A variety of machinery will normally run hot. From automobiles to lasers to complex equipment like medical diagnostics, the performance of many machines requires cooling. To provide for safe operation, the cooling function is often supported by specialty equipment. In the case of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a specialized MRI chiller system is employed. These are not off-the-shelf appliances. Most times, they require a degree of customization which can vary depending on several factors. Read this blog for more information about these systems.
Heat Generation in an MRI System
MRI systems function by using powerful electromagnets to create electric signals that specialty receivers can use to make images. That is a very brief description of a highly complex process. These systems contain helium compressors along with the magnets that must be kept cool during their operation, which is the job of the MRI chillers.
The electromagnets of an MRI need to be cooled to -270 degrees Celsius. This is accomplished using liquid helium that is in a specialized cryocooler. Even before its operation, the helium and cryocooler must be chilled to prevent evaporation of the helium. So MRI chillers have to function even before the switch is flipped to begin running the MRI system.
Desireable System Attributes
An MRI system is a regularly and intensely used piece of equipment. Its downtime has to be absolutely minimal. Both in terms of patient satisfaction and potential interruption of a significant revenue stream for the medical facility, keeping the system working is key. Therefore the chiller systems supporting the MRI equipment must be equally reliable. For that reason, redundant components are often built into chillers so that in the event of problems, backup is internal, almost instantaneous, and problems are minimized.
An MRI system is also part of a highly connected communications system. In place to effectively manage the data generated by the machines, it’s also part of a monitoring system for ongoing support.
As these descriptions illustrate, there is a degree of complexity that both the medical facility and the manufacturer must appreciate. Therefore evaluating the purchase and ongoing support and maintenance of an MRI system and its subsystems requires significant analysis.
Imaging systems are some of the most powerful and accurate diagnostic medical tools in use. Keeping them in working order requires considerable effort, and some of the parts, such as MRI chiller systems, are key, mandatory components of the overall solution.