GE scanners at ECR showfeature international focus

March 15, 1995

Signa Contour and Sytec Synergy make their debut GE Medical Systems demonstrated its emphasis on the internationalmarket with two new scanner introductions at last week's EuropeanCongress of Radiology meeting in Vienna. GE debuted Signa

Signa Contour and Sytec Synergy make their debut

GE Medical Systems demonstrated its emphasis on the internationalmarket with two new scanner introductions at last week's EuropeanCongress of Radiology meeting in Vienna. GE debuted Signa Contour,a 0.5-tesla MRI scanner, and Sytec Synergy, a CT scanner for thebudget price point.

Executives from GE's European subsidiary discussed the newproducts at a press conference that emphasized the growing importanceof systems sales outside the vendor's core U.S. market. In 1992,North and South America accounted for 46% of GE's sales, withEurope (including the Middle East and Africa) contributing 27%and Asia also contributing 27%.

Two years later, Europe and Asia are showing signs of catchingup with the Americas. North and South America's share last yeardeclined to 36.8%, while Europe's rose to 31.3% and Asia's climbedto 31.9%.

It makes sense, then, that the ECR should be the scene of GE'sintroduction of two new scanners aimed at the growing internationalmarket, according to Francis Bailly, vice president of sales inEurope.

"You tend to address those markets that are growing,"Bailly told SCAN. "Asia and Europe are becoming more important."

Signa Contour's origins are quintessentially global. Work onthe scanner was divided between GE's Milwaukee headquarters, itsYMS subsidiary in Japan and its European subsidiary in Buc, France.Each location handled development of different subsystems, accordingto Bengt Nielsen, MR marketing manager.

Contour is a superconducting magnet that is intended to unifyGE's 0.5-tesla lineup, which includes Vectra, Signa AdvantageRP and the discontinued MR Max. With Contour, GE will offer thefeatures and versatility of a high-field system with the cost-effectivenessof a 0.5-tesla magnet. The scanner will support all of GE's advancedscanning sequences, including echo-planar imaging, Nielsen said.

"None of the (0.5-tesla) products we've had offer allthose features at the same time," he said. "This iswhat Contour does."

Users of all three of GE's previous 0.5-tesla systems can upgradeto Contour through GE's Continuum upgrade program. Contour canbe installed in 35 square meters, weighs less than 3 tons andhas a 60-cm magnet bore. It has 15-millitesla-per-meter gradientsand a 17-millitesla-per-meter-per-millisecond slew rate. Its magnetrequires only one cryogen refill a year.

GE plans to begin production shipments of Contour in the fourthquarter of 1995. The system has regulatory approval in Europe;Food and Drug Administration clearance is pending in the U.S.;and the system was shown as a work-in-progress in Vienna.

Like Contour, Sytec Synergy was displayed for the first timeat the ECR meeting. It is a non-helical two-second scanner, capableof both acquisition and reconstruction at the same time, accordingto Stefano Valiani, director of marketing. Reconstruction timeis nine seconds. Synergy features a 2-million-heat-unit x-raytube with a 19.2-kW generator. The system, to be targeted at theinternational market, will be available in the third quarter of1995.