I am regularly asked, "Why does a GE CT scanner cost so much more than the other manufacturers?" We frequently see GE 8-slice CTs going for the same price as a Philips or Siemens 16-slice and this is similarly true for higher-end equipment. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Here are three main reasons we have found GE CT scanners have a higher initial cost.
1. Lower Cost of Service
GE CT Scanners generally have a lower cost of service. Why does this matter so much? If the cost of a service contract is less, then the cost of the system over its life is dramatically less and a big reason why some are willing to pay a higher upfront cost. For example, if a CT service contract costs $10,000 less a year, then after 5 years it will save $50,000.
Why is GE CT scanner service so much less?
First, in the US, there are a lot more engineers who can work on GE CTs than any other manufacturer. This means that labor costs are generally lower.
Second, there are a lot more parts providers and parts systems for GE scanners. In the same way the abundance of engineers saves on service labor, the abundance of parts results in lower costs for replacement parts.
Finally, GE X-ray tube replacements cost considerably less due to their compatibility with aftermarket tubes produced by companies like Varian and Dunlee. Since tubes have to be replaced regularly, the savings offered by an aftermarket tube become increasingly significant as you purchase more. For example, the cost of a 64-Slice CT replacement tube could be over $100,000 more for Siemens or Philips scanner than GE. Multiply that by a few replacements over the life of the system, and we're talking about a pretty serious sum.
2. Supply & Demand
Another reason for the higher cost of GE Scanners is basic economics. GE scanners do not enter the secondary market nearly as often as scanners from other manufacturers (AKA limited supply). This, combined with the high demand for GE equipment throughout the world, is a major cause of higher costs.
3. Air Cooled is a Breeze/Service with Ease
Because their gantries are air-cooled, GE CT Scanners are easier to maintain.This is a big draw, particularly in warmer climates. Air cooled equipment doesn’t require a chiller, which is another piece that requires upkeep, generally from another vendor (HVAC technician) on top of the imaging engineer that services the rest of your CT system.
GE CT Scanners don’t have the service password/code/key issues that a lot of other OEMs have. Password issues may seem minor, but can be a major headache for that engineer we just mentioned, depending on what they are needed for. Some OEMs keep passwords locked down tight enough to limit the ability for tube installation, software reloads, or other basic Engineering functions.
Hopefully this helps explain why a GE CT scanner may initially cost more. The deeper question is whether or not they can provide the most value across their working life. Contact us to learn more about price/cost averages for GE CT scanners or to discuss the details of your project!
Note: As you consider any CT scanner, make sure you know the requirements of NEMA standard XR-29!
Written by Jeremy Block
Jeremy Block is the Senior Vice President of Dealer Solutions at Block Imaging. Between building imaging equipment deals all over the world and raising six kids in Michigan, he’s no stranger to problem solving when obstacles arise. Wherever you may be, Jeremy’s goal is to make your buying or selling experience as easy as possible.