10 June 2005

South Africa: Digital X-Ray Machine Selling Like Hot Cakes

Johannesburg — GLOBAL sales of a medical scanner that has its roots in the South African mining industry are set to rise steeply, distributor Lodox said yesterday.

The company broke into the African market with a R12m order from Sudan for four of the scanners, called Statscans, it said yesterday.

Lodox marketing executive Rodney Sandwith said Lodox hoped to triple total sales next year from about R25m last year.

It has already sold systems to the US and Middle East, and launched it in Europe this week. Three Statscans are in operation in SA.

The original version of the scanner was designed by De Beers to detect stolen gems hidden by mine employees.

The system takes accurate digital X-rays of the entire human body in only 13 seconds. The equivalent result, using a conventional X-ray device, required a series of scans that could take up to 45 minutes, the Lodox marketing executive said.

The Statscan's speed makes it particularly useful for medical emergencies.

Lodox has sold the technology to 10 US hospitals and medical centres and a hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

Lodox is owned by De Beers, the Industrial Development Corporation, Netcare, empowerment group Community Healthcare and venture capital company Horizon Equity.

In the US last year, the system was incorporated in a prototype emergency room that is expected to become the standard in that country following the September 11 2001 attacks against New York and Washington.

Sandwith said customers so far had been "extremely happy" with the system.

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