Medical equipment ergonomics vital in healthcare sector

Southco explains how technological advances in portable medical equipment is placing increased pressure on design engineers to meet challenging ergonomic requirements

Technological advances in the development of portable medical equipment are presenting new design challenges for manufacturers as they seek to meet more demanding ergonomic requirements to improve operator usability and enhance patient experience. Whether it's diagnostic and imaging equipment, dispensing carts, display screens or charting stations, design engineers need to focus on choosing intuitive products designed with the lowest operating efforts. Hinges and arms with integrated positioning technology deliver better usability and can provide a more ergonomic feel for those who use this equipment.

Worldwide research affirms that ergonomic medical equipment should be designed to accommodate such factors as size and maneuverability, ease and range of adjustments, weight capacity, application limitations and ease of cleaning. Furthermore, all such equipment should enable easy and intuitive use in their primary functions, offer simplicity of operation within their environment and empathise with the physical and intellectual abilities of operators.

Today's technology allows previously larger and more stationary equipment to become more portable and accessible, and manufacturers are investing more each year in improved designs. According to analysts, the industry is forecast to grow by more than 8 per cent annually, surpassing £300 billion in 2016. Specifically, the endoscopy equipment segment is expected to grow 6.4 per cent in 2012, the ultrasound segment is expected to grow 44 per cent by 2015, and the point-of-care diagnostic segment is expected to grow 9 per cent annually through 2016.

By integrating positioning technologies into equipment designs, engineers can meet the need for mobility while simplifying operation. Positioning technology improves functionality, usability and ergonomics, saving the end-user time and labour.

Positioning arms and mounts

The increase in the availability of touchscreens and imaging technology has changed the requirement for display mounting. Equipment, such as endoscopy machines, is often fixed to carts or other portable devices. Using mounts and arms in these applications can help equipment designers achieve positioning that is more ergonomic.

Employees are discouraged from working for more than four hours per day with their necks bent more than 45 degrees. This means that display screens should be positioned at optimal viewing angle, 15 degrees below the horizontal line of sight. Thus, it is critical for operators to be able to move screens and input devices into comfortable working positions with arms and mounts that support the display screen when stationery, yet are easy to move when re-positioning is required. Constant torque positioning technology offers a full range of motion and can hold a display screen in a precise position without any set screws, torque handles or other user intervention. And, it enables screens to withstand vibration, bumping and drift during transportation.

Tilt-only display mounts, such as Southco's T Series, enable effortless display positioning and infinite angle options in medical equipment only requiring tilt functionality - such as a monitor mounted on a dispensing cart. For applications requiring more adjustment, Southco offers a tilt and swivel mount that tilts vertically and horizontally, with a range of motion stops for added flexibility. For even more mobility, articulated arms offer a full range of motion and can be moved in multiple directions and angles with minimum force.

Hinging technology

Positioning technology in medical equipment is not just limited to mounts and arms. Constant torque hinges, which use engineered friction systems to provide continuous resistance against motion, can be incorporated into a variety of applications. These hinges are suitable where it is necessary to easily open and close doors, such as wall charting stations, medical cabinets and diagnostic equipment with heavy lids.

A variety of hinge options that can improve ergonomics in medical equipment applications are available. For example, Southco's counterbalanced hinges allow the weight of an object - such as a heavy tray of lid - to fold up easily. They provide lift assistance and feature improved, long-term reliability when compared with gas struts, which may fall due to loss of pressure.

Another positioning option is detent hinges. These provide positive retention at pre-determined points, allowing operatives to hold panels open providing rapid access while keeping both hands free.

Medical equipment manufacturers must be prepared for constant changes in how healthcare professionals use traditional medical equipment. The shift towards mobility and portability in equipment designs demands improved operation and an ergonomic focus.

Engineers should select components that are both functional and able to meet ergonomic goals. Through the integration of positioning systems - such as hinges, mounts and control arms - operators of medical equipment will experience ease of use, as well as improved balance, control and reliability.

For further information about positioning arms, mounts and hinges for ergonomic designs, go to www.southco.com

Southco Europe Ltd

Touch Point, Wainwright Road
Warndon
Worcester
WR4 9FA
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0)1905 346722

