Dunlee broadens product line to include metal x-ray tubes

November 22, 2000

By Greg FreiherrIn a bid to broaden its customer base, x-ray tube maker Dunlee has expanded its product line to include metal tubes.About 75% of Dunlee tubes are sold to Marconi Medical Systems, of which Dunlee is a division. The M series metal tubes now

By Greg Freiherr

In a bid to broaden its customer base, x-ray tube maker Dunlee has expanded its product line to include metal tubes.

About 75% of Dunlee tubes are sold to Marconi Medical Systems, of which Dunlee is a division. The M series metal tubes now in production are compatible not only with Marconi CT scanners but also with those made by Shimadzu and Toshiba. In the months ahead, the company plans to expand the compatibility of its M series to CT scanners from other vendors, said Patrick Fitzgerald, general manager of Dunlee.

Dunlee has traditionally sold replacement tubes for a variety of scanners, including those manufactured by GE and Siemens. Sales had always centered on glass x-ray tubes.

These tubes must handle intense heat to support long scan times and must be able to stand up to the centrifugal force generated during subsecond scanning. The M Series metal tubes are designed to withstand high G-forces and extensive heating, Fitzgerald said. The design‹built around a novel focusing cap and the use of off-focus radiation receptors‹improves image resolution, according to the company. Tube vibration and noise are reduced through the use of improved getter and bearing designs.

Metal tubes are new to Dunlee but not to other x-ray tube makers. Varian has provided this type of technology for years, selling metal tubes to OEMs for use in Toshiba, Shimadzu, and Philips scanners. GE, Marconi, and Siemens have also begun building or supplying metal tubes for use in their CT scanners, thus broadening the market for metal replacement tubes, Fitzgerald said.

Dunlee's M series products are "drop-ins," which means that CT scanners do not have to be modified to use the tubes, he said. Primary customers for these products will be independent service organizations and multivendor service companies, as well as hospitals that have in-house maintenance programs for servicing their CT scanners.

By adapting technology developed for Marconi, Dunlee creates products that can be sold for use across multiple scanner lines, said David Kuehn, the company's director of marketing and sales. The M series of metal tubes is just the latest example of that strategy, he said. While lower price is a big part of the equation, Dunlee hopes to win some customers on the basis of engineering quality.