How Long Do Medical PC Power Supplies Last?

When manufacturing medical devices, you need power supplies with staying power for two reasons.  The development cycle can take years – you can’t afford to have a PSU go obsolete before going to market or when it comes time to update your product.  Medical devices also require high levels of reliability, both in the mean time between failures (MTBF) and the product’s life expectancy. 

How long should you expect medical power supplies to last, and what should you look for in a PC-based power supply?  We’ll tell you what you need to know so you can get back to focusing on your medical device’s life expectancy. 

Medical PC Power Supply Lifespan vs. Commercial Power Supply Lifespan 

Most power supplies available to medical device manufacturers are commercial power supplies.  These PSUs are more all-purpose – they serve a broader market and don’t necessarily have to meet the exact specifications that medical PSUs do.  Because of this, they are less expensive to develop and tend to have shorter lifespans. 

On the other hand, medical power supplies can take years to get certified for use in medical devices and often last longer.  RAM Technologies offers reliable, high-quality, compliant power supply units with 3-year warranties on every product. 

What Affects the PSU Lifespan? 

Your PSU lifetime will depend on several factors: The quality of the power supply, environmental conditions, and usage level.  Heat and humidity can limit the lifespan, as can continuous use. 

For medical devices, MTBF is also important.  This is another measure of reliability beyond the lifespan of the product, and it’s calculated by taking the time the product is operational and dividing it by the number of failures (indicating the product is down and in need of repair).  Most “medical” PC power supplies are still designed for the commercial PC market, typically offering between 100,000 and 200,000 hours of MTBF.  RAM Technologies’ PSUs have a demonstrated MTBF of over 500,000 hours on average.

How Long Do Power Supplies Last Before Going Obsolete? 

The other lifecycle consideration you need to make for medical device power supplies is how long the PSU you choose will be around.  Will it be available when you gain approval for your device, or is it at risk of becoming obsolete? 

The average product life for a commercial power supply is about 12-24 months.  Even a couple of years after launching your medical device, you run the risk of losing a key component.  What happens when you revise your device in 8 years?  Will you have to start over and find a new PSU? 

If a PSU becomes obsolete after 12-24 months, manufacturers need to get a new one and go through the regulatory process again, getting approved by a regulatory body like UL or TUV.  That takes time and money.  Plus, during that time, they won’t be able to produce or sell the product while waiting for approval. 

Due to the time, it takes for a medical device to come to market, the right PSU needs to come with a commitment to remain available for the production life of your medical device.  At RAM Technologies, we design new PSUs every 2-4 years but still make the same unit we first offered 26 years ago.  We don’t want you to worry about securing PSUs for the lifetime of your device.  You have enough to think about!

Considerations Beyond Medical PSU Life Expectancy 

Reliable components for your medical device can make all the difference, but there are other reasons to opt for a medical-grade power supply unit.  Choosing parts that meet regulatory standards your device also has to meet cuts down your overall production time.  RAM PSUs are UL 60601-1, IEC 60601-1, and EN60601-1 compliant. 

Requiring customization can also slow down your time to market.  Working with a company that can accommodate customized output cables or other features can keep you moving.  We offer customization in small runs, usually at no additional cost to customers. 

When it’s time to find a long-life PC-based PSU for your medical device, don’t leave it up to chance.  Work with a compliant, reliable provider today.  Contact us to learn more or get a quote. 

RAM Technologies’ power supplies are 60601-1 3.2 certified and meet 60601-1-2 EMC standards. When you’re designing your medical device and need help with a PSU,  contact us for details.


More Resources:

Medical Versus Commercial Power Supplies

How to Choose the Right Power Supply For Your Medical Device

Different Power Supply Sizes and Why They Matter


Subscribe to the RAM Technologies Newsletter

Get the latest posts in your email
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.