Philips Ultrasound tagged for growth as unique technology comes on line

June 19, 1991

The status of medical imaging within NV Philips and ultrasoundwithin Philips Medical Systems received major fortification lastweek. The Dutch electronics conglomerate reported plans for amultimillion-dollar expansion program at Philips Ultrasound inthe

The status of medical imaging within NV Philips and ultrasoundwithin Philips Medical Systems received major fortification lastweek. The Dutch electronics conglomerate reported plans for amultimillion-dollar expansion program at Philips Ultrasound inthe U.S.

"There were several statements made (by the plans forexpansion)," said Thomas E. Bird, general manager of PhilipsUltrasound. "One is that medical imaging itself is of primaryimportance to Philips. The other is that, within medical imaging,there are major opportunities in ultrasound."

Under the corporate growth plan, staff at Philips Ultrasoundworld headquarters in Santa Ana, CA, will more than double--from400 to 900--in three years. This growth comes in the midst ofa general restructuring effort, with NV Philips cutting its globalwork force of 285,000 by as many as 50,000.

Philips' investment in ultrasound may put to rest speculationthat PMS was in danger of being sold off by its parent as a non-corebusiness. NV Philips is not only downsizing, it is also redistributingassets to support major strategic business opportunities, oneof which is ultrasound, Bird said. Funds for the expansion effortwill come out of the positive cash flow generated by PMS overall,he noted.

"We view the ultrasound market as the primary growth opportunityin medical imaging over the next decade," Bird told SCAN.That market is expected to build from a current worldwide levelof $2 billion to $3.5 billion by 1994, he said.

Philips has not been a major player in the ultrasound fieldin past years, but is poised for growth as clinical results comein for several ultrasound innovations, including color-velocityimaging, blood-flow-volume quantification, and three-dimensionalultrasound (SCAN 2/27/91). More technology is in the pipeline,Bird said.

"You have only seen the tip of the iceberg for our technology.We have a number of other developments that will follow what weare doing with (CVI) color," he said.

The ultrasound staff in Santa Ana will be expanded to handleadditional research, engineering, marketing and manufacturingfunctions. Philips Ultrasound is also supported by a worldwidenetwork of corporate research laboratories and direct, dedicatedultrasound sales personnel in some 50 countries, Bird said.

Bird has beefed up his management team over the past two years,with the goal of duplicating the entrepreneurial zeal of someof Philips' independent ultrasound competitors. That effort willcontinue, he said.

"Everything will be the same, just more massive,"he said.