Plain vanilla vies with tailor-made versionsLongtime OEM supplier Analogic has begun producing a digital ultrasound engine for niche providers of ultrasound and other clinical services and products. OEMs add transducers,
Plain vanilla vies with tailor-made versions
Longtime OEM supplier Analogic has begun producing a digital ultrasound engine for niche providers of ultrasound and other clinical services and products. OEMs add transducers, application software, and other components to the engine to make an end-user product.
The AN2300 provides the features and image quality needed to support clinical applications such as cardiology, general radiology, or breast and small parts imaging. Key features include parallel beam processing; beam steering; spectral, color flow, or power Doppler; and line-interleaved duplex or triplex combination modes. The use of industry-standard PC platforms allows customers to take advantage of continuing increases in PC processing power.
Depending on configuration and the number of systems purchased, the AN2300 sells for between $23,000 and $30,000. Analogic began producing the system in January, just a little over a month after it was shown as a work-in-progress at the RSNA meeting.
Axel Wirth, manager of sales and marketing for the Peabody, MA, company's OEM ultrasound systems division, described the AN2300 as the key building block for an upper midrange ultrasound system. Customers can purchase the engine and configure it as they want, or they can buy the AN2300 customized to fit their individual needs. About half of Analogic's customers are expected to complete systems built around the AN2300 by themselves, said Wirth, who declined to provide sales projections for the engine.
"We're talking about specialty companies that work in some interventional or therapeutic clinical discipline," he said. "They are not necessarily the larger imaging companies. Some of them have no background in ultrasound imaging, but they need ultrasound as an enabling technology."
Many evolving interventional and therapeutic procedures rely heavily on ultrasound imaging as a driving technology, and developers may have limited experience using ultrasound. Other potential customers include those who perform limited clinical applications using ultrasound or who use the modality in a small geographic region, Wirth said. To them, it's more cost-effective to buy the engine and configure it themselves than to buy or develop a complete digital system with all the bells and whistles in place.
When the final system is assembled, OEMs submit the paperwork to regulatory agencies, such as the FDA, to allow sales and marketing. Although Analogic does not get directly involved in the clearance process, its staff supports the regulatory efforts of OEM customers, Wirth said.
Analogic is making the rounds at medical conferences and trade shows, hoping to drum up demand for the AN2300. Other marketing efforts include targeted mailings, magazine advertising, and direct customer contact. The primary customer group includes medical specialty companies, many of which sell diagnostic, therapeutic, and interventional devices. Analogic is not looking for an exclusive supply agreement with any one company.
"Since we provide the engine and customers finalize the end-user system, there's enough room for them to distinguish themselves from other companies that may buy the same engine from us," Wirth said.