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Edge seeks cost and workflow savings to expand appeal of digital x-ray


OEM and installed base sales anchor strategyEdge Medical Devices hopes to convince customers that flat panels don’t require fat wallets. The company, which launched its Quix line of low-cost digital radiography systems at the

OEM and installed base sales anchor strategy

Edge Medical Devices hopes to convince customers that flat panels don’t require fat wallets. The company, which launched its Quix line of low-cost digital radiography systems at the 2000 RSNA meeting, will be back on the show floor this year, armed with an enhanced line of products and letters of intent from prospective OEM partners.

“Our activities the last 12 months have been focused on the development end-image quality issues, production engineering, and line extensions for introduction at the RSNA,” said A. Robert Sohval, president of the Israeli firm, which has an office in Hackensack, NJ.

Edge Medical’s selenium-based SMART (scanned matrix array readout technology) detectors use a proprietary sensor technique to replace the active matrix array technology on competing flat panels (SCAN, 10/11/2000). Edge spent years studying the DR business before making its RSNA debut. Its goal was to create an effective and efficient product that would be within the price range of even relatively small institutions.

“We looked at digital radiography from top to bottom and tried to understand workflow and how the processes are different when you transition from film to digital,” Sohval said. “We wanted to come out with a solution that was comprehensive, not just introduce a digital alternative.”

The company has a two-pronged strategy: partner with OEMs to integrate Edge’s DR detector and bucky technology into new DR systems, and penetrate the installed x-ray system base by offering an upgrade through a network of dealers, distributors, and OEMs. At last year’s RSNA meeting, the company attracted interest from more than 100 OEMs and large and small dealers, both domestic and international, Sohval said.

The company has already executed letters of intent with several potential partners. Edge is also actively corresponding with about 40 dealers who might provide entry into the retrofit business.

“They are just waiting for our rollout,” Sohval said. “The feedback from both OEMs and distributors is ‘just let me know when.’”

The product line includes the QuixDB digital bucky and the Quix100 digital x-ray detector. The first clinical installation of the QuixDB will occur in this month, according to Sohval. The company plans to ship its first units in the first quarter 2002 and expects to move manufacturing in-house within the next year.

“That’s something that nobody else in the flat-panel business could even contemplate doing,” he said.

At the RSNA meeting, Edge will emphasize its newly developed programmable automatic exposure control (AEC), which eliminates the need for rotation when the bucky is adjusted for upright or recumbent exams. The new design replaces the three-field fixed AEC with an array of 400 individual sensors covering the detector surface.

Edge will also introduce a tilting wall stand that accommodates a range of radiographic procedures, an operator console with a small, space-saving footprint, and a grid management system that safeguards the bucky’s antiscatter grid against damage when not in use.

Sohval expects Edge to be kept busy by demand for DR using its proprietary technology, but the company is looking ahead to other applications for its SMART detector. Full-field digital mammography is one potential area, and CT is another.

“As CT goes more volumetric, more multislice, it’s still using discrete components,” he said. “Flat-panel arrays like ours offer potential design and cost advantages for CT. This is future generation, but dialogues are already under way with potential partners.”

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