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Getting to the Heart of What the Medical Battery Market Needs

Wyon's Marcel Inauen discusses the challenges of miniaturizing power sources and how to overcome the hurdles.

Omar Ford

January 25, 2024

3 Min Read
Image Credit: Chor muang via Getty Images

As wearable or implantable medical devices become ever smaller, of course so do their power sources. And these can be tricky to design.

“The power source must be cleverly adapted to meet the dimensions of the devices while ensuring highest performance and consistent quality standards,” said Marcel Inauen, CTO of Wyon Company.

Inauen will be presenting a Medical Battery Conference at MD&M West in February, where he will discuss the challenges manufacturers might face in miniaturizing power sources, and how to approach them using innovative thinking, sometimes borrowing from other industries, rather than the traditional techniques.

MD+DI recently asked Inauen for his take on some of these challenges and what attendees can expect to learn at the conference.  What are some of the challenges that arise when developing power sources for ever smaller devices? Can you provide some background on this issue? 

Inauen: The smaller the devices get, the smaller the battery must be, while the performance must remain at a comparable level to larger cells. But physics count, and thus energy density shrinks while getting smaller due to the influence of wall thickness, internal electrical connections, and the overhang of the anode to cathode. Also, when you reduce the height of a cell, the well-known jelly roll approach of a cell design does not work anymore.

In some cases, also, standard form factors, such as cylindrical, are a limiting factor. Freedom in shape would allow better use of volume or even allow a more ergonomic design of the device. Furthermore, manufacturing of micro parts is a real challenge in precision, which is a must to have a stable production process and reliable quality of the product. 

When you adapt a power source for a miniature device, is it just a matter of “shrinking” the size of the power source or are there other considerations? 

Inauen: With the challenges discussed before, yes, the goal is to shrink the size of the cell. Wyon is pushing the limits of feasibility and is reducing the wall thickness, space for internal connections, and overhang. We also use a stacking approach to reduce cell height to even below 2mm. With the stacking cell technology, we are able to build arbitrary-shaped cells that are not bound to a standard form factor.

We use sources for machine parts from the watch industry, who have experience in manufacturing parts aiming for the highest precision. And we develop machines and manufacturing processes by ourselves to get the precision and reliability needed.

Additionally, our unique plastic housing technology offers several advantages, including lower eddy current losses, corrosion resistance, reduced weight, or mounting options to further reduce overall device size.

Could you share an example of how you approached adapting a power source to fit a smaller device? 

Inauen: Without disclosing names or project details, I can tell you the following: For a device that needed to be as small as possible with a magnet in the center, we built a cell around the magnet, meaning the cell became C-shaped.

Who should attend your upcoming session at IME West?  

Inauen: All kinds of medical device manufacturers or engineering companies designing next-generation small body-worn or even implanted devices who are challenged by miniaturization. I believe it is worth seeing the options Wyon may offer as a solution provider with 25 years of experience in within the complex medical device market.

What do you hope your attendees will take away from your session?  

Inauen: When starting a new device project, people often only think about the standard solutions available, but thinking outside the box would open up new possibilities. Knowing that such solutions are possible helps to set the process in motion. I hope that I can convey this accordingly.

Inauen will present “Solving the Needs of the Demanding Medical Battery Market,” on Tuesday, February 6, from 11:00 to 11:25 a.m., in Hall E, Booth #268.

For more information, including how to register for the Medical Batteries Conference at MD&M West, visit www.imengineeringwest.com.

About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].

 

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