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How to Transport Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Safely

Imagine moving your diagnostic imaging equipment across town or across the country. You’re putting the rigging and transport of these critical machines into the hands of people you don’t know. Everyone from the moving company says everything will be fine. 

Then the equipment shows up at your new site looking like the inside of a pinball machine. Broken pieces of metal and glass cover the floor of the truck, exposed inner workings have damaged critical parts, and the once-expert movers now appear as rank amateurs.

Without skillful preparation and the engagement of vetted transportation professionals, your MRIs and CTs may arrive seriously damaged, leaving you liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair and replacement charges. If you’re uncertain about what to expect at this delicate time in the lifecycle of your machines, here are some things to think about before planning an imaging equipment move.

Cost of Moving Your Diagnostic Imaging Equipment

The biggest factor affecting the price of transportation is distance, as an interstate move will clearly cost more than a relocation across town. You can expect the cost of transporting a complete system at $4 per mile.

Plan Your Timeline First

The more urgent your relocation needs, the less time you will have to work out the myriad details. Consider disassembling the fragile parts of the equipment and packing them separately to prevent breakage, which will add to your timeline. Not counting actual travel time, you will need three to five days to de-install and install the machinery. Plan on more time than you think necessary to avoid untoward surprises during the transport.

Insure Your Equipment for the Move

You may be transporting millions of dollars worth of equipment, so it’s best to protect your investment against potential damage. Check with your company’s General Liability insurance policy to see if moves of diagnostic equipment not in your care, custody or control are covered. Should you need additional coverage, it’s worth noting that transportation companies don’t offer insurance themselves but through third parties. Be sure to purchase enough insurance to cover the full replacement cost of your equipment, since a transporter’s basic coverage may not be sufficient for all potential damage scenarios.

In cases where you are buying imaging equipment, you can ask the seller if General Liability insurance is included in your purchase agreement. It’s a step that can save you extra effort before you move to a new site.

Vet the Rigging and Transport Company Thoroughly

Obviously, transportation companies with experience in moving diagnostic imaging equipment, like Altima Diagnostic Imaging Solutions, should be contacted first. Ask the transportation team how much experience they have with imaging equipment, including their familiarity with installs and de-installs. During your initial consultation, inform the movers if your equipment is sensitive to high humidity or temperatures, as refrigerated transportation may be necessary to avoid damaging delicate equipment.

Qualified rigging and transportation organizations should have tools, dollies and packaging especially created for moving MRIs and CTs. Ask if they use custom packaging that includes custom blocking and bracing; using little more than a cardboard box and some bubble wrap is asking for trouble. Remember to get a tracking number to keep tabs on the shipping status.

About Hazardous Materials

It’s common for CTs to contain materials considered radioactive or toxic. If your equipment includes such components, talk to your logistics provider. If the danger for exposure is significant, they may recommend shipping the machine under HAZMAT conditions, including special packing, documentation, labeling, insurance and compliance.

Precautions a Professional Transporter Should Take During Uninstallation and Installation

  • An engineer should inspect the new site for installation and calibration readiness.
  • Talk to an electrician and plumber at the new site, and ask them what power and water connections are required for installation.
  • Inform the new site management what plumbing or HVAC connections you will need for proper equipment operation.
  • Give new site management the dimensions of the machine’s gantry, weight and range of motion so they will know if the space can accommodate your equipment.
  • Get the new site’s dimensions, including door and hallway sizes, from building management.
  • If there is heavy foot traffic at the site, clear and secure potentially congested areas for a smoother move-in.


This is a Critical Decision; Don’t Make it Casually.

Shipping diagnostic imaging equipment leaves your machines at their most vulnerable, and many unforeseen events can happen that can cost you thousands of dollars if you aren’t prepared. Rigging and transportation is a time when circumstances fall outside of your control: Your machines are not indoors, behind walls, or securely installed. It’s natural for you to be concerned, and it’s wise for you to learn as much about the move as possible before you start. Approach the relocation, installation and calibration of your devices as you would any other kind of reputation management.

At Altima, our experience in overseeing rigging and transport operations over the years enables our customers to have complete trust and peace of mind, and to avoid those unfortunate scenarios. We have worked with a variety of riggers, and we are committed to collaborative, communicative relationships with contractors and other personnel.

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