News | May 05, 2011

GE Develops New Technique to Reduce Time, Cost to Produce Ultrasound Components

May 5, 2011 – GE scientists are already studying additive manufacturing techniques to reduce labor and costs on ultrasound devices. Here, the key aspect is the transducer, which is expensive to produce using current manufacturing techniques.

Michelangelo once described his technique as follows: “I saw the angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free.” For decades, the same idea has fueled the manufacturing of tiny, delicate instruments: you take a block of material and cut microscopic grooves in each piece, shaving away the excess one by one until it’s complete. The process works, but it takes time and money, making the equipment incredibly expensive to produce.

Recently, scientists around the world have been experimenting with a new technique known as “additive manufacturing.” Rather than taking a block of metal and shaving or cutting into it, researchers are growing the device from the ground up, a process also known as 3-D printing.
This week, GE Global Research announced it has created a new lab at its upstate New York headquarters dedicated entirely to additive manufacturing. Since GE produces a number of small, sophisticated devices, the lab’s research may cut down on an expensive, time-consuming process.

The process uses software to feed an instrument template into a 3-D printer, layering thin filaments of metal atop one another into the template’s pattern. Since no wasted shavings are produced, the process substantially lowers the cost of raw material. Plus, manufacturers no longer have to build an expensive physical template to create the microcuts – instead, they just write the software code, and the printer does the rest.

GE scientists are already studying additive manufacturing techniques to cut costs on ultrasound transducers. As building ultrasound equipment has grown less expensive and faster, costs of producing the tiny metal transducer has stayed stubbornly high – each transducer has tiny intricate patterns across it. Applying new additive techniques, which can print these intricate patterns on the probe all at once, can save hours of cutting and refinement.

To create the transducer components, a thin layer of ceramic slurry is spread on a plate, the system templates the form to be created and an ultraviolet light is used to fix the form in the slurry.

“For as long as the world has been making things, manufacturing has been a game of subtraction where you cut and machine parts down into the product you want,” said Prabhjot Singh, a mechanical engineer and project leader on the ultrasound project. “With new additive manufacturing processes, the traditional ways of manufacturing are being turned upside down.”

For more information: www.gereports.com/smart-industry-the-additive-manufacturing-revolution/

Related Content

Triton College Launching Vascular Technology in Sonography Certificate Program
News | Ultrasound Imaging | January 09, 2019
Starting in spring 2019, Triton College’s Vascular Technology in Sonography Certificate Program will help working...
Fujifilm SonoSite Launches New Point-of-Care Ultrasound Educational Resources
News | Ultrasound Imaging | November 01, 2018
Fujifilm SonoSite Inc. announced the launch of its redesigned SonoSite Institute, a comprehensive online educational...
Canon Medical Launches Healthy Sonographer Program
News | Ultrasound Imaging | October 10, 2018
Canon Medical Systems USA Inc. launched an all-new program designed to help reduce the leading causes of pain and...
Fujifilm SonoSite Unveils SonoSite Synchronicity Ultrasound Workflow Solution
Technology | Ultrasound Imaging | October 04, 2018
Fujifilm SonoSite Inc. announced its entry into the medical informatics space with the launch of a robust point-of-care...
GE Healthcare Expands Collaboration With SonoSim for Ultrasound Education
News | Ultrasound Imaging | October 02, 2018
October 2, 2018 — GE Healthcare announced an equity investment in SonoSim, which specializes in...
Clarius Reveals Wireless Cart-Based Ultrasound System at ACEP 2018
News | Ultrasound Imaging | September 28, 2018
Clarius Mobile Health is introducing the Clarius Cart at the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) 2018...
Healcerion Receives FDA Approval for Sonon 300L Handheld Ultrasound Device
Technology | Ultrasound Imaging | July 09, 2018
South Korea-based Healcerion launched the Sonon 300L wireless handheld ultrasound device to the U.S. market following U...
Esaote Change of Ownership Completed
News | Ultrasound Imaging | April 30, 2018
The acquisition of biomedical equipment company Esaote SpA’s share capital was completed on April 19, the company...
Philips Integrates Reacts Tele-Ultrasound Platform on Lumify Portable Systems

Image courtesy of Philips Healthcare

News | Ultrasound Imaging | March 30, 2018
Philips in partnership with Innovative Imaging Technologies (IIT) announced an industry-first integrated tele-...
Toshiba Medical Rolls Out Interactive Learning Tools for Ultrasound and Vascular Training
News | Ultrasound Imaging | December 04, 2017
Toshiba Medical, a Canon Group company, introduced new educational tools and interactive learning resources to help...
Overlay Init