Amber-colored bonded manifold created from ultem plastic

What is a Bonded Manifold?

If you’ve spent time on our website, you are likely to encounter the term “bonded manifold.” But what exactly is a bonded manifold, and do you need one?

The field of fluidics, like electronics, requires ever-smaller components as services (such as hand-held on-chip detection devices, nano-pumps for continuous drug delivery, and micro-power generators and micro-propulsion for the aerospace industry) continue to miniaturize. These microfluidic devices typically have features and channel sizes under 250 microns. As a result, bonded manifolds are the best way to address such challenges.

Bonded manifolds contain channels that transport liquids or gases through spaces where there is no room for valves, hoses, and fittings. They are created from individual layers of plastic with milled fluid channels. The layers are seamlessly fused using heat, time, and pressure to form a single piece. External machining completes the manifold by adding porting and mounting holes.

Why Do You Want a Bonded Manifold?

Bonded manifolds offer a variety of advantages for applications in healthcare and the life sciences. They can contain hundreds of fluid channels in the smallest spaces and thus are ideally suited to applications where fluids must pass through a series of valves, reaction chambers, etc. You can simplify complex systems by replacing multiple tubes, pipes, connectors, and other components with a single manifold.  They can also be precisely integrated into their respective devices in a plug & play manner. Just fit the manifold into the relevant device, and you’re ready to go.

Advantages of Bonded Manifolds

  • Design flexibility: Controlled Fluidics offers unlimited channel configurations
  • Lower total cost of ownership: Compared to multiple drilled manifolds and tubing, bonded manifolds reduce the number of parts, amount of material, weight, and price.
  • Reduced complexity and component count: You can enjoy precise control of flow and improve reliability while reducing assembly time and service costs with a single part.
  • Complete system integration in one module and the smallest possible envelope
  • Unrestricted length to channel diameters
  • Zero maintenance

Bonded Manifold Technology

Manifolds designed by our team of experts align with the current trend towards today’s drive toward smaller, tighter devices. For multi-layer manifold designs, double-sided channels are generally the easiest to produce. However, as polymer materials can be stress-sensitive, full round channels are best since they have better flow characteristics. In addition, feature spacing can be as low as 1mm.

Two-layer manifolds can have very flexible channel layouts. More complicated manifolds will need special channel layout provisions. Thus, it is important to consider design complexity. Frequently, two less complicated, two-layer manifolds perform better than a single three- or four-layer manifold. However, production fallout rates, design challenges, and bonding complexity can significantly increase the price as the number of layers grows. There is theoretically no limit to the number of layers in a bonded manifold, although strong practical limitations exist.

For design engineers with limited experience in manifold layout, creating an efficient configuration can be daunting. Variables—including material choice, channel size and placement, and valve and fitting selection—can add complexity. Whether your design is micro or macro, Controlled Fluidics can consult with your design team throughout the design process. As a result, we can help you find the best possible design solution while keeping your budget in mind.

Different Approaches to the Design Process with Controlled Fluidics

  • Work on your design: For less complicated, two-layer layouts, you know your working parameters best.
  • Provide the preliminary layout: Our staff will fine-tune it. As a bonus, you and your team gain experience you can use on future design work.
  • Provide a schematic: We will develop the layout given your working envelope and component selection.
  •  Select components and working envelope: We develop a complete design for your manifold with all inputs and outputs.

Do you need a Bonded Manifold? Contact the experts at Controlled Fluidics.