DESIGN PROCESS

Controlled Fluidics specializes in precision plastics pneumatic and microfluidic manifolds –blocks and circuit boards – for aerospace, biomedical, diagnostic, defense, and other critical performance applications. We are ISO 9001:2008 registered and adhere to US Defense Standard Mil-Std-105, Military Inspection System Specifications Mil-I-45208A, and Mil-C-45662 Standards.

Materials Design

Typical configuration of a fluidic manifold is a macro or micro channel layer with a smooth cover plate, in a material appropriate for use with reagents and cleaning solutions. Manifolds designed by Controlled Fluidics align with current trend towards microfluidics and today’s drive toward smaller, tighter devices.

Manifold Technology

The field of fluidics, like electronics, requires ever-smaller components as consumer devices (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, among others) continue to miniaturize. These microfluidic devices typically have features and channel sizes under 250 microns.

Traditional multi-layer manifolds, which feature channel sizes greater than 250 microns, are generally classified as macrofluidic devices.

For multi-layer manifold design, single-sided channels are generally the easiest to produce. As polymer materials can be stress-sensitive, D-shaped channels are best, as they have better flow characteristics. Feature spacing can be as low as ½ (which is the smallest feature size between parallel running channels in lower pressure applications without fear of cross talk). For high-pressure applications, feature spacing should be increased to 1x the smallest feature size.

Channel layout is very flexible in a two-layer manifold. More complex, complicated manifolds require special channel layout provisions. Therefore, consideration should be given to complexity of design of bonded manifolds. Many times, two less-complicated, two-layer manifolds perform better than a single three- or four-layer manifold. Production fallout rates, design challenges, and bonding complexity can cause an exponential increase in price as the number of layers increase. With that said, there is no theoretical limit to the number of layers in a bonded manifold, but a strong practical limitation exists.

For design engineers with limited experience in manifold layout, creating efficient configuration can be daunting. Variables – such as material choice, channel size and placement, valve and fitting selection – can add complexity to the manifold. Whether your device is micro or macro, Controlled Fluidics is here to consult with your design team throughout the design process.  We will help you create your best possible design solution with your budget in mind.

Approaching the Design Process

  • Work on your design: For less-complicated, two-layer layouts, you know your working parameters best. You provide the preliminary layout, and we fine-tune it. As a bonus, you gain experience for 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.
Benefits of the Controlled Fluidics High-Quality Bonding Method
Our bond strength is equivalent to that of the parent material.
We can bond injection-molded manifold halves.
For best flow, our channel configuration of choice is full round. To save money, consider single-sided “D” channels.
We provide close tolerances in full round channels (.012" and above).
No feature translation, keeping the channels straight and size consistent
Large cavities/reservoirs are possible.
Threads can be machined on the bond line and will not crack!
Low tooling charges
Few design limitations
Delivery: 4 weeks for prototypes, 6-8 weeks for production
Always competitive pricing