Siemens Healthineers is looking for a solution to assign a unique identifier to passive components within a Computed Tomography (CT) system. The identifier shall be readable without user interaction at a system deployed at a customer site. As the reader shall be integrated within each CT system, an optimized total-cost-of-ownership for the solution is sought.
It is state-of-the-art that components that have a communication channel (e.g. Ethernet, CAN) with the CT control system report a unique identifier, e.g. a serial number. Those identifiers are valuable for diagnostic purposes, because they are very reliable and can be correlated to errors detected by the system in the field.
But there are also passive components, e.g. cover parts, cables, accessories, mechanical support parts, which lack the infrastructure to report an identifier. It would be beneficial to be able to uniquely identify those components as well.
The read-out will be performed automatically at regular intervals (e.g. once a day) and the system need not be operational during the readout. The read-out of 50 tags shall take no longer than one minute.
Those requirements could be fulfilled by an RFID based solution, but those solutions have inherent disadvantages for us. First, the tags and readers are within a massive metal structure made from steel or aluminum, making the design and placement of tags and antennas tricky. Second, they require significant effort for the approval in every country the CT system is delivered to. Therefore, we are searching for non-RF solutions that do not have those problems.
The challenge faced for any solution is that it cannot be assumed that the tags on the components are visible from any point in space, because they may be located deep within the CT system. Also, it must be assumed that they are located near, directly above or within massive metal structures made from steel or aluminum. Further constraints are that the tags shall be resistant against x-ray (stray) radiation and may experience centrifugal forces of several 10g due to the rotation of the inner part of the CT system. The tags shall be maintenance-free for a life time of at least ten years under those conditions.
We are seeking partners that can provide a solution comprising
The main characteristics of a solution will be its total-cost-of-ownership per CT system, which is the combined cost of tags, reader, and additional infrastructure over the lifetime of the CT system. For calculation purposes it may be assumed that fifty passive components shall be read out and one thousand CT systems per year will be equipped with the solution.
Any RF-based solution. Any approach that requires a cable running to the tagged components. Any approach that requires user-interaction for the readout of the tags, e.g. handling of a reader, removal of cover parts.
We are looking for concise, non-confidential proposals. The proposal should:
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