(28 June 2011). Luvata, a world leader in metal solutions manufacturing and engineering services, has announced today that it is expanding its Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) superconducting wire and cable business in Zhongshan, China. The new facility will be housed in a newly leased 50,000 sq. foot building dedicated entirely to the manufacture of superconducting wire and cable to meet growing demand for MRI machines.
“Luvata’s superconductor expansion in Zhongshan, China is one more example of our strategy to focus on emerging markets and technology-driven, high value-added products and solutions. We are committed to our partners and to growing the availability of the latest MRI technology worldwide. Over the next five years, we plan to double our sales of MRI superconducting wire,” says John Peter Leesi, Luvata CEO.
Although efficiency improvements boost growth in mature markets, Luvata sees the global MRI market growing by 6% annually with a significant portion of this growth coming from developing countries. The MRI market in Asia-Pacific holds enormous growth potential, particularly from countries with large populations such as India and China. Demand for this region is driven by the increasing need for better physical access to the latest MRI technology and the ability to bring it closer to patients who need it.
Introduced in the 1980s, the non-invasive MRI is the winning technology over ultrasound, general X-ray, and computer tomography (CT) and today offers views of the entire human body. New imaging modalities continue to emerge and widen the application scope of MRIs, moving from disease-cause-detection to monitoring the progress of treatment, which results in more scans per illness. The growing application for MRI images is also propelling the need for higher field strength magnets that offer superior image quality. Higher-field strength MRI machines with a larger bore for better patient access and comfort increases the length of wire needed for the magnet in a MRI system.
“The new 50,000 square foot superconductor facility combines the latest manufacturing equipment and technology with the experience and dedication of Luvata’s superconducting wire expertise,” continues Leesi. “This brand new facility will offer our employees a pleasant and safe work environment, while adding adequate floor space to optimize our lean or Luvata Production System principles and enable us to triple our capacity of superconducting wire.”
The superconductor facility was previously located within Luvata’s Zhongshan Tube facility just ten minutes away, from the new building, where the finishing touches are currently underway. Installation of the new equipment is scheduled to be complete by the end of this year, with production beginning in the first quarter of 2012.
Luvata is a recognized leader in the supply of superconducting wire for medical diagnostic systems, high energy physics projects, and related applications where quality, delivery and performance are critical. In 2010 Luvata was awarded a $10 million contract by CEA Saclay in France to supply superconductor cable for the world’s strongest MRI machine at 11.75 Tesla, 4 – 10 times more powerful than conventional MRI machines. The CEA Saclay project is expected to achieve new insights into brain activity and pinpoint the causes of Alzheimer’s.
Luvata is the leading international metals supplier of solutions, services, components and materials for manufacturing and construction. Luvata’s solutions are used in industries such as renewable energy, power generation, architecture, automotive, transport, medicine, air-conditioning, industrial refrigeration, consumer products and construction. The company’s continued success is attributed to its longevity, technological excellence and strategy of building partnerships beyond metals. Employing over 7,000 staff in 18 countries, Luvata works in partnership with customers such as Siemens, Toyota, CERN, Shaaz, and DWD International.