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Design News, February 2013

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Medical MPPE insulation on hook-up wire. MPPE Insulation and the Incredible Shrinking Medical Device As the demand for portable medical devices increases both in the home and emerging markets abroad, design engineers find their solution for weight and space savings through innovative recyclable MPPE insulation for wire and cable. By Kaitlin Janne, Alpha Wire W ith rapidly advancing technology in the world today, there is a medical arms race to promote and expand healthy living and proper care in all regions of the world. Although the average levels of care can be drastically different, smaller and, thus, more portable, medical devices help bridge the gap between developed and developing markets. Hospitals in the US and similarly developed countries have become overwhelmed in a sea of beeping devices, displays, and wires, inundating both patients and caregivers. Leading advancements are trending toward decreasing the noise in such environments while simplifying the overall experience. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in emerging markets, the traditional doctor or dentist's office might not be accessible by all, creating demand for devices' increase in portability. With an aging population across the globe, the same devices found in hospitals are transitioning to the home, where the need for portability and ease of use is even greater. In a 2010 report published by the United Nations Department of Eco- M6 MED I C A L / A SU PPL EM E N T T O D E S I G N N E W S F E B R UARY 2013 nomic and Social Affairs, it is projected the world's population will increase to over 9 billion by 2050, with more than 15 percent of the total population aged 60 and older. Coupled with the high costs associated with inpatient care, many with chronic conditions are finding this option more cost-effective in addition to more convenient. With the inevitable shift in healthcare management into the patients' hands, it is imperative that devices shrink to become suitable for home use. When designing an application to be smaller, it is often the smallest components, such as the wire and cable that tend to get overlooked. However, when the arms or the body of a device shrinks, the wire and cable needed to power it must shrink as well to obtain the required flexibility and motion. MPPE insulation is able to achieve this result through its inherently superior characteristics. How do you disrupt the low-cost PVC commonly found in medical devices, and the insulation powerhouse of the wire and cable industry? You make something smaller, lighter, and tougher. MPPE, which stands for modified polyphenylene ether, [www.designnews .com]

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