St. Petersburg company "Electron" accumulated strengths of scientific engineering schools of several defense enterprises of Leningrad, including the famous LOMO. Fifteen years after the collapse of the Union company was able to capitalize on the world market the unique competence of the Soviet "defense" of engineers and entered the top ten suppliers of components for medical X-ray equipment.
Thus, the "Elektron" gained access to technologies other leading manufacturers of components, which the company did not have and is unlikely to ever be able to create their own. Now the "Elektron" can do the most technically complex systems in their area.
Angiography — CAF (the first national digital angiography, established in 2009)
equipped angiography in the operating surgical treatment of the most common vascular pathologies, including preventing heart attacks and strokes
Now the company is ready to integrate these systems into their own innovation. Due to this, in the "electronic" has a chance to rise to the highest level in the hierarchy of high-tech medical world — on a par with Siemens, General Electric and Philips.
Cinema for doctors
The company "Electron" began in 1989 with three enthusiasts who Michael Elinson, while the head of the laboratory complex systems LOMO, sparked the idea to create a system of imaging for endoscopes — top box that would allow the endoscopist to study the interior of a patient on a TV screen instead of to, squinting one eye, examine them through the eyepiece of the endoscope tube. Enthusiasts have organized a co-op and began implementing his idea in the kitchen, in their spare time.
Competence optometrists electronics and mechanics involved in the LOMO video systems, more than enough for you to make the first in the Soviet Union, a compact endoscopic video camera, light source, a television set and a VCR to record a special study. Later innovators have developed a set of adapters and more to their console Visualizer can be used with endoscopes of different firms (endoscopes in Soviet hospitals were almost all imported) — so the system became universal.
The product went on to cheer. "We were the pioneers in the field of imaging and endoscopic images at all in the implementation of this technique," — says Michael Elinson, CEO of "electronic".
In 1991, when the medicine came in laparoscopy (unlike traumatic abdominal operations the new technology allows access to any body through small incisions), elektronovtsy "otelevizionili" and its — in Russian hospitals has several thousand laparoscopic racks.
By the time the team of "electronic" has grown to forty people. "We did not have any sufficient entrepreneurial skills, nor the proper level of management, but despite that, he was a very productive period, — says Alexander Elinson, CEO of the company. — The medical director was interesting to explore and develop new treatments, they were willing to touch. In this case, they had a free hand — health care was not as heavily regulated as it is now. So much has been done on the enthusiasm — the enthusiasm of manufacturers, leading surgeons and scientists. "
In 1993, the founder of the business decided it was time for a more serious technological projects. "I realized that in order to grow, we need to do something more fundamental, more knowledge-intensive" — says Michael Elinson. This "something" was the first national radiology apparatus — equipment that allows you to control the course of the operation in real time. "Radiology unit may revolve around the patient, who is lying on the operating table under anesthesia, — says Alexander Elinson. — It allows the surgeon to directly during the operation to capture any body in any plane and see the results of surgical procedures on the screen. "
No one from the team of "electronic" X-ray techniques have not been studied. Buy and dismantle import apparatus of similar purpose elektronovtsy also could not — they said it was insanely expensive. However, very heavy at first glance the task of ex-"defense" Engineers are not scared. On the contrary, she added them to drive: the radiology complex was developed and put on production in just four months. "For such a short time managed to create a completely new device — a complicated system, which at that time were able to do only a few companies in the world", — says Alexander Elinson.
Access to imported elemental base for X-ray equipment at the Russian producers was not there, so they had to do everything ourselves — and high-voltage power supply, and the complex mechanics of synchronous movements of the tripod, and the x-ray image intensifier, and a memory unit, and a control system. His forces produced as the entire production tools, and even some of the production equipment. "I call it a miracle in the history of the" electronic "," — said Alexander Elinson.
In the same 1993 "Electron" received the order directly on 30 freshly complexes radiology unit wished to have in their operational trauma surgeons, transplant surgeons, endoscopists, surgeons and physicians of many other specialties. So endovascular technique has become the second major focus of the company.
