How to Buy an X-ray Machine

– Hi, I’m Rich Cisek, and
welcome to Quick Tips With Rich, your inspection resource on the internet. In today’s installment,
we’re gonna be talking about how to buy an X-Ray machine. (upbeat music) There’s a lot of information
that you have to amass and we’re gonna make it simple, right. This is a very approachable topic, it’s very easy to get well informed, and we encourage everyone to read our X-Ray Inspection machine white paper, which details a lot of the concepts that I’m talking about today in a little bit more nuanced fashion. So what’s important? Well first, let’s
consider your application. So, you know, are you inspecting cans? Are you inspecting glass? Am I inspecting jars,
am I inspecting cans, am I inspecting raw product,
am I inspecting protein? Because there’s expertise in
every one of those applications that you wanna make sure
that the vendor has. And even if you’re just inspecting boxes, there’s still information
about and engineering data about how well that system integrates into your line that’s important. These are not commodity products, it’s not one size fits all,
and as the technology evolves there’s fine-tuning that we
can do in your application to get even better performance, and I’ll talk a little
bit about that later, but flexibility of machine
design’s extremely important, so that if you’re
inspecting one thing today but your marketing department
comes down and says hey, like, we need to sell this, you can still inspect
that with the same machine that you bought for the prior product. So that’s a very important concept, we’ll come back and cover it in a little more detail in a minute. Okay, so next thing is
sort of real world needs. And what I mean by this is
you want to make sure that whatever machine you buy is
gonna be able to reliably meet whatever quality specifications
you have for your product. And when you look at test reports, it’s extremely important to understand what specifically the vendor’s doing to demonstrate the
equipment and to make sure you have confidence that
those performance capabilities are achievable in the system you’re buying in your own plant. The other things that are
important are obviously speed, things like conveyance, all that goes into designing
and selecting the system that’s gonna work well for you, and you just wanna make sure that when you install the system you get to demonstrate
the performance you bought and you don’t have to work
through a lot of issues. The other thing that I would emphasize is, there are some applications
that are difficult to simulate in a lab, and so again, make sure that you understand that because sometimes when
we do things in the lab like imagine for a hot, boiling product that’s hot filled, we can’t
always 100% simulate that. Our software does have special correction capability
for that when it happens, so it doesn’t create false rejects, but that’s just an
example of something that if you really can’t 100% do it in a lab, understand why not, and what that means on what you might see when
you install the machine. All right, next is the machine design. So this is, you know, a big
piece of what you’re buying. So fundamentally, X-ray
machines are components, just like a lot of other
systems that you buy, but they’re designed in
an integrated fashion to deliver the capability that you need. And the reason that some
of these systems are more expensive is because
a lot more work goes into designing and proving
that they can operate as they’re supposed to function. So for example, every
X-ray tube that we buy is performance tested to make sure it will meet the criteria that we have. And all that extra engineering work results in a much more reliable machine, but it also makes the machine
slightly more expensive, but the end result is a
much better package for you, which is important because when I get back to the real world need
issue, make sure that reliability is clearly understood. So we’ll cover this in
a little bit longer, and second, it’s important, right, you wanna make sure that
whatever you’re buying, if it needs maintenance and service, your partner’s response to those issues is consistent with what you need. If your expectation is you’re running 24/7 and you have one session of
downtime every two months, you don’t want a vendor that says normally our service
response time is two weeks, right, that’s not gonna work for you. Okay, so machine design. Make sure that you really
understand how the machine is going to meet the
needs of your application. And that is completely confident to you in terms of specifics. All right, let’s talk a little bit more about reliability and warranty. So we started to talk
about it a second ago, and there are a lot of
warranties on X-ray machines. And some of them sound really good because they’re very broad, our warranty process is extremely simple. The expensive components in the machine, the tube and the detector, have slightly different warranties because one is more usage
driven than the other. The X-ray tube has a three-year warranty on our side view machines,
it’s unconditional. Which means if the machine
