Maybe you're a first-time imaging equipment buyer, or maybe you've been burned by a bad experience in the past. Whatever the cause, one question we get from many of our customers is, “How is my system going to be handled?” This is a great question for two reasons: 1) Medical imaging equipment is a big investment that you want to protect. 2) Not every equipment dealer takes proper care when shipping and handling imaging systems.
To answer this question, we want to give you a quick debrief on how we handle systems going out our doors to end user sites. We certainly won't claim a 100% perfect record, but the following are shipping and handling practices that have allowed us to deliver hundreds of systems safely all over the world.
When a system has completed the engineering process (decontamination, staging, refurbishment, and/or calibration - depending on the package you have purchased) and is deemed ready for end user installation, the system is brought to our warehouse for packaging. In this process, our warehouse team painstakingly bubble wraps, shrink wraps, foam pads, and boxes all of the system accessories for safe transport. They also take these steps with any items (such as external covers) that can’t be shipped fully assembled. As boxes are filled and sealed, they are carefully stacked on pallets and eventually shrink wrapped as complete pallets of components.
Some components of a system are large enough that they warrant their own set of specialized dollies. Things like CT gantries and tables and cath lab gantries are too cumbersome for standard, multi-purpose dollies and require original OEM dollies to ensure safe handling. Not only do these dollies provide safe transit to your site, they are integral to delivering the system and navigating it into the room where it will be installed. Once your system packing is complete and ready for shipping, you’ll end up with something looking similar to this:
If you've ordered a system like a digital cath lab or a digital rad room, note the wooden crate on the right. This is one of our specialized digital detector boxes. These boxes are triple-padded and temperature regulated with bricks of phase-change material to prevent rapid or dangerously low cooling.
But wait, there's more! After packaging, your system is loaded onto a van line truck equipped with air-ride suspension, moving pads, and drivers that specialize in handling sensitive medical equipment. Every system gets wrapped with an additional layer of moving pads and strapped into the truck to prevent shifting during transit.
While packaging and shipping are being completed, your system delivery is being planned by a dedicated project manager (PM). Your PM is the communications hub between you, your delivery driver, and the team of mechanical engineers that will be on site the day of delivery to receive the system and unload the truck. This is where those OEM-specific dollies really start to come in handy.
Depending on the specific conditions at your site, delivery could include receiving at a standard, truck-height loading dock or, perhaps, getting the system out of the truck and lowered to ground level for entry into your facility and navigation through your corridors to the system's planned home. Whatever the situation may be, our engineers have the tools and the experience to bring the system safely into your facility for installation and, eventually, service to your patients.
Once you've invested the time and money in selecting, planning for, and purchasing a system, the last thing you want to happen is a delay in installation due to mishandling or shipping damage. Before your project gets too far along, be sure to have a conversation with your equipment provider about their packaging, shipping, and delivery procedures. If their process doesn't sound somewhat similar to the one described above, there's a higher likelihood that your system could arrive with immediate or developing problems from shifting or temperature extremes.
If you've got an imaging equipment project coming up, we'd love to talk with you about what you need and how we can help you make it happen safely. Contact our team to get the conversation started or use the button below to see more resources from our project managers.