What happened to the "electronic", "miracle" is quite logical explanation. By the time of the events described in the group "Electron" poured several dozen people from KB Leningrad defense companies, including "Positron", which made television sets and video equipment for the defense industry and famous for its electronicians. These were not the armchair designers, who will finish the next pack of drawings, put them on the shelf. It was the practice of engineers who are able to translate the drawings in the "hardware" — to run their projects into production under the supervision of the military representatives picky.
When the project is the creation of the complex endovascular already gone part of the way to work connected Anatoly Mazur, while Chief of the Institute of Medicine telesystems for television, and now the Deputy Director General of the "electronic" in science. Since his arrival the team received technology X-ray image intensifier tubes (REOP) — a key element of the X-ray technology, which first converts x-rays into visible light, and then the light — into an electrical signal. The last and outputs a "picture".
Thus an "e" formed a symbiosis of several strong engineering schools.
The second key component of elektronovskogo miracle — a talented manager. Michael Elinson during the LOMO oversaw the creation of mobile television systems for the Ostankino — coordinated large-scale creative process, which involved a huge number of developers from different institutions and enterprises. In addition to the management experience Michael Elinson had also undisputed leader in vain — all around him grow together, sew develop.
In 1998, "Electron" mastered the production of X-ray machines. With them, the company has taken a niche that was released three old Soviet factory X-ray equipment that were not able to survive in the market conditions. A year later elektronovtsy made digital fluorograph — X-ray diagnostic apparatus for chest films.
With these three rulers in demand in the medical equipment market, "Electron" was a solid high-tech firm. "We were the only one at that time of the company
in Russia, which is selling the device, just a week putting it into operation and trained staff. Other suppliers could stand idle for months — installers took to drink in the hospital, trying to get it to work ", — says Alexander Elinson. As a result, devices for "electronic" lined up, and over the next five years, the company has doubled sales every year. By 2003, it exceeded a hundred units per year.
Let’s make it work
On the world market, "Electron" was released in Russia because of rampant tuberculosis. In the second half of 1990 the Ministry of Health obsessed with the problem and ordered the domestic producers, several hundred fluorographs — to equip them all TB clinic and health center of the country. "Electron" and won several tenders under the guarantee of the government demand has developed for its fluorograph digital CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) X-ray detectors.
Now on the basis of this type of detectors is a significant part of the digital X-ray equipment, and while digital technology was just beginning to come into the industry. In this sense, the anti-tuberculosis campaign minzdravovskaya happened just in time, "Electron" digital detector has created one of the first in the world. Due to a number of technical advantages and relative cheapness and is quite competitive in the global market. "In the world of digital production detectors had just launched, many manufacturers have been serious problems with the timing of deliveries, and the quality was very low, — says Alexander Elinson. — We have the quality was high. In this case, our detector was inexpensive, it was provided service and therefore enjoyed good demand. "
By 2007, "Electron" as a provider of digital CCD-detectors has become a recognized player in the world of medical technology industry. "Within the framework of the project" Health ", we have created a new generation of digital CCD-detectors and are successfully selling them all over the world — from Western Europe to China, — says Alexander Elinson. — According to the results of the past year, our company ranks second in the world by number of units sold of this type. "
History of tuberculosis — a clear example of a long-term policy of the state in a particular area of health. It is important that the government order for flyuorografy allowed private businesses to create and launch a series of product is quite high technological level. "This is an example of where the state is something long and system reclaims and this demand creates the industry, there are certain industry innovations, and these innovations can be used not only here, but around the world," — said Alexander Elinson.
Second successful export product, "Electron" was the service integrator X-ray equipment.
For a long time, the St. Petersburg group were not even aware that it may be of value to someone, especially on the world market: the engineers of the Soviet defense industry the ability to "make it work" seemed self-evident and even banal. But, as it turned out, the market for heavy X-ray equipment, consisting of modules, cubes of different manufacturers, this feature is in short supply. "We are all engineers. We thought, put together a system from components — well, that this may be difficult? To realize that these skills can be our self-competence, and this competence is very popular in the market, it took us a few years ", — says Alexander Elinson.
