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Have you avoided unforeseen equipment downtime?

In our past blogs, we have been discussing large equipment replacement projects and the benefits of integrating your Design Team early in the decision-making process.

Large equipment types such MRIs, CT, or Linear Accelerators (LINACs) are not as easy as remove and replace. Changing manufacturers very likely means changing your existing infrastructure, and possibly the built environment around the equipment, and that isn’t a quick fix. Simply upgrading your equipment with the manufacturer that you currently have can mean costly modifications.

Not only should you consider the requirements of the new system and providing for its new operational needs, you must also consider getting your old system out of your building successfully. This is called the “rig path” and you should evaluate this entire path from the procedure room to the exterior door, and review obstacles within that path, all corners and turns, and all door widths.

Changing equipment can mean a change in the base frame and plate, which means possible concrete removal and replacement. LINAC facilities typically have floors of 3’- 4’ in thickness and walls of 2’- 3’. Core drilling any of these is not inexpensive, so proper evaluations should be made by your Design Team early in the process.

Other equipment considerations would include:

  • Floor space: is the equipment the same size and operation in the same manner, i.e. rotation of unit or placement of patient to machine?

  • Conduit access and run length: newer equipment has different power and data requirements than older models. The current conduits and paths for such might exceed the limits of the new cabling and core drilling might be required.

  • Shielding: we see many instances of existing room shielding being inadequate for new equipment. Modifications of vault doors, especially the replacement of vault doors in procedure rooms, can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

  • As noted above, confirm new equipment can access through vault and make any existing turns.

  • Typically, equipment has existing mounting / floor plates. Changes in size or location of these can mean costly concrete removal and installation.

  • New models will most certainly have different, and sometimes greater, electrical and data requirements. Not only should conduit lengths be evaluated, but also electrical panels and data closets.

  • Storage for supplies should be determined, as new units typically require different methods used for patient positioning and comfort during procedures. Existing casework and storage may not meet those storage needs and will need to be removed and replaced.

We encourage Facility decision makers to engage an experienced team, such as the Synthesis, Applied Engineering, and Pepper Construction Team, early in the decision-making process to ensure that an adequate budget has been established to cover potential costs for infrastructure modifications and that a realistic schedule is established for construction and equipment installation and validation. Contact us for more information on how we can assist you with your next medical equipment replacement project.


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