Amid rapidly aging of populations, rising healthcare costs and the growing threat of infections, the demand for healthcare continues to increase rapidly and there is greater interest in promoting better health and preventing disease. Canon Medical Systems Group supplies healthcare professionals with a diverse range of products and services of high utility value across the fields of diagnostic imaging, healthcare IT and in vitro diagnostics combined with extensive education and training programs.

With our long history and related expertise, we also draw on various collaborative partnerships with universities and medical institutions across all phases; from Research & Development and manufacturing to sales and customer service. For more information on our product range and approach see:
 
 
 

Best results for customers, patients and the environment

To combine the best results for our customers and their patients with solutions that are as sustainable as possible, we constantly add major and minor innovations to our product lines. We are jointly developing ever improved products and expanding the use of medical imaging to enhance workflow operations and provide more information for doctors so they can select the best treatments for their patients. Results of some projects are described below.

Efficient workflows and informed healthcare
In 2020, we continued our work in the field of AI, creating a range of solutions that can improve clinical workflows and diagnostic accuracy. We continue to develop AI solutions with the ultimate goal of creating innovations that contribute to precision medicine. Please also see the story of one of our senior engineers below.
Cardiovascular care
In 2020, we entered a partnership with Kanagawa Children’s Medical Center in Japan to further develop our cardiovascular applications. For more information see:

Cardiovascular care

iPS cell research and application
We have been working extensively with Kyoto University to develop regenerative medicine technology, specifically in line with our iPS (higher-quality induced pluripotent stem) cell research. This includes techniques like transplanting cells and tissues cultured outside the body to restore organ and tissue functions lost through illness or injury. The patient’s own cells (iPS) are tested to improve acceptance by the body. These techniques are still in development. The technologies of the Canon Group – including optical, measurement and diagnostic imaging technologies - are being used to develop a low-cost examination method as well as investigate markers to determine cell differentiation.

iPS Cell Research

Product improvements and CSR

“Energy use, material use, waste and safety are all issues that we constantly take into account when developing improvements and innovations in our CT diagnostic equipment. This is also true of our other product lines.”

Less energy use through AI
Before, it was normal for a high-quality image to require high energy consumption. But now we have developed image reconstruction technology that uses deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence (AI). We first launched deep learning in 2018 in our CT equipment. This deep learning involved exposing the equipment to high-quality images produced with high energy consumption. The learning process then enabled the same high-quality images to be produced with less noise and energy consumption. We also managed to drastically reduce the radiation dose for patients by up to a quarter of the original amount.
For more information see:

Compact design
“We take weight, dimensions and material use into account when developing our products. More compact designs are becoming available all the time, which also helps them fit better in smaller spaces and mobile facilities. CT systems can now be installed outside of hospital settings, which is very useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. It goes without saying that required dimensions depend on specific customers’ needs.”
For more information see:

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Tatsuya Watanabe, Senior Engineer, Systems Group, CT Systems Development Dept., CT-MR Division

Safety for patients and users

“Safety is the paramount concern in all our developments. Reduced radiation doses are better for patients and safer for radiology assistants, doctors and technicians. Technical safety measures are also incorporated in the equipment: for example, a function checks that the patient is not receiving unnecessary doses and a sensor detects whether the patient is in contact with the CT device. The technician can therefore use the device with greater confidence.”


Surprising our customers

“Through my experience of being stationed in Europe, I have had many opportunities to travel to various countries, including in Europe and North America, and to interact with academic and medical partners. I see it as my contribution to introduce our worldwide customers to the latest technologies that can meet their requirements.


We develop innovations and smaller improvements in new and existing equipment multiple times per year. Every time, as a team, we like to outdo ourselves and deliver the best for our customers. For me it is rewarding if we manage not only to satisfy customers, but also to surprise them.”

Eco-conscious design approach

While our goal is to introduce many new products each year, we do so in a conscientious way and with the intention of contributing to a sustainable global environment.
Based on a product development and design process that complies with IEC 60601-1-9 “Environmental product design for medical equipment”, we are working on energy saving, resource saving, space saving, use of recycled materials, reduction of hazardous chemical substances, improvement of recyclability of products, reduction of packaging materials, and so on. These efforts cover the entire product life cycle, from production to usage and disposal. We are also working on eco-design, including innovations to increase the user efficiency of our products in order to improve the productivity of our customers' examinations.
Our products comply with ErP, REACH, and RoHS. We provide our customers with detailed environmental information concerning our products upon request.

Product life cycle

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*1 JRA: Japan Medical Imaging and Radiological Systems Industries Association

Product energy consumption
For our products, we have established a system for reviewing energy efficiency and CO2 emission reductions in parts procurement, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, installation, use and disposal. These reviews are conducted at the design stage and later to evaluate results and monitor environmental measures.

Since the use stage contributes substantially to the total energy consumption, we are continuously keen on improvements. We developed a more energy efficient standby mode, as well as lower power modes that still produce high-quality images.

Nevertheless, our total average energy use increased in 2020 to 3% over the base year (2011). This was because the impact of COVID-19 required many customers to acquire CT systems, which consume relatively more energy than our other types of products.

Change in CO2 emissions during product use (versus 2011 base year)
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Environmental education for employees
At Canon Medical Systems, all employees receive environmental training every year via e-learning. We also distribute environmental information via our internal notification system in conjunction with Earth Hour and Environment Month as appropriate. Service engineers are trained on the disposal of equipment, and environmental experts are identified in each development and manufacturing department to provide specialist environmental training on products. We also provide individual training for chemical managers.

Material efficiency
We are fully committed to minimizing the amount and number of materials required so our systems can be easily disassembled after use for more efficient reuse and recycling. We are also dedicated to eliminating hazardous materials from our products. In 2020, the average quantity of materials used in our products unfortunately rose from a ratio of 90.5% to 133.1% as a result of selling more large machines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Change in the ratio of input resources per unit of sales
(base year of 2011)

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Hazardous substance reduction
In 2020, we managed to reduce hazardous substance emissions per production unit by 8% (from 1.2 kg to 1.1 kg/100 million yen) by taking measures such as replacing hazardous substances used in the cleaning process at the Canon Medical Systems parts processing site. Our objective is to develop additional ways to reduce chemical substance emissions at Canon Medical Systems Group production bases with high environmental impact in accordance with Canon Inc. standards.

Change in hazardous substance emissions per production unit
Unit: kg / 100 million yen

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Certifications

Our products are carefully developed and extensively tested before being sent to our customers. The Canon Medical Systems Group has its own quality and environmental management system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, the international quality and environmental management system standards. The system is designed to help our offices in and outside of Japan to continuously improve their activities not only to guarantee quality, but also to ensure environmental conservation.
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