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The ever-evolving CT tube market

by John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | August 26, 2019
Parts And Service
From the August 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

For any healthcare provider who partners with a high quality independent service organization, the value proposition of a third-party tube manufacturer will ring familiar. As providers seek to operate on smaller budgets and the global install base of CT scanners continues to grow, market competition becomes increasingly important.

“Independent service providers are a competitive force that helps drive lower cost, improve quality of service and accelerate innovations,” said Pat Fitzgerald, executive director of Chronos Imaging. “Without this ecosystem, the market would not evolve, pricing would increase, and customers would have limited options to get the service they need.”

Chronos is a newcomer in the replacement tube market, having taken over a manufacturing facility in Aurora, Illinois that was previously operated by Dunlee. Many of the skilled workers at Chronos, including Fitzgerald, are familiar with the facility and have previous experience working there.

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In an effort to consolidate its tube manufacturing business, Dunlee left the Aurora facility last year and produces OEM tubes in Hamburg, Germany. As part of that move, the company retains a mutually-beneficial alliance with Chronos that allows its customers continued access to the full product portfolio of CT replacement tubes that Dunlee has offered over the last two decades.

Richardson Healthcare, which entered the replacement tube market in 2014, employs more than 30 engineers and technicians in LaFox, Illinois that design and manufacture CT tubes. The company introduced its first new CT replacement tube last year, the ALTA750. It’s a replacement for the CXB-750D/4A tube, which is also known as the Varex Imaging MCS-078, and is compatible with a range of Canon Medical Systems (previously Toshiba) CT scanners.

“We offer something that no one has ever been able to do — alternative third-party replacement alternative for Canon/Toshiba OEM tubes,” said Olsen. “We’ve made a $35 million investment to get into the healthcare space to enable alternative service and reduce the overall cost of healthcare.”

He noted that Richardson is also considering other replacement needs based on market demand and feedback from imaging users. Their current technician and engineering staff have worked on GE, Siemens and Philips tubes in their careers.

With 2,000 employees turning out over 25,000 X-ray tubes per year and over 65 years in the industry, Utah-based Varex Imaging Corporation is a market leader providing replacement tubes as well as OEM tubes. The company recently introduced the Varex MCS-6074D as a cost-effective replacement designed to meet the specifications of the GE Performix 40 X-ray tube for use with the Optima CT660 CT. They also offer the Varex GS-5172 for certain Philips CT scanners.

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