Today, it is all the world knows that the "Electron" is not a simple provider components: Russian engineers to easily integrate sophisticated X-ray complexes of their own and other modules, blocks, and in some cases taking on more and function of engineering. In the company of these three persons present in the markets of 30 countries. "Buying from us is one component of our consumers get more and service integration, and as a result — a working system. In addition, we are one of the few parts suppliers who train staff, "- said Alexander Elinson.
This strategy has provided us a breakthrough: in 2010, the "Elektron" entered the top ten of the world’s leading manufacturers of components for X-ray equipment (by the time the company’s revenue reached $ 50 million, and exports — $ 8 million). As a member of the "club favorite", "Electron" got access to the latest technologies created by other international manufacturers, including the key, about the lack of which has stumbled many Russian enthusiasts who were trying to create a world-class technology.
With the best technology, "Electron" was able to successfully implement an innovative project of an entirely different level — to create the first national angiographic complex.
X-ray or life
Angiography — X is an operating system that allows the monitor to visualize all the internal cavities primarily in the blood vessels of an organ, including the heart and brain. Using angiography, surgery can be performed most common vascular pathologies. For example, if within two to four hours after a heart attack to drop off a man equipped angiography and operating under the control of the operation to the jewelry — enter the occluded stent thrombus or atherosclerotic plaque vessel necrosis of heart tissue (that’s him in the home called a heart attack) is not going to happen . And potentially cripple the next day, go home almost healthy. The same thing can be done to prevent stroke, with the only difference being that a person with acute stroke on the way to the angiography just 40 minutes — a maximum of an hour.
As in the case of the radiology unit, at a new stage of its development, "Electron" took the most difficult task. "When we have once again started thinking about where to develop further, they came to the conclusion that the most difficult thing that exists today in X-ray diagnostics — is angiography," — said Alexander Elinson. The technical complexity of angiography due to the high level of responsibility for the life of the patient. "Angiography — the only technology in X-rays, which is directly connected with human life. So there are high demands on reliability engineering — if the operation goes and something suddenly fails — other angiograph of neighboring office is not rolled, — says Alexander Elinson. — Hence the need for backup power and everything to do with the software: the computer program does not have the right to fail. "
Looks angiographic X-operating very impressive. A massive block of high-voltage electronics, generating high power pulses; complex emitter, which is an X-ray tube with a rotating anode equipped with a cooling system; sensitive electrical engineering, responsible for the concerted movement of the components of the complex relative to each other — these and other design elements angiography are much more difficult and much more expensive all that "Electron" is still used in its X-ray complexes.
Making such a technique capable unit. "In the global market, companies that produce, for example, X-ray diagnostic apparatus, quite a lot — their number in the tens, — says Alexander Elinson. — What if we take the angiogram, there will be a "big four" — Siemens, General Electric, Phillips and Toshiba — and four or five companies that operate only in local markets and sell very little. "
Cubes for their
"Electron" spent on the creation of the first Russian angiography three years and more than 100 million rubles. Like all such systems in the world, elektronovsky angiograph is three-quarters of imported components — modules-cubes that "Electron" as a member of the "club of elite" was able to order from the world’s leading manufacturers — under their own, taking into account the specifics of the Russian, the concept of the unit.
is a very important point for those who want to repeat the success of "Electron": on the high-tech market to be "their" — necessary but not sufficient condition. We still understand very well how to construct that new system, the creation of which you swung and how it will work.
‘Standard modules-cubes on the market angiography does not exist. Kubik make any appointment in one embodiment, to Siemens, the other — for General Electric, in the third — for Phillips, and they are all different — explains Alexander Elinson. — The question is, are you able to articulate exactly what you need. If you possess a sufficient level of competence to impose requirements on the set, and you can issue a specification for a particular cube, TK and description of the interface — you do it without question. " But the application of the "do me the same cube which you do for Siemens» in this market do not pass.
To order abroad modules-cubes in the "electronic" developed a system for analyzing, processing and visualization of images, as well as control the entire complex — that is, created the "brains", without which the high import of technology would have remained a dead iron.
