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The rise of liquid metal bearing X-ray tubes

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | August 16, 2021
Parts And Service
From the August 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

That sentiment, regarding the need for both LMB tubes and ball bearing tubes, is something the industry seems to widely agree upon. It isn’t a case of one-size-fits-all or one technology completely replacing another.

“LMB provides a very smooth and quiet rotation of the anode, longer running time than the conventional bearing and additional cooling of the anode,” said Jerald L. Olsen, vice president of sales and business development at Richardson Healthcare. “While it has many advantages for the higher market-tier tubes, those advantages come at a price that may make this type of bearing cost prohibitive for lower-tier market tubes.”

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Richardson Healthcare will be launching its ALTA750G X-ray tube in the fall of 2021. This tube is a form, fit and function replacement for the CXB-750G and is compatible with the Canon Prime, Prime II and Prime SP systems.

Remote monitoring during the pandemic
"CT, specifically, has had quite a lot of use in COVID-19 cases," said ECRI’s Launders. "It’s a high-value imaging device for the lungs and data is still coming out showing just how good it was at identifying patients and determining the best management for them."

Since CT systems were used more during the pandemic, reducing downtime was more important than ever. GE saw a greater interest in its OnWatch and Tube Watch remote monitoring services.

"We saw a lot of activity around remote monitoring and predictive service during COVID times," said Goryl. "There was a lot of focus on who's in the healthcare setting."

Tube Watch leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning and software analytics to remotely monitor tube health and predict a potential failure. If there is an issue, a GE engineer can remotely run a comprehensive assessment and come in for on-site maintenance if needed.

"Across our industry, there are a lot of efforts and activities around ‘work anywhere’," said Goryl. "They're working remotely and traveling, and it’s more of a distributed workforce. This technology can better enable them with information on how to prioritize their time with systems, where they need to go to work, and what they have to address."

A focus on value going forward
When asked how X-ray tubes and service will evolve over the next decade, most experts agree that lowering costs will be a primary focus. This is largely due to the major cost pressure situation in the healthcare market.

“It will be more and more important to manage cost while maintaining value,” said Dunlee’s Pieper. “On one side we have increased patient demand and on the other side there is the continuing staff shortage.”

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