Anti-Vibration Pads: How Sorbothane Can Isolate Vibration on Sensitive Machines (MRI Case Study)

The MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, is a helpful diagnostic tool used by the medical profession to not only diagnose but to best determine the treatment plans of several different conditions. Because of the way that the imaging is done, these scans are much more valuable to doctors than others. This includes X-rays because it allows for a much clearer vision of soft tissues like muscles. For some injuries, like deep tissue injuries, sprains and strains, the X-ray may be completely useless because it will not show what is going on with the muscle, only the bones and hard structures of the body.

MRI scans are used to look at the brain, the muscles and many types of cancers which may not show up on other scans or may not provide a clear enough image to be useful.

The Problem with MRI Scanners and Vibration

An MRI scan machine is loud and has a lot of very rapidly moving parts. Because of that, it creates a lot of vibrations, but there are other problems to consider as well. In fact, with all MRI machines, no matter where they are located, there are actually two different problems, both directly attributed to vibration and both dangerous to the integrity of the machines and the scans they are producing.

Those two problems are:

    1. Vibrational interference
    2. Sound transmission

The only difference in the two is the direction in which they are generated. Both can negatively impact the results of the scan as well as the machine itself. An MRI machine is very expensive but so is the test that is done with it. In addition to being very costly, a scan is typically done to diagnose, rule out or categorize a very serious sickness or injury, where time may be of the essence.

Vibrational Interference

The term “vibrational interference” is used in reference to any type of vibration that is transmitted to the MRI scanner from the structure of the building and can come from any number of outside sources. For instance, it can refer to vibration from other machines in the building, typically a hospital which can mean elevators, other types of scanning equipment and more.

Even vibrations from traffic outside of the building itself, thunder from a passing storm and other sources of vibration can impact the delicate nature of the equipment which must be perfectly calibrated or it is not effective. If the vibrational interference is severe enough, it can literally cripple the scanner completely.

Sound Transmission

Just as vibrational interference impacts the MRI scanner from outside the area, coming from other areas of the building, sound transmission is a problem that is generated by the scanning machine and can be equally a problem to the rest of the building.

An MRI is a very loud machine and is typically considered a workplace hazard for a number of reasons. The noise that it generates can cause physical and emotional stress and illnesses that can result in an increased number of sick days and even permanent hearing loss. That can become a problem, not only for the technicians that are forced to work in the same area as the MRI scanner but for others who work in the same building who are subjected to the continual noise that is generated by each scan as they are performed.

In a busy hospital or clinic setting that can literally mean dozens of scans every day, often throughout the entire day and into the night. That can mean accumulated noise damage to the hearing for all the employees in that building.

Anti-Vibration Pads That Can Help With Both Problems

While the MRI machines themselves typically have some padding to protect the components and delicate parts from vibration, there are additional problems that must be dealt with as well. Those pre-installed anti-vibration pads might not be enough to handle both vibrational interference and sound transmission effectively or may not be meant to withstand months, let alone years of constant use. There are other solutions to these problems that should and must be considered.

Because both types of vibration must be dealt with, there are likely to be several types of anti-vibration pads that are needed. Using Sorbothane® can be the solution to all of these needs because it is adaptable and customizable especially when standard parts or designs do not hold the right solution for the needs.

There are many properties of this material that makes it the perfect solution to isolate vibration, including its ability to be cut and be shaped to virtually any design. In addition, it can be waterproofed if needed, and is chemical resistant.

The Less is More Principle and Sorbothane

The design of the MRI is very exacting and precise. The subtlest of changes can render the machine useless meaning that hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted by the hospital or other facility. A pad that is too thick can disrupt the scans and may throw parts off kilter. Other pad materials may need to be made fairly thick to be effective but that is not the case with Sorbothane which because of the way it is created can be fairly thin and still be very effective at cutting down on both vibrational interference and sound transfer. It can also be made to be very small or very large depending on the placement and exact use it is being created for.

In many cases, custom orders are the best suggestion especially when a part is being relied on to be absolutely perfect. First, view our standard products guide to get more information about Sorbothane’s solutions. Then, speak to a representative of the design team to discuss the perfect solution for your needs. Contact Sorbothane today to learn more.