When the Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, announced on 29 May 2014 that the Gauteng Department of Health would be ordering 12 new Lodox X-ray scanners, everybody at Lodox knew this meant a huge amount of work was going to be necessary so that the order could be fulfilled by the end of the government’s financial year, 31 March 2015.
Each Lodox full-body X-ray scanner, whether the Xmplar-dr or the Statscan, is hand-built. These devices do not come off a conveyor belt and there are no assembly robots in the factory. Instead, the Integration & Assembly Officers – in other words, the technicians – assemble the components by hand, solder and crimp cables, install circuit boards and bolt parts together. After each machine has been built, the software is loaded on the control PC, followed by at least two weeks of rigorous operational testing. Only when a machine has passed all the required checks is it ready for crating and shipping.
On site, a typical installation takes between one and two weeks, depending on issues encountered. These usually are related to site readiness: When a site is supposed to have been prepared for installation, but then it is discovered that the floor is not level, or the power has not yet been connected, etc.
Once a machine has been installed, training of the new users follows. Part of the training is a hands-on demonstration of use and basic fault-management, and towards the end of the training period the users will be observed while they go through the paces of taking scans and viewing the images or sending the images to PACS.
Over and above the building and installing of scanners, the technicians are also involved in regular maintenance at already existing sites, compliance testing, as well as providing a breakdown service if a site reports a fault.
Given those constraints, and considering that there is usually a lead time of about four months on an installation, Lodox had just a bit less than seven months to build and install twelve new machines for the Gauteng Department of Health. In particular, the Production Department’s Integration & Assembly Officers put in the gruelling hours to make it all happen.
Obviously, the final product is created by teamwork; from the person who chased down orders on components to the cleaners who kept the workspace neat and tidy, from the office manager who kept the office running to the product managers who conducted site inspections or ran tests on the scanners, from the logistics manager who placed orders to accountant who made sure payments when through – everybody played their part in making this project a success. Even a lengthy strike in the metal industry which supplies the frame for the scanner could not thwart the efforts of the team.
In the end, the following twelve Lodox scanners were installed and commissioned on time:
- Pretoria Forensic Pathology Services – Pretoria, Gauteng
- Hillbrow Forensic Pathology Services – Johannesburg, Gauteng
- Ga-Rankuwa Forensic Pathology Services – Pretoria, South Africa
- Natalspruit Hospital – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Kalafong Hospital – Pretoria, South Africa
- Tambo Memorial Hospital – Boksburg, South Africa
- Tembisa Hospital – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Steve Biko Academic Hospital – Pretoria, South Africa
- Sebokeng Hospital – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Helen Joseph Hospital – Johannesburg, South Africa
- Leratong Hospital – Johannesburg, South Africa
- George Mukari Hospital – Pretoria, South Africa
As if this wasn’t enough for the Lodox team, a further seven scanners which were not part of the Gauteng project were built or refurbished and then shipped for installation during that same time period:
- Salt River Forensic Pathology Services – Cape Town, Western Cape
- George Forensic Pathology Services – George, Western Cape
- Riverside County Coroner’s Office – Perris, California, USA
- Gambat University Institute of Medical Sciences – Gambat, Pakistan
- Oklahoma OCME Central Office – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
- Oklahoma OCME Eastern Office – Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
- Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner – Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Congratulations and a big Thank You to everybody at Lodox who made this all possible, but mostly to the Production Team who toiled tirelessly, who sacrificed sleep, public holidays and weekends, yet still managed to remain cheerful and enthusiastic throughout. Hats off to you!