Aycan promotes paper as alternative to film

February 6, 2006

Aycan would like to make paper the medium of choice for communicating images between radiologists and referring physicians. The company proposed at the 2005 RSNA meeting a high-resolution print solution, the Deluxe, a product built around a high-quality Xerox paper printer and its own proprietary algorithms.

Aycan would like to make paper the medium of choice for communicating images between radiologists and referring physicians. The company proposed at the 2005 RSNA meeting a high-resolution print solution, the Deluxe, a product built around a high-quality Xerox paper printer and its own proprietary algorithms.

The Xerox DocuColor 240 delivers near-diagnostic-quality images, according to Frank Burkhardt, Aycan's director of U.S. operations, generating resolution up to 2400 x 2400 dots per inch. The turnkey system, including print server, printer, and software, runs $34,000, about the same as a high-quality conventional film printer.

But Aycan is not competing on capital expenditures, Burkhardt said.

"Our claim is that we can help customers reduce their hard-copy imaging costs by 90%," he said.

Film images typically cost about $1.50 a sheet, he said. Black-and-white paper prints run about 5¢. This includes the cost of paper, toner, and onsite service. A facility printing 4000 images per month can plan on paying $6000 if those images are printed on film. Black-and-white paper prints would run only a small fraction of that - about $200 - producing a net savings of well over $5000.

Color prints run a bit more but still cost only about 10¢ to 12¢ per print, Burkhardt said.

Aycan is positioning its Deluxe paper system as a low-cost alternative to film for traditional as well as PACS workflows. The print server, which is based on Linux, translates DICOM into PostScript files. Because the software is DICOM-compatible, the system can hook up to virtually any modern digital imaging modality, workstation, or network.

Aycan launched its paper system in the weeks just prior to the RSNA meeting. It is using U.S. resellers that Burkhardt describes as "well established in the medical community, with the necessary contacts."

Among these is Xerox itself, which Burkhardt said has a large sales force whose contacts at hospitals buy printing and copying equipment or services from Xerox.

It's too early for Aycan to tell how its product will fare in the marketplace. But Burkhardt is optimistic.

"It's a new technology," he said. "We need to prove to the customer that this is the right way to go."