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How to get the most life out of your MR coldhead

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 17, 2018
MRI
From the September 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


For efficient repairs of these and other parts associated with coldhead technology, Bob Deobil, president of Sumitomo (SHI) Cyrogenics of America, Inc., a division of Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd., said original OEM parts are a must. “It is essential that original OEM parts are used during any service or maintenance, as many replacement parts do not adhere to the same stringent design standards, material specifications and performance of the original parts.”

Alerts and repairs
Magnet pressure, coldhead temperature and heater-duty cycle are just three factors assessed by Southwest Medical Resources’ remote diagnostic unit. A rise in the temperature, an increase in pressure or a reduction in the heater-duty cycle are all transmitted via the cloud to address the problem immediately.

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“We’re able to detect coldhead failures weeks before they happen in some cases,” said Mykleby.

While useful, it is important that providers understand what specific changes and alerts signify so that they can address all issues swiftly and efficiently.

Typical heaters in magnets run, on average, at 30 percent efficiency, with drops in heater-duty cycle signifying that an issue has occurred with the coldhead.

If not addressed right away, these issues can evolve into serious matters, including a quenched magnet, requiring experts to undergo the processes of inspecting and replacing the coldhead and potentially the magnet itself, as well as replace the liquid helium to restore appropriate coldhead temperature and magnet pressure.

The need for thousands of liters of liquid helium adds up in expenses and is even more challenging during periods when its availability is low. Such an ordeal is what motivated Sumitomo to begin developing a new low pressure cooler to reduce the amount of liquid helium needed to restore magnets to their proper temperature.

“We’ve created a system whereby the coolers have some proprietary heat exchangers mounted on them,” said Deobil. “Then we use a helium gas circulating fan to send the gas out to the magnet. The cool helium gas goes out to the magnet and then the warmer gas returns back to our system. You leave it running for a period of time, and magnet temperature gradually drops.”

The mobile solution, which can be wheeled in on a cart, is equipped with a turbopump, ruffing pump, and controls for pumping down and cleaning up the magnet to ensure no impurities exist. It also has thermal control features to oversee the cool-down and warm-up of magnets over as many successive periods as necessary.

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