All the major components of the X-Ray equipment (Power Generator, X-Ray Tube, Collimator, Tube Stand, and Wall Stand) are configurable in order to offer the end user all the options required but without paying for unnecessary features.
In general, there are 3 styles of generators; Standard frequency, High Frequency, and Stored Energy.
Standard Frequency Generators
Standard frequency (aka “single phase”) generators run off of roughly 208-480VAC, 80-100 AMP, Single or Three Phase line power. Standard frequency generators are identified by their control knobs on the front of the generator cabinet and offer economic and dependable X-ray solutions.
High Frequency Generators
High frequency generators also run off of roughly 208-480VAC, 80-100 AMP, Single or Three Phase line power. “HF” generators offer the benefits of reduced patient exposure, maximum diagnostic film quality and extended tube-life. Most High Frequency generators reduce patient exposure by 50% or more when compared to Standard Frequency generators while quality films with consistent density and contrast.
Stored Energy Generators
Stored energy generators are basically the same as the High Frequency but instead of running off of relatively high voltage/high amperage line power, they plug into a normal 120VAC outlet and operate from the power that is “stored” in onboard batteries. This saves the costs of hiring an electrician to run special power lines for the X-Ray Room, but as with any batteries, there have a limited life. This option is best suited for practices that are planning to relocate soon and want to bring their investment with them.
X-Ray tubes receive the high frequency line power from the generator and actually create the radiation waves by colliding electrons into a tungsten plate. The basic tube that works well for most general practitioners with a fairly low study volume is a 1.0-2.0mm focal spot, 140,000 heat unit, 125 kVp tube. This is the most economical tube and starts around $3,000 if purchased alone. The focal spot is the amount of detail of the image (similar to megapixels on a camera), the heat units are an index of how large and how many shots the tube can take without overheating, and the kVp is a maximum “dose” that can pass through the tube. All three of these characteristics that make up the quality and performance of a tube can be increased to fit the needs of your Radiation Room. One of the top of the line tubes is a 0.6-1.2mm focal spot, 400,000 heat units, and 150 kVp with lists for over $10,000.
The Collimator is located just on the other side of the X-Ray tube. It acts as a beam limiting device where the X-Ray technician adjusts the size of the window of radiation that the patient will receive to focus it on the appropriate areas and eliminate un-needed exposure. The basic collimator starts around $1,500 and has a 125kVp max, non-swivel mount and has manual adjustment knobs for beam limiting. The options for collimators ranges in many steps all the way up to the top of the line automatic PBL collimator with motor driven shutters, swivel mount and provides automatic operation at continuous SIDs. This collimator starts at $9,750.
Just as the name suggests the tube stand is the structure that supports the tube, amongst other things. It is located along the back wall of the X-Ray room and has a top and a bottom horizontal rail that supports a vertical structure with a sliding arm that the Tube, Collimator, cables, and angle-o-miter all mount to. If you are using a Radiographic table then it is highly recommended to use a “transverse, rotational” tube stand. Transverse means that the tube can extend out off the back wall, and rotational describes the vertical pivot motion. Both of these movements are necessary to take certain exams. If a radiographic table is not being used than the basic stationary tube stand can be used. Each of the tube stands comes with the option for magnetic locks as opposed to manual. Tube stands range in price from $1,500 to $5,000.
The wall stand is the vertical structure that a patient would stand up against while taking a chest X-Ray. The main function of these structures is to hold the digital plate (which receives the image) in position while the patient stands in front of it. Wall stands range in size, features and price. The most commonly used Wall stand package is the 17” grid cabinet that travels from floor to 76” high, comes with 103 line 8:1 Grid, mechanical locks, and regular duty manual cassette tray. This package lists for $1,900. This same package with electric locks to replace manual locks lists for $2,150.