Saturday, June 15, 2024

Currency Inequality Hampers Radiology Devices Industry in Iran Despite Technological Advancements

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Despite producing high-quality, affordable radiology devices in Iran, manufacturers like Mehran Teb struggle due to currency inequality. A recent technology tour, organized by the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, highlighted these challenges. During the tour, journalists visited Mehran Teb, a key player in radiology device production. Meysam Mogiyan, the production manager, showcased their advanced production facilities, equipped with state-of-the-art CNC machines, lathes, and lasers. These tools enable precision machining and a wide range of services, including welding and bending, ensuring comprehensive customer satisfaction.

Behram Sepahi, a board member, proudly announced their self-sufficiency in producing digital radiology devices. Previously imported entirely, these devices are now largely manufactured domestically. Only a few key components, such as the X-ray tube and detector, are still imported due to economic inefficiencies in local production. All other mechanical and electronic parts are produced in-house using advanced assembly lines.

Sepahi detailed the meticulous assembly and quality control processes that ensure the reliability of their devices, which are then distributed to healthcare centers nationwide. Since 2006, their factory has produced 60-70% of the device components domestically. Efforts are underway to localize the production of X-ray detectors, aiming to increase domestic production to 80%.

Local Radiology Device Production in Iran Hampered by Raw Material Costs and Currency Disparities

The primary challenge is the cost of raw materials, which are twice as expensive locally compared to global prices. Importers benefit from government-subsidized foreign exchange rates, allowing them to purchase materials at significantly lower costs. This disparity puts local manufacturers at a disadvantage despite their lower overall product prices. Sepahi emphasized that removing these subsidies could enable local producers to thrive and compete more effectively.

Despite these obstacles, Sepahi highlighted the economic advantages of local production. Their radiology devices are 20-30% cheaper than imported equivalents. If material costs were aligned with international rates, local manufacturers could achieve even greater profitability and sustainability.

Sepahi noted the support from healthcare centers, with 90% of installed radiology devices being locally produced. Iran’s annual demand for 400-500 radiology devices presents a significant opportunity for local manufacturers. Currently, Mehran Teb produces 100 devices annually, with a production capacity of 200. The company employs 130 people across various departments, including R&D, sales, and production. He called for a unified foreign exchange rate to level the playing field for local manufacturers. Currently, they purchase raw materials at much higher rates than importers, making it difficult to compete with cheaper Chinese products.

Radiology Device

Advocating for An Unified Exchange Rate to Boost Iran’s Competitive Edge in Radiology Device Production

Sepahi highlighted the value added by using high-quality components and leveraging local expertise. Despite high international prices for high-tech parts, the company’s products remain competitively priced. This price advantage, combined with domestic production, positions their devices favorably against imports. In response to fluctuating exchange rates and material costs, Sepahi suggested that the government implement a single exchange rate for all transactions.

This would ensure equal pricing for raw materials, benefiting both importers and local manufacturers. Currently, local producers face higher costs, impacting their competitiveness.The technology tour aimed to familiarize journalists with the latest scientific and technological achievements in Iran. Organized by the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology under Dr. Dehghani, these tours help bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public.

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By providing firsthand exposure to cutting-edge innovations and breakthroughs, these tours enable us journalists to gain a deeper understanding of the advancements being made. This, in turn, allows us to communicate more effectively and accurately with the public, fostering greater awareness and appreciation for the scientific endeavors. The initiative also aims to inspire and inform the next generation of scientists and innovators by showcasing the practical applications and benefits of scientific research.

 

Resource: Tasnim News Agency, June 06, 2024

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