GERMANY — Siemens Healthineers, a renowned medical technology giant, has recently unveiled its plans to construct a state-of-the-art factory in Germany for the cultivation of crystals used in the production of advanced computed tomography (CT) scanners.

With its existing production facility in Japan reaching full capacity, the new fabrication plant, known as a “fab,” is scheduled to commence operations in 2026.

Spanning an area of 9,000 square meters, the Forchheim fab will be built at a cost of 80 million euros (US$86.8 million), further bolstering Siemens’ investments in its Forcheim operations, which have already surpassed half a billion euros (US$536.5 million) since 2019.

The decision to establish the factory in Forchheim was driven by several factors, as explained by André Hartung, the head of Siemens Healthineers’ diagnostic imaging division.

In a news release, Hartung emphasized, “We made a conscious decision in favor of the Forchheim site. Here we are building the world’s first photon-counting CT scanner, Naeotom Alpha, whose demand has increased enormously since its market launch in 2021 due to its high-resolution imaging.

It is estimated that the new facility will provide employment opportunities for approximately 100 individuals.

Ranked as the third-largest medical device company globally by revenue, Siemens Healthineers continues to push the boundaries of innovation in the field.

The crystals produced at the new factory serve as detector materials for the company’s latest photon-counting CT scanners, enabling the generation of sharper images while reducing the X-ray radiation dose.

The Naeotom Alpha CT scanner, equipped with a photon-counting detector, utilizes a cadmium telluride single crystal (CdTe) as its detection layer, offering significant advantages over conventional CT detectors.

Explaining the distinction, Siemens Healthineers stated, “Conventional CT detectors first convert the X-rays into visible light in a two-stage process, which is then detected by a light sensor and generates the final image.

The photon-counting CT detector developed by Siemens Healthineers converts the X-ray photons directly into fully digital electrical signals.

The image data offers new clinically relevant information and improved image resolution while at the same time reducing radiation dose.”

The Naeotom Alpha received clearance from the FDA in 2021, being hailed as “the first major new technology for computed tomography imaging in nearly a decade.”

In addition to its cutting-edge capabilities, the Siemens Healthineers semiconductor facility is designed with sustainability in mind.

The utilization of the building for crystal production will prevent supply bottlenecks and expedite construction timelines.

Moreover, the investment aligns with the company’s commitment to research and development in crystal production.

The operations at the facility are set to be CO2-neutral, with Siemens Healthineers seeking LEED Platinum certification.

The waste heat generated during production will be utilized to heat the building’s facilities, while a 170kWp photovoltaic system will generate electricity.

The outdoor areas feature an eco-friendly design, incorporating bright sealed surfaces and greenery to mitigate heat island effects.

Furthermore, LED technology is employed for outdoor lighting to minimize light pollution and safeguard nocturnal animals.

Siemens Healthineers’ ongoing commitment to the Forchheim site is evident, as they previously invested €350 million (US$375.6 million) in 2019 to transfer their existing research and development and production facilities for X-ray machines and generators from their Erlangen site to Forchheim.

This strategic move was accompanied by the recent opening of their Education & Development Center, situated just 15 minutes away.

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