CR vs. DR detectors – and the inexorable march of progress

by Lee Nelson, Contributing Reporter | November 05, 2015

What are companies working on for the future?
When it comes to DR technology, manufacturers are working to make them lighter, less fragile, easier to use and more resistant to fluids. “Just like in the car industry where they went from metal chrome to crumple zones, that’s what vendors are doing with detectors and such, with more shock resistance. They are also making them lighter and easier to handle,” says Curley.
With Fujifilm’s exclusive Hydro AG coating on the FDR D-EVO II, the detector becomes, the company claims, 99.99 percent effective against bacteria. The pending patent boasts it is, “100 times more effective than traditional silver ion coatings and 10,000 times more effective than surfaces with no coating.” Anderson says that a detector’s IPX rating is becoming a big selling point. “IPX is essentially an industry-standard fluid resistant rating. Canon, as are many other companies, is working to develop detectors that have a good IPX rating — it’s something to look for now and in the future as a desirable feature,” he adds.
Siemens is working on developing value-priced X-ray systems without all the “bells and whistles,” so even the smaller clinics without big revenues can afford to bypass upgrading an older analog system to CR or DR and buy a brand new digital system, Fernandes says. DiVetta says GE is working on VolumeRAD imaging with its DR systems, which he says is the first radiographic tomosynthesis product with a specific indication that offers improved detection and management of patients with lung nodules, compared to conventional radiography.
Titus sees the trend for X-ray systems and everything that goes with them as continuing to drop in price because of additional manufacturing capacity and more competition. Colbeth sees DR prices coming down as well, as the demand for DR grows. Higher order volume is creating manufacturing efficiencies and cost savings that Varian can pass along to its customers. They’ve also been able to reduce the cost of the internal electronics as well, while actually improving image quality — a trend that is happening across the industry. On the bottom line, Colbeth says, “the price for DR, in some cases, is close to that of a CR system.”

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