Printers Expanding Media
Film in radiology is a prevailing breed. While it is destined to decrease in volume as digital technology gains hold, it is a vital component of the majority of imaging facilities in 2004. This was a noticeable aspect on the show floor at RSNA 2003, as a number of vendors exhibited their new and recently released devices - printing out more and weighing in at less.

Codonics of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, highlighted its flagship medical imaging printer, Horizon, with expanded media options and a faster printing speed. Now producing 100 films per hour, the device prints on four different media types in 12 sizes, with no operator operation. Its newest media size, 11x14-inch, is available in clear and blue base film as well as grayscale paper. The company says the media are cost-effective alternatives for the 14x17-inch film frequently used for pediatric and orthopedic applications in CR (computed radiography) and DR (digital radiography).

Konica Minolta Medical Imaging extended its family of dry laser imaging products with the introduction of DryPro 771 at RSNA 2003. The compact laser imager can be used for all diagnostic modalities, including CR, and connected to a DICOM network. Konica has stamped the printer as affordable with energy-saving technology, adding to its ability to use three film sizes and process up to 150 copies per hour (with 11x14-inch films).

 Fujifilm Medical Systems at RSNA broadened its printing portfolio with the introduction of DryPix 5000, which combines features of its flagship DryPix 7000 system with the ability to function with 110-volt power. DryPix 500 is suitable for centralized imaging departments or high-speed CT applications, and delivers throughput of 130 14x17-inch and 180 smaller-size films per hour, according to the vendor.

 The imager can be configured for as many as three film trays, accommodating 14x17, 10x14, 10x12, and 8x10-inch films, Fuji said. DryPix 5000 is expected to begin shipping in January.

 Sony Electronics introduced a new printer intended for ultrasound and endoscopy, the A6 color video medical-grade printer with a USB 2.0 high-speed interface. The UP-D23MD printer produces 400dpi prints, with more that 16 million color tones. In addition to connecting directly to modalities, the device can print images from a PC or network server. The company says the printer is priced at $2,379.

 First introduced at RSNA 2002, Sony also displayed its FilmStation Dry Film Imager. The device delivers high-resolution images in 4,096 shades of gray for a full range of modalities, including CT, MRI, CR, DR and ultrasound. Compact in design with the ability to be positioned on its side, the FilmStation can print up to 70 14x17-inch films per hour.

 Ferrania Imaging Technologies, with U.S. headquarters in Weatherford, Okla., showcased its new LifeImager 6030 and 6010 dry printers. The LifeImager 6030 is a three size on-line printer, including 14x17, 11x14 and 8x10-inch sizes, while the LifeImager 6010 is a single size unit, either 11x14 or 14x17-inches. Both use the LifeImager blue and clear base media, are DICOM enabled and will be initially released in 2004 in Europe and in the United States thereafter.

 Agfa Healthcare launched its Drystar 5300 tabletop dry imager for customers preferring a decentralized hard-copy system. The device adds itself to Agfa's direct digital imaging technology and allows close-to-modality film printing for areas where space is limited.

 Mitsubishi Digital Electronics showcased its high-speed, high resolution P-93W monochrome thermal printer released earlier this summer. Compact and lightweight, the printer is designed for a wide range of medical applications. The P-93W incorporates a 325 dpi thermal head, 1280x500 resolution and the ability to print up to six different sizes.