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Maximizing Clinical Availability and Performance with System Connectivity

For over 30 years Elekta has been responsible for introducing many market leading, critical technological advances in radiation oncology. Elekta’s Linear Accelerators support a range of pre-configured and optional delivery techniques, providing the physician with the flexibility to tailor the treatment to suit the needs of each individual patient. Remote access was unavailable on complex devices and Elekta was unable to understand machine performance based on real data, which meant the company could not respond immediately to customer problems. This, in turn, meant that Elekta was unable to detect and solve problems on the spot, restricting the company to a reactive service model. A typical patient treatment schedule could require daily treatment for a period of 4-6 weeks, making machine uptime extremely important. Given the complexity of the device and the amount of data that would need to be collected, it was obvious that an automated solution was required. The infrastructure would need the ability to manage the data volume from the devices and also provide a platform that would scale in both size and complexity. “When a customer buys a service agreement, what they are buying is system uptime. They are buying the ability to consistently deliver treatment… patient to patient,” says Martin Gilday, Vice President of Services at Elekta. “Service is not simply a single engineer with a trunk load of parts, but a full portfolio of technical expertise delivered via multiple channels...it’s a big change in the way that you think about service.” Elekta’s success has been built upon innovative engineering, which led to a culture of in-house work. As the company matured and grew, it realized that this was not necessarily the most effective way of working. With the complexity of the product itself, internal engineering expertise would be crucial to solve the company’s service challenges. While the product itself was unique, the methodologies and best practices of accessing and servicing the product were based on industry standards. When customers have service issues that need to be resolved, machine data must be collected and interpreted, and engineers need a deep level of skills and understanding. An integrated solution that brought the data, knowledge, and skills together in a highly connected environment was required. “Customers see connectivity as providing efficiency gains,” says Bruce Fullerton, Vice President of Service and Support. “Their key performance indicators are based around how many customers they can treat in a given space of time.”

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  • SUPPLIER
  • PTC
    PTC is a global provider of technology platforms and solutions that transform how companies create, operate, and service the "things" in the Internet of Things (IoT). The company's next-generation ThingWorx technology platform gives developers the tools they need to capture, analyze, and capitalize on the vast amounts of data being generated by smart, connected products and systems. The company's field-proven solutions are deployed in more than 26,000 businesses worldwide to generate a product or service advantage. PTC's award-winning CEO, considered an industry thought leader, co-authored the definitive guides to the impact of the IoT on business in the Harvard Business Review.
  • INDUSTRIES
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • FUNCTIONS
  • Maintenance
  • CUSTOMER
  • Elekta is a human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. The company develops sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery, and brachytherapy. Additionally, the company creates workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Elekta is a $750 million company that employs approximately 3,500 employees worldwide.

  • CONNECTIVITY PROTOCOLS
  • SOLUTION
  • Elekta chose PTC® Axeda® software as the technology behind Elekta IntelliMax™, an Intelligent Device Management (IDM) system. The system directly addresses three significant challenges faced by healthcare providers: reducing operational costs, improving customer service, and increasing equipment uptime. Implementing PTC Axeda software and remote connectivity enables a clear information display on Elekta’s device dashboard, helping with the knowledge comfort level of individual users. Additionally, the ability to trigger notifications based on alarms allows for predictive maintenance, which means that potential issues can be identified, and possibly resolved, almost immediately before they cause a service interruption. If an engineer needs to visit a customer site, potential solutions can be identified in advance, assisting the Field Service Engineer (FSE) in resolving the problem when they first arrive. Together, PTC Axeda software and the Elekta Intellimax tool enable a number of valuable service strategies and processes. Automated alerts will advise the FSEs of potential problems, which can be used to diagnose the machine. The use of Intellimax can be integrated into Elekta’s Service Desk environment and enable an immediate response to customer service requests. “Connecting our devices has become an enabler for predictive maintenance,” says Gilday. “This means that we can identify and resolve potential issues before they become a service interruption to our customers. If a problem does occur, we can investigate the issue, identify potential solutions, and assist the FSE to swiftly resolve the problem.”

  • DATA COLLECTED
  • Accuracy, Connectivity Status, Medical Diagnostic Instruments, Precision, Uptime
  • SOLUTION TYPE
  • SOLUTION MATURITY
  • Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
  • OPERATIONAL IMPACT
  • Impact #1
    [Efficiency Improvement - Operation]
    Increased system uptime and patient throughput
    Impact #2
    [Data Management - Data Analysis]
    Improved product design through machine reliability data analysis
    Impact #3
  • QUANTITATIVE BENEFIT
  • Benefit #1

    20% of service requests resolved remotely without the need for an onsite visit

  • USE CASES
  • Process Control & Optimization (PCO)
    Process Control and Optimization (PCO) is the discipline of adjusting a process to maintain or optimize a specified set of parameters without violating process constraints.The PCO market is being driven by rising demand for energy efficient production processes, safety and security concerns, and the development of IoT systems that can reliably predict process deviations.Fundamentally, there are three parameters that can be adjusted to affect optimal performance:- Equipment optimizationThe first step is to verify that the existing equipment is being used to its fullest advantage by examining operating data to identify equipment bottlenecks.- Operating proceduresOperating procedures may vary widely from person-to-person or from shift-to-shift. Automation of the plant can help significantly. But automation will be of no help if the operators take control and run the plant in manual.- Control optimizationIn a typical processing plant, such as a chemical plant or oil refinery, there are hundreds or even thousands of control loops. Each control loop is responsible for controlling one part of the process, such as maintaining a temperature, level, or flow. If the control loop is not properly designed and tuned, the process runs below its optimum. The process will be more expensive to operate, and equipment will wear out prematurely. For each control loop to run optimally, identification of sensor, valve, and tuning problems is important. It has been well documented that over 35% of control loops typically have problems. The process of continuously monitoring and optimizing the entire plant is sometimes called performance supervision.
  • SOFTWARE
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