Agfa launches Drystar tabletop imager
Dec. 5 – Agfa HealthCare introduced its Drystar AXYS tabletop imager to the United States market at the 93rd scientific assembly and annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago last week.

A compact, hardcopy solution, the Drystar AXYS is a direct digital imager that delivers images in 508 dpi image resolution with two film sizes online. The imager is designed to fit CT, MRI, CR, DR and mammography, including full-field digital mammograms.

The imager is based on Agfa’s existing thermal contact technology to produce heat-sensitive images, so it doesn’t use any light, according to Ray Russell, director of marketing. Therefore, the user can open the drawers at any time to change film without disrupting the printing process.

He explained that while the amount of imaging is on an increase, the amount of printing is on a decrease. As a result, the next printer that hospitals or imaging centers will purchase will most likely be their last, so they should acquire one that covers all modalities.

Russell noted that the Drystar has the fastest time to first print, generally under a minute. With DICOM, the first sheet always takes the longest because the printer is writing the DICOM and performing other HIPAA-compliancy functions. Also, he said that the printer can receive images from several digital rooms, and still have the fastest time for the first print. Even though users are not printing every image, especially from a large scanner, like a multidetector CT, the user still wants to print from every modality.

The two input trays can be loaded to accept five media sizes and three film types (blue-clear-mammography).

Russell added that the imagers will never become completely obsolete because patients travel or move locations, and there will always be a need to transport the physical film.

The imager has been installed at several clinical sites to validate the technology, and will be fully available in January 2008.