What is a Plastic Medical Manifold?
A medical manifold is a means of bringing together multiple samples, chemistries or reagents in a simple, repeatable and reliable manner. Medical manifolds may be injection moulded low cost disposables or larger more complex components produced using CNC machining and bonding techniques.
Diffusion Bonded medical manifolds have become a standard in the medical industry. They are typically used to handle and process fluids, gases, reagents and samples within clinical diagnostics, point of care, laboratory equipment and drug development applications.
When were the first Medical Manifolds produced?
Carville developed a diffusion bonding technique to bond acrylic materials for use in aerospace applications in the 1960’s. Diffusion bonding allows acrylic materials to be bonded without the use of solvents or adhesives.
In 1980, Carville entered in to a development programme with Corning Medical. Corning Medical was designing and manufacturing blood diagnostic equipment and wanted to find a more reliable way to process samples and reagents.
Carville worked with Corning Medical and used our diffusion bonding techniques to develop the worlds first diffusion bonded medical manifold. This first medical manifold was a simple two layer components and was used for a blood diagnostics application.
How are Medical Manifolds manufactured?
Medical Manifolds are produced from fully heat treated cast clear acrylic. The acrylic material is diamond machined to achieve plates which are flat and parallel before adding the required internal track features and then bonding the plates together.
As medical manifolds are machined and bonded, they offer the design engineer the ability to introduce smooth flow baths and complex internal features which can not be achieved using conventional machining or moulding techniques. Internal tracks can be machined at various widths to create restrictions or reservoirs when it is necessary to build up a buffer of samples or reagent.
Is it possible to add components to a Medical Manifold?
The function of medical manifolds can be enhanced with a number of additional components such as peristaltic pumps, flow control valves, solenoids, heater modules, electrical circuitry and filters. Carville have produced simple manifolds requiring a few valve to much larger assemblies requiring 300 valves.
How are samples or Reagents introduced to a Medical Manifold?
Carville can produce medical manifolds with a range of standard or bespoke fittings. Customers will typically use either threaded fittings in plastic or press fit stainless steel capillaries.
Why do Medical Companies use Manifolds?
Medical Manifolds are produced using CNC manufacturing techniques and offer a repeatable and reliable component which removes the requirement for tubing and multiple connections. Removing the tubing and connections from a Medical Manifold will offer cost savings in product manufacture and assembly.
Medical Manifolds are bespoke components unique to each application. Removal of multiple tubes and connections will reduce dead volumes within equipment and improve sample flow during sample processing. It is possible to have smooth flowing tracks inside the manifold rather than sharp corners with 90⁰ bends. This will improve the performance of the diagnostic equipment.
As manifolds are transparent, it is possible to view samples in process. It is also possible to view the manifold cleaning cycle to ensure that the manifold is clean between tests. This reduces the risk of cross contamination in sampling and testing.
Another benefit of a transparent manifold is the option to fit optical devices to perform cell counting and other tests within the assembly. This is common practice in blood diagnostics.
When it comes to servicing, switching a manifold as part of a preventative maintenance programme is easier and more reliable than the removal and replacement of individual valves and tubes. A Medical Manifold allows servicing to be completed more efficiently and reduces the risk of errors by service personnel.
How many Manifolds have Carville produced?
Carville produced the first medical manifold in 1980 and supply to customer in Europe, Asia and the USA. Carville have manufactured in excess of 1,000,000 manifolds in materials ranging from Acrylic (PMMA) to Ultem (PEI).
How do we get a quotation for a Medical Manifold?
Customers should submit 2D drawings (.dwg or .pdf) along with a 3D model (.stp) for Carville to review. These files, along with the required quantities, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Carville will offer feedback on the suitability of the manifold for manufacture along with suggestion to improve manifold performance and reduce manufacturing costs.
Where can we see samples of Manifolds produced by Carville?
Examples of plastic medical manifolds produced by Carville can be reviewed at the top of this page and in the Carville image library.
Summary of Benefits
There are many attractive properties that encourage medical companies to adopt, design and use acrylic manifolds. These include:
– Ease of assembly.
– Reduced cost of assembly.
– Improved reliability.
– Reduction in dead volumes.
– Improved diagnostic performance.
– Visualisation of system operation.
– Ease of maintenance.