Having promised and largely delivered cost savings and increased efficiency, vendors of CR and DR are stepping up efforts to smooth the transition to digital, focusing on flexibility and ease of use. System manufacturers are designing products for every segment of the imaging environment from full-scale general radiography suites to point of care, automating the process of image acquisition, and implementing advanced technologies that improve image quality. At the 2005 RSNA meeting, vendors highlighted manageability, displaying systems that can rest on a desktop or move from room to room as well as products that can capture a wide variety of projections with a minimum of manual adjustments.
In addition to the classic x-ray film, hard-copy solutions, RIS/PACS, and speech technology markets, Agfa HealthCare is active in computed radiography. After revamping its product line last year by renaming and upgrading the CR 25.0, 50.0, and 75.0 systems for centralized and decentralized environments, Agfa introduced this year the DX-S for point-of-care CR in general radiology, pediatrics, and the emergency department. DX-S makes use of DirectiX needle-based detector technology to create a crystal matrix that reduces light spread in the scintillator layer, thereby minimizing scatter and sharpening sharp images. DX-S also employs line-to-line Scanhead technology, which accelerates throughput.
Privately held Alara, which produces dental, medical, and nondestructive testing systems, moved into CR two years ago with the launch of its CRystalView compact CR system. The desktop system was cleared by the FDA in October 2003.
After introducing the SyneRad MULTI freestanding single selenium detector system in 2004, Anexa followed with the SyneRad OMNI/OMNI RT in 2005. A DR system with a selenium-based detector, SyneRad OMNI is available as a freestanding single detector for the emergency department or as a dual detector with a fixed table.
Sporting the imageANYWARE tagline, Canon Medical Systems offers a full range of wall/upright, table, and portable amorphous silicon flat-panel digital radiography systems, including the light and compact CXDI-31 and the portable CXDI-50G with a large (14 x 17-inch) image area as well as the CXDI-40G and CXDI-40C general radiography systems.
The provider of DirectView DR systems since 2000, Eastman Kodak showed the newest additions to its cesium iodide line of flat-panel detector systems. The company also displayed accessories to its DirectView CR systems and upgrades to the portfolio of point-of-care CR products it acquired from Orex Computed Radiography in early 2005.
Owned by a consortium of Italian industrialists, Ferrania Technologies produces a family of DR products that use the 43 x 43-cm Trixell Pixium 4600 flat panel. The LifeInVision DR systems are capable of configuring themselves for different examinations and provide an image within three seconds.
Not content to rely on the same storage phosphor detector technology it has been using in its DR systems since 2001, Fujifilm Medical Systems has introduced a new technology known as Focused Phosphor to increase the detective quantum efficiency (DQE) and image clarity of its detector. Fuji also has released three new CR readers.
Built on a foundation of flat-panel detector technology using amorphous silicon, GE's new Definium 8000 DR system features such advanced clinical applications as Auto Image Paste and Volume RAD. Auto Image Paste automatically acquires and processes as many as five images of anatomic structures that do not fit in the span of a traditional detector - the spine and legs - without any visible seams. Volume Rad acquires a series of low-dose projection images in a single sweep of the x-ray tube over a limited angle to produce high-resolution slice images that can be viewed on a workstation.
Specializing exclusively in DR, Imaging Dynamics is building on its core series of products that rely on patented passive trigger technology. By activating a CCD detector without requiring a generator interface, passive trigger technology allows users to create their own customized systems in their existing technologic environment. Additions to the IDC family of products, which range from the Xplorer 1500 upright DR system and 1600 U-arm motorized unit to the 1800 multipurpose machine, include a dual-detector inpatient system and a dedicated orthopedic scanner.
With first half profits up 18% and revenues up 22% over the same period last year, InfiMed continued on a growth path that began in 2003. The sales spurt has been fueled by increases in OEM sales, as well as direct sales of the StingRay Excel and PlatinumOne product lines.
Konica Minolta launched the Regius 370 CR system at the 2005 RSNA meeting. The detector, based on cesium bromide, sharpens images by creating a straightforward path for x-ray energy utilization.
Since introducing the DigitalDiagnost line in 1999, Philips Medical Systems has released a succession of DR systems built around flat-panel detectors. Early in 2005, the company unveiled the DigitalDiagnost Compact multipurpose unit. The company also launched the PCR Eleva family of CR systems.
Focusing on ergonomics, Quantum Medical Imaging has developed the QV-800 Digital Universe, which keeps the x-ray tube in constant alignment during C-arm rotation. The company also has added a motorized servo-drive feature to its Q-Rad systems.
Armed with an FDA clearance for its CR Pro, which was granted just before the RSNA meeting, Radlink is poised to bring its line of low-cost CR systems to radiology groups, diagnostic imaging centers, hospitals, and health clinics that cannot afford to purchase high-end imaging technology.
Incorporating a wide-view 17-inch direct conversion flat-panel detector, Shimadzu's RADSpeed Safire can produce 17 x 17-inch images with a resolution of 150 microns to capture large areas on maximum size film, including high-definition images of the full abdomen and wide area views for orthopedics. The company also showed its portable x-ray MobileDaRt system, featuring a 14 x 17-inch flat-panel detector.
To its flagship Axiom Aristos FX DR system, Siemens has added a series of enhancements to improve workflow and patient throughput. The company also expanded the Axiom Multix M DR system by including advanced applications in orthopedics and trauma.
A pioneer in digital radiography, Swissray is broadening its options for users by offering a choice between silicon flat-panel and quad CCD technologies. The company has incorporated amorphous silicon-based technology as an option for buyers of its ddRCombi Trauma system, as well as the new ddRFormula line. The FP-5000 flat-panel detector provides 3.5 line pair/mm spatial resolution at a low radiation dose because of its 70% DQE.
Strengthening its long-time association with Canon DR products, Toshiba America Medical Systems last year released the T.Rad Plus product line. Available in single- or dual-panel configurations with amorphous silicon detectors from Canon, T.Rad Plus has a 17 x 17-inch DR panel and flexible design. This year, Toshiba unveiled a new room configuration for the T.Rad Plus DR system with an adjustable table.