By Matt Tomory
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.”Robert Frost
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.”
As I reflect on the synergy of our FDA registered Ultrasound Manufacturing and Engineering Center of Excellence in Colorado and our Ultrasound Repair Center of Excellence in Oklahoma, the inspiring phrase above from Robert Frost comes to mind. Years ago, our founders paved a new path for probe repair and manufacturing by developing technology and processes no one had heard of before, let alone applied. Many in the industry then, and today, don’t understand the full rationale behind all the testing, processes and instruments we use to produce world-class ultrasound probe repairs which perform as the OEM intended and are designed for maximum longevity and ROI.
However, as I’ve further developed and refined my knowledge of probe repair processes that increase sustainability while lowering cost of ownership, I’ve come to realize that the technology journey we take for repairs as a result of the tandem efforts by our manufacturing and repair facilities is what leads to the ultimate goal imaging professionals seek – reliable, sustainable and affordable repairs. When vetting out partners to repair and maintain your valuable probe inventories, its important to know how manufacturing and repair facilities work in tandem to inform one another and produce processes that deliver the performance and ROI needed for you to deliver safe and effective patient care.
Consider the following:As a transducer manufacturer, we utilize very sophisticated instruments for the design, manufacturing, and verifications and validations of finished ultrasound transducers and transducer arrays. The majority of these instruments and processes are applied to engineering and implementing solutions for probe repair.
Let’s discuss just a few of the devices we use for both repair and manufacturing.
Acoustic Intensity Measurement System
The first device is an Acoustic Intensity Measurement System. This device allows us to map acoustic fields, measure acoustic power, focal areas and a host of other acoustic measurements to ensure a transducer or transducer array performs as intended. This helps to assure proper function, accuracy and safety for patients.
Pulse Echo Tester
When an array is manufactured, we test every element to ensure it is performing as intended in the Design History File using a custom designed and manufactured Pulse Echo Tester. This robotic device pulses each element which is then measured by a hydrophone also designed and built by Innovatus Imaging engineers. This ensures consistency and accuracy across the entire aperture of the array.
Tic-Toc Cable Stress Tester
When we think of cables, we typically believe they are just a conduit for signals or voltages and current but have you ever thought about the complexity of an ultrasound cable? There are many variables to consider including characteristic impedance, resistance, capacitance, materials and even length, diameter and jacket color. Once you have engineered a cable, you need to ensure it will perform as intended mechanically. We stress test our cables, cable jackets and strain reliefs to ensure performance and longevity using yet another custom designed and manufactured device we affectionately call Tic-Toc. This machine oscillates a probe 180 degrees while twisting the cable 90 degrees in opposite directions and counts each cycle. This allows us to verify and quantify the durability of our materials and assemblies.
Where does this path of technology and engineering lead next? To our state-of-the-art repair center in Tulsa, Oklahoma where thousands of customers’ probes per year are repaired and returned for years of additional patient service.
Beyond the technology featured above, Innovatus Imaging continues to choose the road less traveled through ongoing research and testing to develop new technologies that also will make a positive difference for the quality and longevity of probe repair. I personally invite you take an Innovatus Imaging “Technology Journey” tour through video or in person to see more of what’s behind the repairs we perform that are proven to extend the life of the transducers we service.
Matt Tomory is the Vice President of Ultrasound Center of Excellence for Innovatus Imaging. Contact Matt directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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