The heart of your CT scanner is its X-ray tube, which beats life into every examination. However, even the tube has a limited lifespan and, by necessity, requires replacement periodically. That's why there's no time like the present to learn more about your CT X-ray tube and what you can expect from it in terms of lifespan, replacement cost, and the possibility of giving it a second chance through repair and reloading.
In the case of the Toshiba Aquilion series, especially those that see use for cardiac applications, there's a good chance the tube in question is a CXB-750D/4A. We've talked with our CT Engineering and Parts Teams and compiled the details so that you can be better prepared for your next tube investment.
The cost to purchase a brand-new CXB-750D/4A from Canon (who recently acquired Toshiba) lists at $195,000 on exchange. Should you choose to purchase a used 750D, you're likely to pay between $60,000 and $90,000 depending on the tube's date of manufacture, amount of previous usage, and whether it has been repaired in any way.
The lifespan of an individual CXB-750D/4A will depend on the amount of usage it sees and the site's maintenance of the scanner's cooling system. In the experiences of our engineers and of those who purchase tubes from us, however, they are seeing this model last an average of 3-4 years in a facility with moderate CT scanner usage.
Signs of Failure
Signs that your 750D is about to fail are very similar to those you'd experience on almost any other tube model. These include noisy bearings, a consistent humming sound, arcing, or fluctuations or drops in the cooling temperature. If these are happening in your scanner, it's time to begin planning your replacement.
Buying Your Replacement
The most obvious option for replacement is to contact Canon and order a new CXB-750D/4A but, as we mentioned earlier however, this is also the most expensive option.
To save significantly on your replacement cost there are a few types of used tubes to choose from: used tubes, reprocessed tubes, and reloaded tubes. We can't speak for every parts provider out there, but we can give you an idea of what we, and providers we consider reputable, do to have these options available.
Used: An as-is used tube is removed from a system and put into a testing bay to verify full functionality, with no emerging problems. These tubes will be priced accordingly by age, but however much usage remains in their lifespan is what you get.
Reprocessed: Reprocessing is a procedure in which the oil inside the tube is replaced with new oil. This is an intricate process that, when done accurately, can extend the life between 20%-50% more than if the tube is not reprocessed.
Reloaded: When a tube consistently presents any of the signs of failure mentioned earlier, the user should contact their parts provider for a replacement. Often, that replacement is purchased "on exchange" and the price is lowered in return for the user sending the supplier their old or damaged tube, commonly referred to as a "core". Once the core is returned to the provider, a reload should look something like this:
- The core is analyzed to determine if it could be a candidate for repair. NOTE: There is no penalty or charge if your core cannot be repaired but it must in repairable condition.
- X-ray tube engineers perform deeper analysis to diagnose the issues. Because of the nature of the CXB-750D/4A’s engineering, there are several criteria that the tube must meet to be eligible for repair.
- Once eligibility is approved the tube is repaired, reloaded with a refurbished insert, and reprocessed with fresh oil.
- Additional testing, including a vibration and noise analysis, rotator test, and spin test, is performed.
- If the tube meets or exceeds limits for functionality, it is declared ready to resume in-field use.
At the end of the reloading process, you have a CXB-750D/4A that functions like new, with a refurbished insert and freshly-processed oil. Among used CXB tubes, buying a reloaded 750D is the best choice for the longest life expectancy and the most comprehensive warranty.
As with any tube, whether your CXB has a few more years in it or the arcs and funny noises have already begun, a replacement is somewhere in your future. Considering the list price of a tube from the OEM (remember: $195,000) versus the far lower price ($60,000 to $90,000) of a used tube, an important conversation about value begins to emerge. Factor in the like-new functionality that comes from the reloading process, and the case for considering a used tube becomes extremely viable.
Whenever you may need your next CXB-750D/4A, our Parts Team is ready to help with as-is and reloaded tubes. You can call our Parts Department hotline at 877-621-2887 or use the banner below to put in a request and get your replacement on its way the same day.