info@southco.com

www.southco.com

More from Southco Europe Ltd

New compact display arm offers greater freedoms

Posted 1 week ago

New rotary latch actuator from Southco

Posted 3 weeks ago

Southco launches new branding

Posted 2 years ago

Southco earns UL Recognition Certification FTTA2/FTTA8

Posted 2 years ago

Southco expands Europe manufacturing operations into Poland

Posted 2 years ago

New low-profile captive screws with custom colour option

Posted 2 years ago

How to specify components for a rotary latch system

Posted 3 years ago

Five ways to future-proof industrial products

Posted 3 years ago

Engineered latching for enhanced usability

Posted 3 years ago

Padlockable compression latch with ergonomic T-handle

Posted 3 years ago

Cable splitter provides flexibility of actuation points

Posted 3 years ago

Padlockable compression latch with ergonomic T-handle

Posted 3 years ago

Tips for specifying stainless steel hinges

Posted 3 years ago

New counterbalance system supports heavy doors and covers

Posted 3 years ago

Captive quarter-turn fastener for vibration-resistant access

Posted 3 years ago

New shutter cam latch designed to prevent accidental opening

Posted 3 years ago

Microprocessor-controlled R4-EM 9 series electronic rotary latch

Posted 4 years ago

Southco's 4C Wing Knob Captive Screw offers tool-free access

Posted 4 years ago

A balancing act: the benefits of using counterbalance technology

Posted 4 years ago

Southco's torque hinge technology for EvoBus headrests

Posted 4 years ago

Aluminium compression latch provides adjustable grip

Posted 4 years ago

Southco acquires Counterbalance Corporation

Posted 4 years ago

Compact rotary latch series features dual trigger actuation

Posted 4 years ago

Corrosion-resistant all-plastic cam latch meets NEMA 4 and IP65

Posted 5 years ago

Southco launches new product handbook for 2015

Posted 5 years ago

Detent hinge has improved corrosion resistance and cycle life

Posted 5 years ago

Southco introduces new spring-loaded concealed pull handle

Posted 5 years ago

New sealed lever latch from Southco meets door IP ratings

Posted 5 years ago

Electronic access control: physically securing medical equipment

Posted 5 years ago

Southco continues to develop DZUS quarter-turn fastener range

Posted 5 years ago

Southco expands entry door systems with non-locking actuators

Posted 6 years ago

Compact two-stage rotary latch prevents false latching

Posted 6 years ago

Tilt display mount with non-counterbalanced torque option

Posted 6 years ago

Advancing electronic access in off-highway equipment

Posted 6 years ago

Southco helps to secure self-service postal system

Posted 6 years ago

Rugged compact tilt and swivel mount for smaller displays

Posted 6 years ago

Aluminium compression latch complies with EU fire standard

Posted 6 years ago

Southco provides robust access for Liebherr Cranes

Posted 6 years ago

Sealed, corrosion-resistant electronic rotary latch for outdoors

Posted 7 years ago

Lockable flush handle installs quickly and improves security

Posted 7 years ago

Lightweight hinge delivers double the torque to hold heavy doors

Posted 7 years ago

Flexible arm for medical workstations

Posted 7 years ago

Atos chooses Southco's access systems for datacentre security

Posted 7 years ago

Stainless steel version of DZUS Panex quarter-turn fastener

Posted 7 years ago

Enhanced lever latches deliver better performance

Posted 7 years ago

Southco acquires Unikey Industrial Components

Posted 7 years ago

Southco launches new website with improved navigation

Posted 7 years ago

Southco ensures safe and secure deliveries at parcel lockers

Posted 7 years ago

Southco helps Gidophone secure mobile charging stations

Posted 7 years ago

Electronic locking swinghandle accepts HID proximity cards

Posted 8 years ago

RF remote control for wireless actuation of electronic locks

Posted 8 years ago

USB controller allows independent control of multiple devices

Posted 8 years ago

Complete rotary latch system offers off-highway security

Posted 8 years ago

Southco offers standard and customised cam latches

Posted 9 years ago

New Membrane Keypad Access Controller suits industrial equipment

Posted 9 years ago

Southco recognised for environmental achievements

Posted 9 years ago

Fasteners and hinges aid compliance with Machinery Directive

Posted 9 years ago

Southco launches E5 push-to-close cam latches

Posted 9 years ago

Wireless remote locking benefits industrial equipment

Posted 10 years ago

Latch can be locked/unlocked using electronic devices

Posted 11 years ago

Lift-and-turn compression latch suits large, heavy panels

Posted 11 years ago

Free guide to positioning technology

Posted 12 years ago

New catalogue for quick-access and retained fasteners

Posted 12 years ago

Fasteners for fixed guards - for the new Machinery Directive

Posted 12 years ago

New inject/eject mechanisms for CompactPCI boards

Posted 12 years ago

Compact push-to-close latches in stainless steel

Posted 12 years ago

Guide to the New Machinery Directive

Posted 12 years ago

Guide to the New Machinery Directive

Posted 12 years ago

Easy way to add electronic security to enclosures

Posted 13 years ago

Swing handle latch offers greater versatility

Posted 13 years ago

More technical articles
14 hours ago
Automatic bearing lubrication brings ore inspiring results in mining
By installing automatic lubricators for bearings on its conveyor drive motors and belt pulleys, an opencast mine in Hungary has seen a range of benefits, including the prevention of unplanned downtime, longer bearing life and reduced repair work
14 hours ago
Kinoulton company conveys COVID-combating masks
Here's a great example of the germ of an idea resulting in the combating of COVID
14 hours ago
FLIR Systems announces four new Exx-Series handheld thermal imaging cameras
New E96, E86, E76 and E54 models feature enhanced thermal resolution and provide on-camera routing capability for more efficient inspections
1 day ago
New C-Mount lenses bring focus for machine and system builders
IDS now offers more than 20 new C-mount lenses with resolutions of 5, 8 and 10 MP as well as different focal lengths and optical classes
1 day ago
Backup DC motor for two rolling mill applications
Menzel Elektromotoren has built a replica of an old DC motor for a large German steel strip manufacturer
1 day ago
Distributed safety systems webinar 30th October 0930
In this webinar Pilz UK Product Manager David Collier will examine the state-of-the-art technology available to meet the demands of decentralisation
1 day ago
New narrow FeedThrough connectors save panel space
New from Cliff Electronics is the SLIMS FeedThrough Connector range, designed and manufactured in the UK
2 days ago
New autoglide 5 system from igus doesn’t need a guide trough
A new energy chain system for intralogistics and crane systems has been designed by motion plastics experts igus
2 days ago
New DC/AC converter unveiled by Phoenix Contact
With the arrival of its new DC/AC inverter (part of the Phoenix Contact Quint Power family) the company says that machine builders now have a compact solution to generate alternating current in DC applications
2 days ago
New-generation bullet train runs on NSK bearings
High-performance bearings from NSK are now operational in the newly developed N700S Shinkansen (bullet train)