Transitioning to Digital Radiography: Day 6 – Installation

Jim Johnson   June 30, 2012   Comments Off on Transitioning to Digital Radiography: Day 6 – Installation

Today the installer from IDEXX arrived and started working. Very interesting to watch this. He came by last night, actually, and measured our table; then he found a local welder to manufacture a 3’x6′ (approximately) frame of aluminum tubing to raise our tabletop by 2 inches, to make room for the digital x-ray plate.

An aside: There are two primary competing technologies in digital radiography: DR (Direct Radiography) and CR (Computed Radiography.) With DR, the image is captured directly by a plate tied to the computer; CR utilizes a free-standing plate which is fed into a reader after exposure. DR is faster (eight seconds vs 90 seconds), more expensive, and generally regarded as better. However, for us the final factor was space – we could not fit a CR unit into that room. Another factor is that CR machines have lots of moving parts, which can become clogged with pet hair (a constant problem in veterinary practices.)

After the tabletop was pulled and while testing the equipment, the technician discovered that a cheap wall-wart power supply required by one component was dead. He was afraid that this was going to set installation back a day (!) but fortunately Radio Shack, across the street, had a suitable replacement.

200 lb of radiographic goodness!

Home-built dolly for the x-ray generator

While this was going on I took the opportunity to solve a long-standing problem. The actual generator for our x-ray system sits on the floor under the table; it weighs something like 200 lb. Anytime we have needed to move the table, we’ve had essentially slam it on the side with our bodies to shove that thing across the floor.  I went to the hardware store next door and bought some materials to make a dolly for the generator. We ran rope through the eyelets on the generator and hoisted that thing up on the dolly; now it will roll along easily when we need to move the table.

The rest of the day was spent running cables, testing things, and configuring the software. I slowed the process down by about 2 hours by asking that the system be configured to store image data on the workstation rather than our server (it had  a lot more free space.)

Finally, at about 5 o’clock, we were ready to do some test shots. The first shots were amazing! Here’s one of Louie, our cat.

Radiograph of cat

Click the image to see the incredible detail.