VCA Technology Enables Ultrasound Elastography

Mar16_BEIBEI Kimco Magnetics has risen to the challenge of meeting the demanding requirements for an ultrasound elastography application using voice coil actuator (VCA) technology. Elastography is a painless and non-invasive medical imaging technique that measures the elasticity of tissue to provide diagnostic information about the presence or status of disease. It functions by vibrating the underlying tissue through mechanical excitation to propagate shear waves. These waves can then be measured to assess – for example, liver tissue elasticity – aiding in the diagnosis of various stages of liver fibrosis. This method of mechanical vibration has proven particularly more effective in evaluating tissue stiffness of obese patients over other ultrasound elastography technologies.

With elastography emerging as an advanced and very cost effective diagnostic tool, medical manufacturers are seeking ways to incorporate VCA technology into standard ultrasound probe designs. The resulting probe would enable practitioners to switch from ultrasound imaging to elastography as required.

Key to the product’s design specification was a device that would deliver a high force in frequencies up to 75 Hz in a small enough size to mount onto the manufacturer’s existing ultrasound probe. Solenoids and other technologies were too slow to meet the frequency requirements.

BEI Kimco’s miniature linear voice coil actuator, LA10-08-000A, proved to be the right solution. It not only provides the 75 Hz frequency, but also fits within the compact footprint, with measurements of 1 inch in diameter and 0.8 inch in length. In addition, it has a peak force of 6.67 Newtons.

“The capabilities demonstrated by our linear VCA in this application open up new possibilities of innovation for the medical industry,” said Scott Best, BEI Kimco Midwest Regional Sales Manager. “A small device that provides a strong force in a very consistent, high speed manner can be used in many types of medical equipment, such as ventilators, probes, blood analyzers and lab equipment.”