Acuson expands line with less expensive unit

February 27, 1991

Acuson will introduce a relatively inexpensive ultrasound scannersans color-flow Doppler at the American Institute of Ultrasoundin Medicine meeting in Atlanta this week. The move does not signalAcuson's intention to become a mid- and low-tier ultrasound

Acuson will introduce a relatively inexpensive ultrasound scannersans color-flow Doppler at the American Institute of Ultrasoundin Medicine meeting in Atlanta this week. The move does not signalAcuson's intention to become a mid- and low-tier ultrasound manufacturer,however, according to Clay Larsen, radiology marketing manager.

"We see an increasing need for high-performance, black-and-white-onlysystems in the marketplace. We have heard this from our customersand are filling a market need that is out there," he toldSCAN. "If this expands our opportunities into other markets--sayperinatology or obstetrics--that is an upside opportunity. Certainly,this is not a mid-range, office-type system."

The 128 XP3 will sell in the range of $90,000 to $120,000,compared to the XP10, which hovers around $200,000. Acuson maintainedwhen the XP system was released in July that it is more configurablethan the vendor's previous platform. System configurability allowsfor the introduction of a variety of scanner mainframes basedon the same basic 128-channel platform, he said.

"It (the XP) has increased our ability to react wherewe see demands in the marketplace--and not only upward,"Larsen said. "It is still a premium-performance system, butit is for people who want high performance but can't justify theextra cost for color and other options."

The XP3 does not include vector-array technology that was introducedwith the XP10. It does have sector scanning, however, he said.

The primary use of the XP3 is expected to be as a second systemfor radiology departments in need of extra capacity.

"Instead of buying a different system than the one theirsonographers are familiar with, many Acuson customers would appreciatehaving the Acuson performance (in a lower cost second scanner).They can also share transducers between systems," Larsensaid.

It is also likely that obstetricians, urologists and otherprivate-practice physicians may seize the opportunity to buy ahospital-grade ultrasound system for less money. Many privateoffices, pressed by competition for referrals, would like to owna higher performance scanner but can't justify an $80,000 pricedifferential, he said.

"The desire for hospital-grade equipment has always beenthere, but now it is going to be somewhat more within the reachof private offices," Larsen said.

Expanding into mid-tier scanners might help Acuson competeagainst competitors such as Toshiba, particularly in internationalmarkets. The high-end ultrasound leader wants to keep its qualityreputation, however.

"There is still tremendous growth opportunity in the hospital-grade,premium-performance line of equipment, both in the U.S. and internationally,"Larsen said.