Design Considerations Single-Use Medical Connectors

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Guides

With recent advancements in single-use (disposable) medical technologies, OEMs must achieve a single-use medical connector design that’s cost-effective, scalable, and reliable. Some examples of technologies that require single-use medical connectors are catheters, scopes, and probes. These devices are energy-driven and require power (high and low voltage), signal, imaging and sensing, and in some instances, the ability to transfer gas, saline, and waste.

For technologies like these, the single-use connectors can be:


Designed into the handpiece


Attached to the handpiece via a “pigtail” or “dongle” design


Attached to a full-length cable that’s hardwired into the handpiece and plugs directly into the console/generator

The selection process should start by understanding the technology’s specific application and user experience for the doctor/hospital, with patient safety at the forefront.

This approach will help you confidently select the components, materials, and overall design for your single-use medical connector.

Once completed, you are now ready to pursue design considerations for your single-use medical connector.

Critical elements of a single-use medical connector:


Plastic connectors provide a more competitive price point over metal and are ideal for single-use applications.

Mating Style:

Choosing between locking, non-locking, and a breakaway connector mating style can make a big difference at high volume.

Non-locking connectors will offer the least number of components with the most straightforward design and lowest price point.
Breakaway connectors provide a slightly more sophisticated design and enhanced user experience over non-locking while maintaining similar price points.
Locking connectors offer the most sophisticated designs with additional components but with a slightly higher price point.
Gii Purpose-Built Breakaway Connector
Gii Purpose-Built Non-locking Connector
Gii Purpose-Built Locking Connector


A primary component and cost driver in connectors involves the contacts.
Most contacts require gold plating, which will significantly drive cost, especially as the number of contacts per connector increases.

While machined contacts with 30 microns of gold plating are the most common, a stamped pin with gold flash will offer you the lowest-cost option in single-use applications.

When the number of electrical contacts per connector is considered high, edge cards (PCB style – FR4) will begin to present the lowest cost options.

Depending on your product application, you may also require pneumatic and fluidic contacts that handle gas, saline, and suction.

Fiber contacts for imaging and sensing are becoming more prevalent and increasingly important for many emerging technologies.

Exploded view of Gii Purpose-Built Breakaway Connector including stamped contacts with gold flash

Before selecting any of the above options, patient safety and performance requirements should be considered.

At Global Interconnect, we specialize in helping medical device manufacturers identify the ideal connector solution at any stage of their single-use technology. Engage our team today, and let us help you achieve immediate and long-term cost savings and success.