developing vibration-free MRIs for cruise ships
As a specialist in the design, engineering and manufacturing of customised environmental control solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-user applications that suffer from environmental disturbances, Aalberts advanced mechatronics is able to deliver high-end components and meet challenging requirements when customers demand it. One area of expertise is vibration isolation, where Aalberts advanced mechatronics has developed a comprehensive portfolio of modules that can counter any seismic, acoustic or vibrational disturbance.
Many of today's cruise ships resemble floating towns, with the largest reaching a crew and passenger capacity of almost 8,500. For passengers, first-class sporting, entertainment and dining amenities are complemented by state-of-the-art medical facilities. Yet one issue cruise operators have struggled with is ensuring on-board MRI scanners can generate top-quality images when sailing. Not any longer. Aalberts and two external specialists have developed an MRI scanner that medical experts verify produces images of greater quality than those created onshore.
complex environmental factors
"It's extremely challenging to develop an MRI solution that generates perfect images on board a ship," says Roland Kappel, director of product development at Aalberts advanced mechatronics. "When it sails, a ship moves up and down and from left to right. At the same time, the engines create vibrations that resonate throughout the steel structure. To achieve a properly functioning MRI system, these very difficult environmental factors need to be compensated for or, preferably, neutralised."
range of challenges
To solve this problem, the MRI supplier had to fine-tune the system configuration, and the suite builder had to come up with a solution to screen off the extremely high magnetic radiation the MRI systems generated from the steel structure of the ship. "We faced the challenge of neutralising the engine vibration and the swaying of the ship," says Roland. "However, we developed a fully active vibration isolation control, with advanced algorithms to distinguish between different disturbance sources. This resulted in some extremely high-tech solutions being used in a unique way. We are extremely proud that our engineers have been able to apply in-house knowledge and expertise to this new and very demanding application."