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Reliability in Healthcare: The Vital Role of Voltage Regulation

Posted May 16, 2024 by Conor Duffy

Enabling medical technologies for hospital and healthcare critical environments.

In operating rooms, every device’s performance is critical and essential to a patient’s survival. Dialysis centers require precise readings to administer crucial treatment, and in emergency rooms, the reliability of electrical equipment is quite literally a matter of life and death.

This is why Advanced Energy contributes to the effectiveness of voltage regulation in medical technology. AE’s expertise ensures that every piece of medical equipment, from the most sophisticated MRI machines to vital life-support devices, operates as designed.

Understanding Voltage Regulation in Medical Devices

Voltage regulation in medical devices stabilizes the voltage supply. This stability allows devices to operate within their ideal electrical conditions, critical for the precision and reliability necessary in healthcare. This process directly impacts the success of diagnostics and treatments, where even slight deviations can lead to significant consequences. AE provides solutions that maintain this essential stability, safeguarding patient care and the functionality of vital medical technology.

Medical devices rely on consistent power to function accurately. For instance, in digital X-ray imaging systems, stable voltage is crucial for producing clear images for accurate diagnosis.

Research underscores the importance of voltage stability in medical devices. Even minor fluctuations in power supply can significantly impact the performance of sensitive medical equipment, leading to potential misdiagnoses or equipment failure.

At The Heart of Voltage Regulation: Real Challenges, Real Consequences

When medical equipment is operating with adequate voltage regulation, this means the equipment is fully functioning, serving medical professionals and safeguarding patients. 

But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Unwanted voltage fluctuations can and do happen. These voltage anomalies—such as sags, dips, harmonics or transients—pose risks to medical devices, healthcare professionals and patients. These risks include:

●    Device Malfunction: Without proper voltage regulation, medical devices may malfunction, leading to incorrect readings or the failure of critical life-support systems. For example, in the case of infusion pumps, inaccurate voltage can cause incorrect dosing of medications, posing serious risks to patient health.

●    Reduced Equipment Lifespan: Fluctuations in voltage can stress electronic components, shortening the lifespan of expensive medical equipment. This leads to higher operational costs due to more frequent repairs and replacements, and increases downtime, affecting patient care.

●    Data Integrity Issues: In devices that store patient data, like ECG monitors, voltage instability can lead to data corruption. This compromises patient records and can affect treatment plans.

●    Safety Hazards: In extreme cases, inadequate voltage regulation can pose direct safety hazards, including electrical fires or shocks, endangering both patients and medical staff.

AE’s work with an innovative eye care leader highlights the importance of voltage regulation. The customer was developing a new femtosecond laser, which demanded stable and reliable voltage. Any sudden or unexpected downtime of the high voltage power supply would be catastrophic were it to occur during one of these procedures.

AE met this challenge with the UltraVolt® HVA series of precise, fast-switching DC-DC modular high voltage power supplies designed to operate reliably in demanding medical applications. Utilizing AE’s expert knowledge of high voltage and fast-switching applications, the team surpassed all the unique requirements needed by the customer. 
UltraVolt HVA SeriesUltraVolt HVA Series
How Advanced Energy Delivers on Voltage Regulation

Understanding the complexity and critical nature of voltage regulation in healthcare technology, Advanced Energy prioritizes precision, reliability and adaptability in its solutions. AE’s approach is rooted in a deep understanding of the dynamic needs of medical environments, where the margin for error is minimal. 
“Our global design teams collectively have numerous years of design experience, contributing to a vast library of proven building-blocks and platforms that can be reused as part of new products and system solutions,” said Shri Chandrasekharan, Advanced Energy’s senior vice president, Medical Power Products. “This reduces time-to-launch for our customers and is a key enabler for us in de-risking projects as we continue to push the innovation barrier.”
AE’s advanced engineering teams partner with the world’s leading power electronics component suppliers on breakthrough technologies and solutions that push future performance levels on multiple dimensions. The close strategic partnership with leading component suppliers allows AE’s engineers to select the most appropriate components to meet the needs of customers’ systems. 
Chandrasekharan added, “Internally, our design guidelines call for a higher factor of safety, ensuring that our solutions exceed key specification parameters under all working conditions, at extremes of the performance range and at extremes of expected operational environments.”
Across Advanced Energy’s global manufacturing footprint, AE undertakes the most advanced levels of testing before products ship to its customers to ensure AE products consistently meet the demanding needs of the most sensitive medical applications.

Reliability is the only option. Connect with Advanced Energy today for voltage regulation solutions.

Conor Duffy

Advanced Energy
Conor Duffy has more than 20 years of experience across General Management, Sales, Product Management & Technical Marketing roles in the in the Power Supply and Industrial Electronics industries. He joined Advanced Energy in 2017 as part of the acquisition of Excelsys Technologies where he was then CEO. Conor holds an MSc. in Technology Management from Smurfit Business School, University College Dublin, a BSc. Electrical & Electronic Engineering from University College Cork and has also completed Executive Leadership Programs at IESE Business School, Barcelona and IMD in Lausanne.
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