Bonded Manifolds

Controlled Fluidics specializes in precision plastics bonded manifolds for pneumatic and fluidic applications. Multilayer manifolds are particularly valuable in life science applications, including gene sequencing, diagnostic instrumentation, and point of care devices. Beyond life sciences, bonded manifolds have a variety of uses in the aerospace, defense, biomedical, and diagnostic industries. We are ISO 9001:2015 registered and adhere to  ANSI/ASQ Z 1.4 & ANSI/NCSL Z 540-1-1994

What is a bonded manifold?

Typical configuration of a fluidic manifold is a layout of channels in two layers that are fused together seamlessly. The process begins by machining stock shape sheet material into the appropriate configuration for the application. Then, engineers bond the two halves together using heat, time, and pressure to form a single piece. External machining completes the manifold by adding porting and mounting holes. Manifolds designed by Controlled Fluidics align with the current trend towards microfluidics and today’s drive toward smaller, tighter devices.

Why choose a bonded manifold?

Bonded manifolds are the best solution for many complicated projects. When you integrate a bonded manifold into a fluidic systems, the benefits are:

  • Unlimited channel configurations
  • Lower total cost of ownership in comparison to multiple drilled manifolds and tubing
  • The smallest possible envelope
  • Complete system integration on one module
  • Unrestricted length to channel diameters

There are limitations to consider.  For example, bonded manifolds can:

  • Limit your material choices to amorphous plastics (clear plastics)
  • Be more difficult to source     
  • Require specialized skill to engineer
  • More expensive than a drilled manifold

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 mesoscale fluidic devices.

For multi-layer manifold design, double-sided channels are generally the easiest to produce. As polymer materials can be stress-sensitive, full round channels are best, as they have better flow characteristics. Feature spacing can be as low as 1mm spacing.

Channel layout is very flexible in a two-layer manifold. More complex, complicated manifolds require special channel layout provisions. Therefore, it’s important to consider the design complexity 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, and 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 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.

Benefits of the Controlled Fluidics High-Quality Bonding Method

Our engineering team draws on over sixty years of combined engineering experience to deliver superior products quickly. We enable you to complete your project on time, while still delivering the high-quality craftsmanship your component needs to perform. Our bonded manifolds stand out from the crowd, and here’s why:

  • Our bond strength is equivalent to that of the parent material.
  • We can bond injection molded manifold halves.
  • For best flow characteristics and full swept volume, our channel configuration of choice is full round. Alternatively single-sided “D” channels are also possible.
  • We provide close tolerances in full round channels (.015" and above).
  • Our components have limited 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.
  • We have low tooling charges
  • There are few design limitations
  • We offer efficient delivery: 4-6 weeks for prototypes, 8-10 weeks for production
  • Our pricing is always competitive.

THE RIGHT MANIFOLD FOR YOUR PROJECT

Will bonded manifolds work for your next project? Contact us to find out!