Agfa offers high-speed film line

October 23, 1991

Agfa showed new high-speed medical imaging film and film-processingtechnology at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna lastmonth. The Curix Ortho HT (for high throughput) film and HT processoroffer a 38-second processing time, down from 90-second

Agfa showed new high-speed medical imaging film and film-processingtechnology at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna lastmonth. The Curix Ortho HT (for high throughput) film and HT processoroffer a 38-second processing time, down from 90-second processingwith the vendor's existing technology, said Henri Primo, marketingmanager for diagnostic imaging systems.

Medical film vendors have been developing fast-processing filmsfor several years. Konica was the first to introduce a 45-secondfilm in 1987 (SCAN 6/6/90). Agfa also introduced a sophisticateddaylight processing system, the Curix Capacity Plus, which canbe used in conjunction with HT fast processing.

Agfa doubled the number of film magazines in its daylightsystem and developed robotic technology to handle a more complexworkload.

"You could never build a system with 10 magazines ascompact as the Capacity Plus if you didn't use advanced robottechnology," Primo said.

While daylight processing systems have been accepted morerapidly in Europe, they are growing in popularity in the U.S.,he said.

"U.S. (users) are convinced now that they must get outof the darkroom. It just took a little longer for them to findthat out," Primo said.

Agfa will first install HT processors in high-volume sites,such as large radiology departments, where they are needed tokeep up with rapid patient throughput. The HT processing systemcan function with standard films and films supplied by other vendors,he said.

Curix HT film uses a special split-emulsion-layer (SEL) technologythat offers additional diagnostic advantages beyond speed, Primosaid.

"SEL makes it possible for us to manufacture film adaptedto specific anatomical regions. Spatial and contrast resolutionas well as sensitivity (directly related to film speed) can beadapted to provide optimum imaging for any application,"he said.

Although the HT processor can work with standard films, high-speedprocessing is required to use the SEL film technology, he said.

Agfa is also developing picture archiving and communicationssystems technology, which it showed at the ECR meeting as a works-in-progresssystem targeting ultrasound applications. The modular Impax sub-PACsystem uses multiple optical-disk jukeboxes to form a decentralizedarchival network. Laser and CRT multiformat cameras provide hardcopy for diagnosis and for sending images outside the department.

Images are ported directly from fixed scanners or transferredvia removable disk from mobile units, he said.

Agfa's strategy of combining the strengths of film--its usefor diagnosis and convenient image handling--with the power ofelectronic image storage and transmission is a response to clinicalneeds rather than an attempt to dictate technology from on high,Primo said.

"Ten years of experience with PAC systems clearly provedthat top-down approaches are not valid," he said.