Sterling develops dry printer in collaboration with Tektronix

November 20, 1996

New system can print on multiple film sizesSterling Diagnostic Imaging last week announced the developmentof a new dry-process printer that it plans to market in additionto dry laser printers it will access through its purchase of theHelios

New system can print on multiple film sizes

Sterling Diagnostic Imaging last week announced the developmentof a new dry-process printer that it plans to market in additionto dry laser printers it will access through its purchase of theHelios assets of Polaroid. Sterling, of Glasgow, DE, is developingthe new printer in collaboration with Tektronix of Wilsonville,OR, which markets printers in the office, graphics, and printingand publishing markets.

In announcing its Helios acquisition last month, Sterling saidit is developing a non-laser dry-process printer that will occupya price point below that of Helios (SCAN 11/6/96). According toSterling COO Ernest Waaser, the new printer uses ink-jet technologydeveloped by Tektronix that has been improved and enhanced forthe medical imaging market, in cooperation with Sterling.

"The work we've done has been aimed at optimizing theequipment, the ink formulation, and the media in a way that providesa smaller (ink) droplet in a more precise fashion," Waasersaid.

A major selling point of the printer, which has not yet receiveda commercial name, will be its versatility: It will be capableof printing in a variety of film sizes, from 14 x 17 to smallersizes, much the same way an office copier can copy on differentsizes of paper. Unlike most laser printers, which are limitedto a single format, it will also be capable of producing eithertransparencies for radiologists or paper prints for referringphysicians.

"This system provides an extreme amount of flexibilityand convenience," Waaser said.

The printer's throughput will be similar to that of Helios,Waaser said, which is about 30 14 x 17 prints an hour.

Sterling has not yet released data on the printer's resolution,but it will produce diagnostic-quality prints, according to Waaser.It will occupy the low end of Sterling's printer product range,with Helios at the top and a new Helios-based laser printer, tobe debuted next year, in the middle.

Sterling will display prototypes of the Tektronix printer atnext month's Radiological Society of North America meeting, andplans to begin commercial shipments in the third quarter of 1997.