When a patient is infected with SARS-CoV-2, intensive care physicians need pictures of the patient’s lungs quickly. Mobile X-ray devices are the most effective medical equipment for diagnostic purposes. To make time-critical work with these high-tech aids fast, safe, and uncomplicated, one international manufacturer relies on gas springs from ACE Stoßdämpfer GmbH.
The central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan was the first center of the spread of the novel coronavirus. At the onset of exponential growth in infection rates, crisis managers implemented an unprecedented lockdown and reacted by building entirely new hospitals within a few days. The logistical challenge included the engineering and work on-site and the planning and production of the medical services in the hospitals. With little time to spare, the demands on doctors, nurses, medical equipment providers, and their suppliers were high. This also applied to Beijing Wandong Medical Technology Co. Ltd. With the urgently needed digital mobile X-ray devices, it became apparent that additional support on the part of the supplier was necessary concerning the rapid supply of industrial gas springs.
Mobile X-ray devices for digital radiography (DR) meet the special requirements of intensive care units, emergency rooms, and pneumology departments. As the coronavirus outbreak showed, this also applied to the processes in special quarantine zones. Mobile DR devices are reliable, and their images are as good as those of fixed DR devices. They also help medical staff reduce radiation exposure for patients and themselves compared to older X-ray technologies. To further increase the safety for users and patients, the involvement of a partner for industrial gas springs was aimed at reducing the risks arising from the device’s mechanics.
“Even when designing the mobile unit long before the current developments, we were already looking for a reliable solution to support the beam arm of the digital X-ray device,” explains Lu Fei, one of the project managers at Wandong.
The reliability of the gas spring is critical during mobile X-ray operation; the medical personnel has to lift the arm supported by the gas springs to a certain control position, which can vary each time according to the patient’s anatomy. Because there is a theoretical risk that the beam arm can drop, the gas spring must maintain its holding force.
While the weight of the beam arm in the mobile X-ray unit is 10 kg, the X-ray device mounted to it weighs 30 kg. Given the total weight, the starting point and opening angle had to be taken into account when selecting the right gas spring. While the maximum opening angle should be 130°, the starting point is 0°. Because the gas springs are installed inside the beam arm for ergonomics and space savings, it also explains why stainless steel versions could be dispensed here, despite stringent hygiene regulations.
The selected ACE pull type GZ-28-450 gas springs also have a positive effect The mechanical assistants have increased the safety and user-friendliness of Wandong’s mobile digital X-ray units. This functionality relieves the medical staff so they may concentrate on the task at hand — saving lives.
Filed Under: Hack the Crisis: Engineering through COVID-19