Sony’s UP-D711MD is a small-footprint, DC-powered printer for the ultrasound market.

In mid-April, Sony Electronics introduced the UP-D711MD, the first ever integrated thermal printer for the ultrasound market. With its extremely slim and compact design, this monochrome black and white printer is ideally suited for portable ultrasound carts. Building on Sony’s printing expertise in medical applications, the D711 acknowledges the day-to-day requirements of the evolving ultrasound landscape.

“We are a preferred printer supplier to many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the ultrasound market,” said Lida D’Ambrosio, marketing manager, Sony Electronics Medical Systems Division. “We asked their opinion on where they are going with their portable ultrasound systems in the future. Based on the feedback that we received from customers, we designed this printer to meet the needs of this particular market. Systems are getting really small and slim. This printer also has a very low power consumption that is uniquely engineered for the portable ultrasound trend, particularly for the emerging markets.”

The UP-D711MD is a DC-powered printer and is about half the size of the current AC-powered Sony printer used with portable ultrasound systems in the market. “The AC adapter would take up a large part of the printer. So with this DC printer model, we just cut the size in half,” said D’Ambrosio. “The printer is integrated inside the ultrasound cart and is powered by what the cart is powered by.”

One OEM customer of the UP-D711MD thermal printer is Zonare Medical Systems Inc of Mountain View, Calif. Zonare, a manufacturer of very compact and portable medical ultrasound machines, has worked closely with Sony for over a year in anticipation of integrating this printer into their ultra convertible ultrasound system.

“One of the issues that you have with a very portable small machine is having space for peripherals,” said Michael Gabler, vice president of engineering at Zonare Medical Systems. “Our current system uses the Sony D897 and we have been pretty happy with that. The D711 that Sony has come out with has a much smaller footprint, and the fact that it runs off of DC power gives that additional advantage as the medical industry takes a lot more of the imaging to the bedside. Being able to walk from bed to bed and room to room and not have to unplug the system as you go and then boot up has been a very big advantage for Zonare.”

With previous ultrasound printers being AC-powered, Zonare’s DC-powered portable ultrasound system would still need to be plugged into the wall just to run the printers. “Being able to have a DC-operated printer, which is what the D711 has the ability to do, allows us to run that off a battery as well and now you can have imaging and printing on the run without having to plug into the wall,” added Gabler. Being a battery-operated ultrasound system, the energy efficiency of the D711 printer is also a key benefit for keeping that battery working longer.

The UP-D711MD is currently being tested in house at Zonare and is expected to be offered as an option for the ultra system sometime in the near future. So far, it is meeting expectations. “It outputs the same image size as the D897 at a different aspect, thus improving paper efficiency, and so far the image quality meets our expectations,” said Gabler. “An integrated, image quality printer that is small in size, low power, and runs off DC…those are the things we were looking for.”

Sony Medical has a 25-year history as a provider of printers to the health care market and the company relies heavily on the users’ experiences when in the planning stages of new products. According to the manufacturer, Sony’s engineers aim to offer cost-effective, space-saving, reliable products with improved user-friendly features, digital ready interfaces, and speed, all while ensuring excellent image quality.