment can often interfere with the functioning of electronics.

Purely medical devices like defibrillators or X-Ray machines get their own dedicated sections of the IEC 60601-1 standard, regulating their function. As components like power supplies can potentially pose a health hazard, they get dedicated regulations as well.

What is a Medical Grade Power Supply?

What we call an electronic power supply is more akin to an electric converter. Its job is to transform the AC supply into a DC current that can be used by electronic devices. This involves reducing the voltage and current to a safe range before output.

As you might expect, this introduces a significant potential for electric shocks. In a normal desktop or industrial computer the system is unlikely to be handled regularly, but in a medical setting that cannot be guaranteed.

This is why IEC 60601-1 mandates reliable insulation for power supplies used in medical settings. Multiple layers of insulation must be used both internally and externally, removing any chance of current leakage that could cause an electric shock.

Medical-grade devices also tend to possess longer lifecycles and more consistent manufacturer support than other products, and the same is true for power supplies as well. A Medical grade power supply will last much longer and with fewer issues.

Other Safety Standards

IEC 60601-1 isn’t the only standard regulating medical devices. When it comes to power supplies, for example, the

EN61000 standard is equally important.

The EN61000 standard is specifically meant to regulate power supplies and mandates safe levels for many of its operational parameters. Compliant power supplies can handle sudden voltage dips and power surges without incurring damage and are not susceptible to RF interference.

Always make sure that the power supply you are looking to buy adheres to these standards, whether you deploy them in a medical environment or not. These regulations are necessary for the safety and longevity of the device in commercial or industrial settings as well.

Thermal Protection and Humidity

Medical facilities, while sterile, are often high-humidity environments. And as electronics don’t mesh well with moisture, you need devices rated for humid conditions.

Medical grade power supplies are typically capable of operating in more than 95% humidity, ensuring uninterrupted flow of power to crucial medical equipment in moist environments.

These units are also rated for wildly varying temperature ranges, working smoothly from 0 to 50℃. This is essential, as depending on the room the device is deployed in, air conditioning may or may not be present.

When Do You Need Medical Grade Power Supplies?

It is a misconception that power supplies are only required when building a PC. A large number of electronic devices must be powered by a DC supply, which can only be achieved with a power converter of some sort.

In the medical field especially, power supplies are required to run almost all diagnostic equipment. This is an addition to the power supply modules integrated with the computer systems in use.

And per the IEC 60601-1 standard, all of these power supplies must be rated for medical usage. Certified IEC 60601-1 power supplies are guaranteed to adhere to the strictest quality control norms, ensuring patient safety.

Is a Medical Grade Power Supply Worth it?

For obvious reasons, the medical field is subject to more stringent regulations. These standards are designed to maximize the safety of patients and medical personnel, while also ensuring the reliable functioning of life-saving medical devices.

And power supplies are a crucial component of any medical setup, powering all kinds of diagnostic equipment by converting the main supply into a more palatable form. As such it is even more important to use a high-quality, heavy-duty power convertor.

At Global American, we take regulatory compliance seriously, and will only provide you with certified components that meet all relevant standards and possess long lifecycles. In addition to power supplies, we also offer medical tablets and panel PCs for healthcare applications.