The innovative project was a success: even three elektronovskih complex rescue people in the country’s hospitals. In total, according to Alexander Elinson, in Russia today operates about 200-250 of such systems imported (the price of foreign models start at 45-50 million rubles, the domestic angiograph worth 35 million rubles), and the potential capacity of the Russian market angiography is two or three thousand complexes.
Underdevelopment of the domestic market — the main limitation that interferes with the "electronic" go up one more step in the global hierarchy of high-tech manufacturers — to become a global supplier of components is no longer, as of end systems, which the company sells far only in the domestic market.
Ahead and surprise
The strategic goal of the "electronic" — it on the market X-ray complexes, including angiography. This requires two things — a strong innovation and effective demand in the domestic market. "In less developed countries, we can supply our systems today. But to go out with them on a highly developed markets such as Europe, where angiographic technology has become routine — in any bolnichke any provincial town, the people in the PIS long stents put — they need something to surprise, to teach them something new "- says Michael Elinson.
Surprise advanced West "Electron" is going to fundamentally new digital X-ray receiver. For him, based on CMOS-technology (CMOS — complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) is a prototype model of the semiconductor matrix. It CMOS-technology will provide new detector a number of advantages compared to CCD: it will be highly sensitive and can give a very high resolution "picture" (hence, the doctor will get a lot more information.)
Another important advantage of the innovative device — speed: it is able to receive and process images in real time is very valuable, especially for operations using the angiographic systems. In addition, CMOS-technology will allow the new detector itself fulfill a number of important functions, while his fellow previous generations had this to connect additional external devices. For example, to control the dose to avoid unnecessary exposure to the patient. This is particularly important in sensitive areas such as cardiology, mammography and pediatrics.
Research work in this area were started in 2006 — then a promising technology trend saw Yuri Weipa, technical director of the company. Engineering flair elektronovtsev not deceived: today CMOS-technology detection and x-ray imaging is considered the most advanced in the industry. The "Electron", which has invested in research and development of several million euros and already has a prototype CMOS-matrix, is poised to become one of the world‘s technological leader in the field of digital flat panel CMOS-detectors in X-ray technology.
"This is a new direction not only for us, it is for the whole world new. And as long as the experimental samples of such m Dies enormous size — 24 by 30 inches and 35 by 43 centimeters — is only for us ", — says Alexander Elinson. Another small company that made something similar, but on two levels below the "Electron", in June of this year, the company bought a Perkin Elmer, which produces detectors for all equipment General Electric.
"Electron" is going to enter the world market with X-ray complexes on the basis of innovative CMOS-detector
Grow to the general electrical
At first elektronovtsy intend to speak for themselves in the familiar role of supplier components — it on the market an innovative detector. You can then try to get out into the world and with the final system based on this detector.
It is logical to enter the world market with angiography immediately — it is better to be one of the top ten manufacturers than one in a hundred. And the field is freer and more prestige. But Angiography "Electron" made while only three of them, but in order to build a full-scale production, it is necessary to issue a minimum of 100-150 such systems.
The fact that the organization of serial production in the high-tech necessarily involves the creation of original devices for the "automation" of the specific operations, which at first made by hand. Such devices are created only in the home, and do it only makes sense if you are going to launch a product for a long time and in large quantities.
For example, under flyuorografy elektronovtsy once designed and built stand for the calibration of optical lenses (special glass for the lenses brewed in Japan, harvesting it is made in Germany and refacing and finish grinding — in Belarus). Now this operation instead of 12 hours takes only 10-15 minutes. Who invented and made a non-standard device to automatically adjust the lens collected: instead of x-rays are used there incandescent bulbs. It is these seemingly minor elements of production infrastructure ensure consistent quality of complex equipment and reduce its cost.
Meet the demand for 100-150 so expensive systems can only state. As in the case of TB, we need long-term state program aimed at the prevention of cardiovascular disease and involves equipping of medical institutions in the country angiography. Working on government contracts, "Electron" could develop the technologies, reduce the cost of its CMOS-innovation and promote production. And then confidently went to the foreign market.