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Case Study: Pulse-Free Diaphragm Pump Compressor For Medical Ventilators

High-end medical ventilators have stringent requirements for the heart of their systems:  the diaphragm pump compressor that delivers air to the patient.  The compressors not only need to meet or exceed all the requirements of the FDA for contamination control, but they need to meet the requirements of the manufacturer (in this case, name withheld due to confidentiality).

High-performance ventilators typically operate in one of several modes to assist or impose breathing on the patient:

  • Reactive: the ventilator senses inhalation and supplements it with volume or pressure
  • Proactive: the ventilator is set to provide certain combinations of volume and/or pressure, or a mix of both

Unlike CPAP machines, which only provide a continuous, constant output, ventilators must also provide output patterns that are set to meet the specific needs of a particular patient.  That means the compressor needs to be highly responsive to electrical/command inputs and provide smooth airflow to the patient at a pressure below 1-2 psi.

The Birth Of The “Radial 12” Ventilator Compressor

During the early phases of developing a new, high-performance ventilator, Dynaflo’s customer used the 1000 Series Diaphragm Pump in compressor mode.  While it worked and was successful, the output flow was more pulsatile than the application demanded.

Dynaflo set out to design a diaphragm pump that would be highly responsive and provide a low-pressure output flow that was as smooth as possible for a diaphragm pump.  We did this by placing twelve small diaphragm pumps in series, radially on a single eccentric – such that during a single rotation of the motor, each pump delivered one cycle, albeit 1/12th of a stroke different than its neighbor.  The result is a diaphragm compressor that provided ultra-smooth flow compressed and controlled by a high-performance brushless DC motor.

Patented Smooth Output Technology

The unique, innovative 3000 Series “Radial 12” diaphragm compressor for ventilator applications was patented and received awards for its novel approach to delivering smooth output flow.  Diaphragm pumps – due to their “bicycle pump” nature of providing pulsatile flow – are usually not known for producing such smooth flow output; the 3000 Series Radial 12 changed all that.

Tens Of Thousands In The Field

Since being introduced in the mid-2000s, the 3000 Series Radial 12 Ventilator Compressor has been built into tens of thousands of ventilators and shipped worldwide, supporting industrial/hospital and military needs.

Noteworthy is how Honda of America stepped up to meet the surge in demand for these devices in 2020.  More on that story here.


Despite close to 300 parts that make up each compressor, the 3000 Series Ventilator Compressor is surprisingly light – weighing in at only 1.5 pounds (0.7 kg).  This makes it particularly attractive for battery-powered, mobile ventilator applications for field use.

High Altitude Performance

Unlike constant pressure output vane compressors, the 3000 Series Radial 12 Compressor is better suited to providing pressurized air at higher altitudes.  Vane-type compressors typically do not perform well at higher altitudes.

If you are a manufacturer of medical ventilators and want to learn more about the 3000 Series Radial 12 Ventilator Compressor, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help you.

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