tube breaks at any point in that warranty, you get a new one. Most people in the marketplace
have a prorated warranty, which means you pay based
on how much you’ve used. The other thing that I would say is related to reliability is spare parts. So our spare parts are stocked worldwide, we have very specific
commitments we make the customers on how much they’ll be readily available, but the point is they are available and for tubes and detectors,
the warranty doesn’t start until you put the
components in the machine. This is our way of giving you comfort if you buy some spare
parts, if you use them five years later and for
some reason something happens to it five minutes after
it’s in the machine, you don’t have sunk costs on something that’s out of warranty,
it makes perfect sense. Let’s talk a little bit about process, because that’s also extremely important. And process means a couple
of things in this case. One, what’s the process the customer uses to do your application engineering? Are the drawings and
documents they provide you consistent with your expectations? If you need custom engineering work, is that something that
the vendor can supply? Or is it simply hey, I’m buying a machine, here’s the drawing for the machine and the rest is up to you. Next is the testing process. We encourage all of our
customers to do FATs with us, we can even do them
remotely, but our point is making sure that you’re 100% confident when the machine ships,
it’s gonna work properly for the application you have in mind. And then there’s afterwords
shipment of process for training and support. And so how does the vendor do that? We have a very sophisticated
worldwide help desk staffed by people who are engineers and so no matter when you
call, someone who’s awake and working will help you
and we’re very obsessive about making sure we answer
the phone in about 30 seconds. And that’s something that’s
a huge differentiator, again, if you’re down,
every second counts. If you have something
that doesn’t work right, every second counts. And make sure that your customer,
your needs as a customer are well-supported by
that support process. If the people go home at
night or they page somebody, that may not be the most robust model for someone who has a critical
control point machine. Additional things about process, where are the machines made? So if you’re selecting a long-term vendor, it’s probably important if
you have a dynamic business like most food and beverage companies, you need a machine
quickly, that that vendor can meet your needs. If you’re launching a new product and your X-ray vendor says
hey, we can get you a machine in six months, and your
marketing department wants to launch in the next week, that’s a difficult situation to resolve, and so we work very
hard with our customers to understand their tactical
and strategic business needs so that we can build the
machines when they need them. The last thing I wanna
talk a little bit about are quality management systems, and we’ve got a separate video
and presentation on this, but what we’re trying to
bring to the customer, and I’ll just, you know
just for simplicity I’ll write that here so we
got it, quality management. And what we mean by this is
we’ve put a lot of automation into our systems so that
they do a comprehensive job of proving that everything’s
properly inspected. A lot of customers want that information, if you have any regulatory need to provide that information
it’s part of a system that does that for you. And so as you’re looking at vendors, there are vendors that
specialize in certain parts of the market, some people
do just top-down machines, we build every type of
X-ray machine imaginable, there are also some specialty applications that people do, again, we do
every application on Earth, and then if you need
a custom-built machine for something that no one else builds, we do those as well, and at
a very competitive price. And so hopefully this gives you some sense of what you’re buying when
you buy an X-ray machine and some insight into why some are more expensive than others,
but the last thing I’ll say is that you wanna make sure that
when you look at the machine the total cost of value and ownership works for your organization,
so if you’re inspecting glass at very high speeds and
something goes wrong, the opportunity cost of that is huge. So if you’re working
with a vendor that has a more expensive machine
that lowers the risk, that makes perfect sense, right, because you have a much better overall risk-assessed delivery than you do with somebody who’s got a cheaper machine but you’re worried it’s gonna break down, it’s not going to work. And so as you’re looking at this, we’re very transparent
about this kind of thing, we can tell you how long
components are gonna last, and we can give you a lot of confidence around what it’s like to own the machine. So thank you for your time, it’s been great talking to you today. And if you like this
video, please remember to subscribe to our YouTube,
LinkedIn, and Twitter content for more rich information
about how to make your inspection process better. (upbeat music)

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published