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First hi-tech X-ray tube rolls off the line in Adelaide

Manufacturing

Australian hi-tech company Micro-X has rolled out the first of its lightweight mobile X-ray carts fitted with its own in-house designed and manufactured X- ray tube.

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The X-ray tubes are the world’s first to be electronically controlled and contain a unique carbon nanotube emitter designed by Micro-X in collaboration with South Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

The September 17 launch coincides with the opening of Micro-X’s expanded facilities at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in Adelaide, South Australia.

Micro-X has achieved strong growth since launching its first mobile X-ray product in 2017, the DRX Revolution Nano, which is marketed by US company Carestream Health.

The digital medical X-ray system is aimed at the rapidly expanding market for bedside imaging in hospitals and mobile healthcare. It
is a fraction of the size, weight and cost of its competitors and has already been sold into 10 countries around the world.

This year Micro-X also signed an AU$10 million deal with defence company Thales Group to develop mobile X-ray products for security purposes.

Thales and Micro-X will collaborate on the global sales and support of Micro-X’s counter-terrorism Mobile Backscatter Imager of Improvised Explosive Devices and an airport checkpoint security scanner.

Micro-X is also developing a “Rover” mobile X-ray product for military field hospitals.

“Many organisations around the world have been trying for years to create this new kind of X-ray source, smaller and lighter than anything seen before, but we are delighted to win that race and be the first company in the world to bring a FDA approved medical imager to market with this technology” said Peter Rowland, Micro-X’s founder and Managing Director.

“This exciting innovation, the first in X-ray sources for 150 years, will revolutionise global X-ray imaging.

“Our carbon nanotube source is like a ‘LED globe’ where everyone else is still using old-fashioned hot filaments. We’re all very proud this is an South Australian invention.”

The core of Micro-X’s revolutionary technology platform involves an X-ray tube containing a carbon nanotube (CNT) electron emitter originally manufactured by American tech company XinRay.

The X-ray tube was the world’s first and only not to use heated-filament electron emission which is the key to reducing size, weight, heat and power.

Micro-X took two years to develop its own proprietary CNT emitter and is the second company capable of manufacturing CNT-based X-ray tubes globally.

The expanded Tonsley facilities were officially opened today by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.

“It’s great to see a local company exporting this cutting-edge technology from our state,” Premier Marshall said.

“These X-ray units are in use all over the world, and Micro-X is already working on its next products to create more jobs and export opportunities.”

Since establishing in the Tonsley Innovation Precinct in 2015, Micro-X has expanded rapidly from a start-up to a multi-national trading company.

Tonsley is on the site of a former Mitsubishi car manufacturing plant in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. It is Australia’s first innovation hub and brings together advanced manufacturing companies, university STEM programs, renewable energy leaders and hi-tech pacesetters in the one precinct.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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