Siemens shows R&D depth with new releases

November 23, 1994

The market depth of Siemens Medical Systems is evidencedby the number of new systems the vendor will unveil in modalities from nuclear medicine to CT to ultrasound. In nuclear medicine, Siemens will soon implement a new modular strategy that allows

The market depth of Siemens Medical Systems is evidencedby the number of new systems the vendor will unveil in modalities from nuclear medicine to CT to ultrasound.

In nuclear medicine, Siemens will soon implement a new modular strategy that allows customers to buy gamma cameras separately from image processing computers. Siemens is making the move in an effort to reduce costs and improve flexibility for customers, according to Bob Lytle, vice president of marketing for Siemens Nuclear Medicine Group in Hoffman Estates, IL. A modularized version of the single-head Diacam and dual-head MultiSPECT 2 should be shipping by the end of March, with a modular MultiSPECT 3 available next summer.

Gamma cameras purchased without computers will be compatible with nuclear medicine networks that use the DICOM 3.0 standard and thus can communicate with any vendor's workstation, Lytle said. The only computer power accompanying gamma cameras bought individually will be supplied by the new Unix-based Siemens nuclear acquisition controller (SNAC). Gamma cameras will continue to be offered in an integrated configuration with the vendor's Macintosh-based Icon workstation.

Siemens will also debut Phoenix, a new Unix-based image processing workstation that fits the vendor's modular marketing approach. Phoenix will complement Icon workstations and is also DICOM 3.0-compatible. Its features include knowledge-based boundary detection and teleconferencing.

A modular product line is not all Siemens has up its corporate sleeve in nuclear medicine. The company also plans to unveil digital detectors for the modular configurations of the Diacam and MultiSPECT products. The new detectors are the first products to emerge from an R&D program that will be generating new technologies for at least three to five years as Siemens strives to regain market share, Lytle said.

In CT, Siemens will unveil Somatom Plus 4, the vendor's first mechanical CT scanner capable of subsecond imaging, according to Peter Bertsch, group manager of worldwide CT operations. Somatom Plus 4 is a spiral scanner that will be offered in three configurations, differentiated by their scan speeds, generator output and size of volume acquisitions. The scanner has received 510(k) clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. Siemens will also show Evolution XP, an upgrade for its electron-beam tomography scanner that offers a three-fold increase in acquisition and processing speed.

At the Siemens Ultrasound exhibit, visitors will get their first look at Sonoline Versa. Priced at under $100,000, the new color-flow system fills a mid-tier niche complementing Siemens' high-end Q2000 system. FDA 510(k) marketing clearance for Sonoline Versa is pending.

Sonoline Versa is the first diagnostic ultrasound platform developed by Siemens since moving its ultrasound world headquarters to Issaquah, WA, in 1991 (SCAN 8/28/91). Application-specific integrated circuits that are also used in high-performance systems under development at Siemens help optimize image quality on Sonoline Versa, according to Lothar Koob, ultrasound group vice president.

Sonoline Versa was designed mainly for sale in Europe and in cost-sensitive markets outside the U.S., Koob said. It employs existing Siemens transducer technology including transvaginal and transrectal probes for general radiologic and ob/gyn applications.