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Siemens opens new U.S. medical imaging refurb center

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 22, 2012
Siemens Healthcare hosted an opening ceremony on Wednesday for its medical imaging systems refurbishing facility. The 29,190-square foot facility, in Wood Dale, Ill., is outfitted to refurbish an array of Siemens imaging systems and then get them back on the market for resale. The facility is shared with Hegele Logistic LLC., the primary service provider for Siemens' refurbished systems.

"In the past, having Siemens' and Hegele's facilities in different places, and having equipment moving back and forth, exposed a lot of inefficiencies," said Rainer Mayer, the facility manager. "By combining facilities, we were able to improve efficiency, and subsequently, reduce cost."

Siemens said the new factory was carefully planned to maximize workflow efficiency -- from determining the best entry point for bringing in machines, to ensuring heavier imaging equipment, such as MRIs, can be moved to refurbishing areas without jeopardizing the integrity of the concrete floor.

The facility can currently house and keep cold 27 MRIs, in addition to CT and molecular imaging units, with the space to provide storage for more in the future. The facility is approximately 10,000 square feet larger than Siemens' previous facility, also located in the Chicago area and in operation since 2003.

Grand opening

More than 100 specially invited guests were on hand to celebrate the occasion, getting guided tours from Siemens representatives. During the tour, Rainer explained some of the fine details that went into the planning of the facility. For instance, the lights go on and off incrementally as they're approached, to save electricity and cut costs. Also, the positive airflow system pushes air out when an outer door is opened, in order to prevent contamination to equipment undergoing the refurbishing process.

The process consists of five main steps: selection of equipment to be refurbished, deinstallation, refurbishment, installation and warranty.

The refurbishing phase has five steps as well,

determining the condition of the equipment and cost to refurbish, disinfection and system cleaning, painting, configuration and system testing and finally, packing and shipping.

Upon conclusion of the tour, speeches were made by Elisabeth Staudinger, CEO of Siemens' refurbished division, and Christoph Sitzer, CEO of Hegele Logistic, to recognize and thank the people who made the facility possible, which reached its finished state just three months after groundbreaking.

A keynote speech was delivered by Jonny Imerman, chief mission officer of Imerman Angels, a not-for-profit organization that connects current cancer patients with survivors of the same type of cancer. The Chicago-based organization, launched in 2003, offers support to cancer patients worldwide. At the event, Imerman, himself a survivor of testicular cancer, received a $5,000 check from Siemens to support his charity.

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