Brushless Motors Drive the Pumps in Medical Applications

Brushless drives are precise, reliable and robust

Reliable, precise and robust equipment is the top priority for all medical applications. Be it for the preparation and cleaning of surgical instruments, the surgical procedures themselves, patient monitoring, irradiation techniques, wound management, machine-aided intensive care or postoperative therapy, the pumps built into the necessary devices must function perfectly.

In order to supply biological samples for a valid diagnosis, many working steps are required, using a variety of reagents as well as solvents and cleaning agents. For example, the used instruments need to be cleaned for the next analysis. Organic materials, chemical substances and cleaning fluids are collected and disposed as waste from organic chemical materials.


Diaphragm pumps are often used in these medical devices to move the substances in the process, using vacuum, pressure or a combination of both. The motor used to drive the pump is an important consideration in medical applications.

A brushless drive developed by KNF
A brushless drive developed by KNF

Brushless drives are often used in medical applications

To date, AC motors have proven reliable in many successful designs for driving pumps. They are well-established and comparatively inexpensive. But new medical products require the pump size to be smaller with the option of speed regulation and brushless DC motors (BLDC) are ideally suited for these pump requirements.

As the name suggests, the BLDC motor relies on direct current, so the alternating current must be converted. This conversion leads to higher production costs if compared with AC motors, but the BLDC motor makes up for that with an almost wear-free drive and long service life. They operate quietly with minimal vibration, and because of the reduced heat produced, they require less space and energy. This means they fall perfectly in line with the trend of medical device miniaturization with portability and battery-powered operation.

The inside of a brushless motor
The inside of a brushless motor

The greatest advantage of brushless dri­ves is the speed control during operation

The integrated speed control helps to operate the driven pump in the desired speed/voltage range, leading to system operation at the optimized performance condition. The electronic control also makes it possible to change the working speeds during operation. This control also allows for improved safety by offering an automatic shut off. If sensors detect a temperature which exceeds the permissible maximum value, the BLDC motor control switches off, protecting the drive, pump and device.

Thanks to brushless drives, KNF pumps ideally meet the requirements of the medical devices in which they are installed: Diaphragm pumps add no impurities to the media, the pumps offer excellent tightness and can be integrated in any installation position. Diaphragm pumps are self-priming and safe to run dry when used for liquids and insensitive to moisture when used for gaseous media.

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