What is an X-Ray Service? (Explainer)

Home » What is an X-Ray Service? (Explainer)

Let’s talk about what’s involved in an x-ray service

Just as a car needs regular oil changes and servicing, an x-ray machine also requires regular maintenance.

Since x-ray machines have many moving parts, it’s crucial to service them regularly to ensure they continue to operate efficiently.

Sam Ogutucu, Managing Director from the Medic Cloud team

Sam, Medic Cloud Managing Director

What is an x-ray?

An x-ray is a waveform on the electromagnetic spectrum. In clinical environments, doctors use x-ray machines to see what is happening beneath the skin in both human and veterinary patients. An x-ray machine consists of three main components:

  1. The Generator (which produces the power required to take an x-ray)
  2. The Tube (which is basically a globe that gets power from the generator to create an x-ray)
  3. The Processor, which originally started off as wet film and has slowly transitioned to a CR (Computed Radiography) or DR (Digital Radiography).

The processor sits between the patient and the x-ray tube, capturing the x-ray beam and transforming it into digital form for viewing on a computer screen.

Taking an x-ray is similar to taking a photo. Instead of using zoom and lenses as you would with a camera, x-rays use voltages and amps to control the image outcome, known as factors. For example, taking an x-ray of the lungs versus the spine depends on the factors set up during the procedure.

Although x-ray operators may not notice any immediate degradation in the machine over time, neglecting regular servicing can lead to minor failures, such as brakes not working on the tube stand, or major failures, such as the x-ray tube and generator. Additionally, equipment failures can result in image quality degradation, potentially requiring higher x-ray machine factors during exposure and consequently leading to a higher radiation dose for patients.

x-ray image quality

Conversion Retention Immersion Masterclass in Sydney – June 28 and 29, 2024

L:R – Sam Ogutucu (Me), Adam Curwood, Josh Condon, Troy Seacy (Wellbeing)

Comparison of image quality of x-rays

(Left) X-ray with image quality degradation (Right) X-ray in good condition

How to service an x-ray machine?

Every system is unique and comes with its own recommended service instructions, which we follow to ensure proper and accurate maintenance.

For low-volume or low-usage systems, this might involve a simple visual inspection and minor lubrication. For high-volume sites, we conduct a more thorough service, taking a hands-on approach. Our goal is to mitigate risks of failure and prepare for potential spare parts needs, ensuring the clinic avoids prolonged downtime.

The x-ray service specifically covers the x-ray machine, while CR or DR servicing is a separate component that can be booked separately or together. We recommend booking these services together, as it is more cost-effective and minimizes workflow interruptions for the clinic.

A basic x-ray machine service typically takes 2 hours for a system with a generator, tube stand, and wall bucky. A full room system with a table bucky requires an additional hour, totaling 3 hours.

The service generally includes:

  • Visual inspection of all cables
  • Physical inspection of all moving components (tube stand, wall bucky, table bucky)
  • Assessment of tube movement and rotation
  • Evaluation of locks and adjustments
  • Analysis of log files
  • Calibration of the tube to the generator
  • Regreasing of components
  • Application of dielectric grease on high tension (HT) cables.

After completing the service, we prepare a detailed report and issue it to the clinic. This report is also used as part of the DIAS paperwork to maintain accreditation. We provide details of our licenses, training, and certification, or a letter of attestation as required for accreditation purposes, which the clinic can submit to QIP, NATA, or HDAA.

Regreasing HT Cables

Conversion Retention Immersion Masterclass in Sydney – June 28 and 29, 2024

L:R – Sam Ogutucu (Me), Adam Curwood, Josh Condon, Troy Seacy (Wellbeing)

Service of x-ray machines

Regreasing of high tension HT cables

Who can service an x-ray machine?

X-ray machines are a source of radiation and thus a regulated item in Australia. The appropriate license is required to service, install, transport, store or provide maintenance to an x-ray machine. For example:

  • A Management License is required to store or sell x-ray equipment
  • Only qualified and licensed personnel can service, install, or perform repairs
  • Every state and territory in Australia has its own licensing requirements, and technicians must hold a license in each state where they perform such work.

If you own an x-ray machine, always obtain a detailed service report from the technician after servicing. The report should include the:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Serial number
  • Manufacture date of the x-ray generator and x-ray tube,
  • Technician’s name as it appears on their radiation license.

The service report serves various purposes, including:

  • Equipment warranty validity
  • Proof of service history for any insurance claims
  • Equipment detail verification for accreditation.

Medic Cloud service technicians are licensed in the state or territory where the work is carried out. Anyone without a license attempting to work on an x-ray system may face fines and harsh penalties. Therefore, it is crucial to engage service providers who are qualified and licensed to service x-ray machines.

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