IMS (Internazionale Medico Scientifica) Giotto S.p.A., founded in 1965, designs and manufactures high-tech mammography equipment and related devices for breast biopsy, x-ray accessories, and professional radiography. Known throughout the world for the quality and high technology of its radiological units, IMS is headquartered in Pontecchio Marconi, in the province of Bologna, with a 4,500 m2 factory and about 60 employees - some of whom are located in France, in a recently opened subsidiary.
The company's strong forward progress and innovation is developed by the large group of technicians and researchers who make up the research and development department, as well as by numerous collaborations established with researchers from leading Italian and foreign universities and also by the substantial technological investments. The know-how of the Emilia-based company is exported abroad for 85 percent of its production, reaching more than 50 countries around the world. A major commitment at the commercial level has enabled IMS to make its way into emerging markets in South America and the Far East and to facilitate a breakthrough in the North American and Canadian markets.
The customer base is heterogeneous, ranging from small private practices to large university hospitals and national and international healthcare institutions.
How did the collaboration with Ever Elettronica begin?
Piero Frascaroli (project manager IMS electronics): We started working with Ever Elettronica right from the early stages of designing the new Giotto line of devices, around the beginning of the 2000s. Even back then, Ever Elettronica's presence in the component market of complete motion control solutions was remarkable and very appreciable from a technical point of view. At that time the quest for a stepper motor for a new machine function was the reason for the first informal contacts, which later turned into an excellent professional cooperation. The motor then proposed to us by Ever Elettronica turned out to be the most suitable for our needs and was therefore chosen. The cooperation is now more than a decade old.
What are the types of Ever products you use?
Over the time we have progressed from small permanent magnet stepper motors PM35 series, to hybrid stepper motors MT23 series, and lately we have come to the use of Ever Elettronica stepper motor drives, from the simplest step/direction model LW1D, to the drive with fieldbus and on-board intelligence, model M5A. Ever Elettronica products have therefore been installed on our products since 2001, in detail on the Image series mammograms - starting with the more traditional Giotto Image, with image on radiological film, then from 2004 on the Giotto Image SD model, the first generation of devices with full-field digital technology; arriving, from 2008 onwards, on the Giotto Image 3D, the second generation of digital devices, and then from the second half of 2011 on the new and innovative Giotto Tomosynthesis, a digital breast tomosynthesis device.
During this decade our line of amographs has advanced by making huge steps in machine technology, and Ever Elettronica has been with us with its products in the development of this evolution. The characteristic application of Ever Elettronica's product is one in which the M5A intelligent fieldbus drive realizes the so-called SCS function, an acronym for Sensitive Compression System: where compression force is exerted on the anatomical part of the patient being examined, the movement of the compression system is finely tuned in torque and speed, also using the on-board intelligence functions of the Ever Elettronica drive. In addition, the hardware and software features of the drive were used to increase an additional level of safety in controlling the movement of the machine part that is in direct contact with the patient, thus a very critical machine part.
What has been the competitive advantage of Ever Electronics products?
The evaluation of the components to be used on the medical device takes into consideration many aspects, both strictly technical and of reliability and support capability on the part of the manufacturer, as well as of the commercial supply channel. The convergence of favorable evaluations with respect to the totality of these aspects directed our choice to Ever Elettronica. In addition, for the construction characteristics of medical equipment in general and of our mammographs in particular, IMS implements from time to time a very thorough supplier search and evaluation, since it is often necessary to use components and solutions with marked characteristics of dimensional compactness and performance efficiency. Ever Elettronica components have often been decisive in the realization of certain machine functions, while also providing excellent value for money.
How do you rate the technical and service level?
The collaboration has been both rewarding and fruitful. Where we have sometimes reported issues regarding integration with electronics or control software of our devices, we have been able to count on the direct support of Ever Elettronica technicians and developers, even going so far as to carry out tests on the components chosen for a device with the active presence of Ever technicians at our site.