Made in the Northwest: X-Ray Support
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — X-Ray Support was founded in 1985, servicing and maintaining dental equipment for film processing.
But when owner Jim Jacobson says when he joined his father’s business, “I immediately recognized that maybe there’s a better way of doing this than running through all these racks and rollers and all this mechanism.”
And so, rather than moving the film, which can be harmful to it, X-Ray Support developed the ImageMax.
“We instead leave the film stationary and then move the chemistry to the film,” explains Jacobson. “And by doing that, we just solved all these problems. And what remains for the doctor and the staff is just perfectly developed x-rays with no roller marks. No artifacts on the film.”
But in our digital world, Jacobson says there’s a reluctance from dental offices to spend money on film.
“But we’re slowly working through that. We’re slowly getting people to understand that film is still superior.”
For one, film is very thin, while Jacobson says the digital sensors dentists put in patients’ mouths are typically very thick.
“They’re not flexibile, so they’re kind of painful for the patient,” he says.
He also says film provides better image detail. While digital sensors can see about ten line pairs per millimeter, film can see more than 20 pairs. When showing a dentist the comparison, says Jacobson, “His response was something to the effect that, ‘I had forgotten how good film was.'”
Seven years ago, X-Ray Support put out another product the Quick Shot. It’s essentially a scanner with a special camera that digitizes film images as soon as you slide the tray in.
“One second capture, compared to a five minute capture,” says Jacobson. “It’s very quick. Dental offices have limited amount of time to spend scanning film, so this makes their job very fast.”
Switching to digital sensors can cost a dental office $50,000 or more. But buying an ImageMax and a Quick Shot together costs just $4,000.
The Quick Shot is built completely at X-Ray Support’s headquarters in Spokane Valley. But the ImageMax is built by another Made in the Northwest company, Tate Technology.
“They have all the staff and the parts management. Things like that that allows us to build the machine very efficiently over there. So it allows us to do what we do best and that’s sell equipment.”
The two machines are already sold across the country. And Jacobson hopes someday,”We’re going to go international. We’ve already got a few machines up in Canada, but we’re going to go to as many countries as we can.”
Spreading his gospel that film is still superior to digital for x-rays.
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