Marconi opts out of conventional x-ray supply business

September 27, 2000

Marconi Medical Systems, a pioneering x-ray company operating until last year as Picker International, has discontinued all of its general radiographic product offerings and will for the first time not be showing x-ray products at November’s RSNA

Marconi Medical Systems, a pioneering x-ray company operating until last year as Picker International, has discontinued all of its general radiographic product offerings and will for the first time not be showing x-ray products at November’s RSNA meeting.

The company ceased manufacturing radiography products five years ago, according to Rob Spademan, Marconi’s director of communications. Marconi gave the news to its x-ray equipment suppliers last March, according to Del Medical of Deer Park, NY, one of Marconi’s system vendors.

Marconi, while it was still Picker, decided to focus its scarce R&D resources on more advanced medical imaging modalities such as CT and MRI, Spademan said. Marconi is not alone in this move away from x-ray, which doesn’t generate the income of the more sophisticated hardware.

“The x-ray business is a commodity market and our competitors really all have the same approach,” Spademan said.

Other multimodality vendors also provide their low-end x-ray equipment largely through outside suppliers.

Picker continued to offer x-ray products to customers seeking one-stop shopping by purchasing from outside suppliers when items were requested, Spademan said. Marconi’s decision this year was to take these products off of its price list and focus on the higher end equipment that it designs and manufacturers.

“We stopped making product five years ago,” Spademan said. “But there are still people who want to buy from one place, so we took vended products. Our decision was based on making money, and it’s not an attractive market to be in.”

Marconi PLC, the U.K. parent of Marconi Medical Systems, has been buying information technology companies “almost daily,” according to Spademan. Last May it purchased U.S.-based Systems Management Specialists, a data center and IT outsourcing provider, and recently the company increased its equity stake in California-based Internet security firm Xcert.

(Systems Management Specialists is not to be confused with Siemens’ recent acquisition, Shared Medical Systems, a provider of healthcare information systems and networking services. Both companies are often referred to as “SMS.”)

“Our thrust is to take the best of both worlds—hardware and IT—that are becoming so critical to the healthcare systems of tomorrow,” Spademan said.

Del Medical, formerly Gendex Medical, will make use of the Marconi x-ray switch to provide its first high-end radiology equipment focused on hospital customers, said Scott Loehrke, Del vice president of sales and marketing. Del’s RadView radiology system will be a highlight for the company at this year’s RSNA show.

The basic technology behind RadView had originally been developed for Marconi and was to have been supplied on an OEM basis to the vendor, Loehrke said.

“This product was brought to them (Picker) about 18 months ago,” Loehrke told SCAN. “Picker was in the process of (readying the product) when they decided they weren’t going to launch it. We have decided to do a full product launch and introduction of RadView this year as a Del Medical Systems Group product.”