Imagine trying to do a job outdoors in the summer while wearing a heavy winter coat, or in freezing temperatures wearing a tank top. Impossible, right? Now imagine the difficulty an MRI chiller system has in keeping a powerful magnetic machine at a consistent temperature in varying climates, operating on-demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s why it’s imperative that you install an efficient and reliable MRI chiller system.
Toshiba Medical’s MRI Chiller System Challenges
Many medical facilities, including hospitals and imaging centers across the United States, use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines manufactured by Toshiba Medical Systems – now a part of Canon Medical Systems. Disappointed with the level of downtime from their previous chiller supplier, Toshiba approached Drake Refrigeration. They were looking for an exceptionally reliable year-round MRI chiller system for their 1.5T and 3.0T MRI scanners. They expected a solution that would live up to Toshiba Medical’s long-standing and trusted brand reputation, and we were up for the challenge.
The biggest challenge with their existing MRI chiller systems included difficulties meeting a need for consistent uptime: if the chillers’ starting temperature was too hot, the chiller system couldn’t adequately cool the MRIs until the fluid was chilled to desired temperature. Each time an MRI chiller system prevented the scanner from being used, Toshiba Medical could face a bill upwards of $5,000. The new MRI chiller systems also needed to be reliable throughout a broad ambient temperature range, able to handle temperatures as low as -40˚ F and as high as 125˚ F while providing on demand cooling 24/7.
Drake Refrigeration Helps Toshiba Medical Keep Their Cool
To meet these requirements, we designed two air-cooled medical chillers to accommodate both sizes (1.5T and 3.0T) of Toshiba Medical’s MRI machines. To help maximize uptime, we engineered these solutions using robust and reliable USA-made components so that any parts required for future maintenance and repair could be obtained locally and implemented quickly. Additional uptime enhancements included manifold add-ons, auto-changeover redundant pumps, recirculation tank to pre-chill the glycol, heat load customizations, and custom controls.
To address the second challenge of accommodating Toshiba Medical’s broad ambient temperature range specification, we took a two-pronged approach. First, we oversized the air-cooled copper tube/ aluminum fin condenser to ensure it could handle the high ambient temperature of 125˚F. Next, we accounted for the low ambient temperature requirement of -40˚F by including a liquid receiver with flooded head pressure controls to accommodate the larger condenser medical chillers for the 3.0T MRI machines.
A Warm Reception for Chilly Results
After testing our medical chillers’ performance, Toshiba Medical concluded that our systems resulted in an exceptionally high 99.4% uptime rate, meeting and exceeding their expectations. Without concerns over excessive downtime, the medical facilities using Toshiba Medical’s MRI machines can better care for their patients, knowing that the scanners will work when they’re needed the most. Throughout our 8-year plus relationship, we provided medical chillers for Toshiba Medical 1.5T and 3.0T MRIs for more than 400 hospitals, imaging centers, and other facilities throughout the country.