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Continental to bring Imix detectors to market


Continental to bring Imix detectors to marketCCD detectors will be incorporated into Continental x-ray systems Add another company to the growing list of firms with digital x-ray systems about to hit the U.S. market. The Continental

Continental to bring Imix detectors to market

CCD detectors will be incorporated into Continental x-ray systems

Add another company to the growing list of firms with digital x-ray systems about to hit the U.S. market. The Continental division of Trex Medical has signed an exclusive agreement with Advanced Instrument Development X-Ray of Melrose Park, IL, that will allow Continental to incorporate AID's Imix 4000M digital chest detectors into Continental x-ray systems.

Continental of Broadview, IL, pursued the agreement because the growing implementation of PACS technology is driving demand for digital x-ray systems that can get digital data into networks more elegantly than existing solutions on the market, according to Patrick Fitzgerald, president of Continental. Continental manufactures a broad line of x-ray products, including dedicated chest systems, radiography-fluoroscopy units, and general purpose systems into which Imix 4000M will be integrated.

AID has U.S. distribution rights to the Imix 4000M detectors, thanks to its agreement with the system's manufacturer, Imix of Tampere, Finland. The detector's CCD technology and European origins invite comparisons with Swissray International of Hitzkirch, Switzerland, which began selling its AddOn-Multi-System earlier this year.

Imix 4000M differs from the Swissray unit in that it is not a complete system, but rather consists of the detector, electronics, and workstation software required to digitize x-rays. Potential users still need the other components required for collecting x-ray studies, such as the x-ray source, generator, tube stand.

Which is where Continental comes in. The Imix detectors can be adapted readily to the company's systems, with the detector sold as an option on new systems under the brand name Trex 4000M. New Continental units with the detectors will range in price from $250,000 to $450,000, depending on configuration. AID has already received 510(k) clearance for the detectors (PNN 5/98).

Continental was attracted to the Imix detectors because of their high image quality, according to Fitzgerald, as well as their support for the DICOM 3.0 standard. The detectors employ a 40 x 40-cm field of view, with images displayed in a 2K x 2K matrix with resolution of 2.5 line pairs/mm. Continental has also added an interface to enable data to be exchanged between a detector and a hospital's HIS/RIS.

One of the advantages of the detectors is that they contain no dead pixels, a phenomenon that Continental claims is found on some other digital detector units on the market. These systems must use computer software to compensate for the dead pixels, according to Fitzgerald. The Imix detectors also use CCDs manufactured to military rather than commercial specifications, which results in better image quality and reliability, Continental believes.

Continental has received deliveries of the first Imix detectors, which are manufactured by AID using components shipped from Imix. The detectors will be integrated into Continental's x-ray systems at the division's headquarters, with the company ready to begin installations some time this month, Fitzgerald said. Trex also displayed the detector at its booth in the American Healthcare Radiology Administrators meeting in Las Vegas last month.

In addition to selling the detector as an option on new systems, Continental will offer Trex 4000M as a retrofit to newer Continental x-ray systems installed in the field. Continental will gain two benefits by adding the detectors to its systems: Products with the detectors will now support digital imaging, but will also become capable of chest imaging as well, making the systems more versatile, Fitzgerald said.

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