Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Radiology Devices in Iran: Economic Challenges Hamper Growth Despite Technological Advances

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While a knowledge-based company in Iran has successfully produced high-quality, cost-effective radiology devices compared to foreign models, economic challenges hinder their growth. The disparity in currency exchange rates severely impacts the production capabilities of this company and other domestic manufacturers in this field. Journalists from the scientific field, invited by the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, traveled to Shiraz to explore the technological achievements of knowledge-based companies in Fars province. They interacted with key players in the industry, investigating the challenges they face. This initiative aims to highlight and address the hurdles encountered by domestic manufacturers.

One such company, Mehran Teb, specializes in the strategic production of radiology devices. Meysam Moghyani, the production manager, stated, “We pride ourselves on a state-of-the-art production facility equipped with the latest CNC machines, milling, turning, and laser technologies. This allows us to provide a wide range of precision machining services to our clients.”Our capabilities extend to handling tasks up to 4 meters in diameter in the gateway section and machining parts up to 60 centimeters deep. Additionally, we offer complementary services like welding and bending to fully meet customer needs. This comprehensive approach ensures we can cater to diverse client requirements effectively.

Mehr Sepahi, a board member, added, “We have achieved self-sufficiency in radiology device production. Previously, these devices were entirely imported. Now, we have successfully produced digital radiology equipment domestically.” He emphasized that only two to three key modules, such as the X-ray tube and detector, are imported due to economic constraints. The rest, including mechanical parts and electronic boards, are manufactured in-house.

Localized Production and Economic Challenges in Iranian Radiology Devices Manufacturing

After producing all boards and mechanical parts, they are meticulously assembled in our dedicated assembly hall. Rigorous quality control tests ensure the functionality and final quality of the devices before they are distributed to medical centers nationwide. Our factory has been operational since 2006, and in recent years, we have localized radiology device production to a significant extent, with over 60-70% of components being produced domestically. Currently, about 30% of the components in our radiology devices are imported. However, our research and development team is diligently working on localizing the X-ray detector, aiming to achieve 80% localization soon.

One major challenge is the high cost of raw materials, like iron, which we purchase at twice the global price. In contrast, importers can acquire these materials at significantly lower prices due to subsidies, creating an unfair competitive environment. Despite these challenges, our products remain cheaper than imported ones. Eliminating import subsidies and aligning raw material prices with global rates would benefit domestic producers, allowing them to thrive and compete more effectively. Other companies are also entering the radiology device production field, but many withdraw due to economic impracticalities.

Regarding support from medical centers, Sepahi noted, “We have seen substantial acceptance of Iranian-made radiology devices. Currently, about 90% of installed devices in these centers are domestically produced, with only 10% being imported. Given the annual demand for 400-500 radiology devices, this market share offers significant opportunities for local manufacturers.”Our current production capacity is 200 radiology devices per year, but we produce and supply around 100 devices annually to medical centers nationwide. This production supports 130 employees across various departments, including the main office, after-sales service, design and development, assembly hall, and production hall.

Radiology Devices

Unified Currency Rate Essential for Fair Competition in Iranian Radiology Devices Industry, Says Sepahi

Addressing one of the major challenges, Sepahi suggested that the government implement a unified currency rate. This would equalize the cost of raw materials for both domestic producers and importers. Presently, importers benefit from lower currency rates, while we pay two to three times more for the same materials, impacting our production costs significantly. Even if we could source raw materials like iron, bearings, batteries, and conductors at a semi-official exchange rate, domestic factories still inflate prices due to high exchange rates, making the final product costlier. The existing economic disparities force us to buy some parts at significantly higher prices than importers, who access all necessary components, including complex ones like detectors, at lower rates due to subsidies.

Despite offering radiology devices 20-30% cheaper than imported models, fluctuations in exchange rates and unequal access to raw materials make competing with cheaper Chinese imports challenging. Our devices incorporate high-quality components from various sources, adding significant value despite these hurdles. Leveraging domestic knowledge and expertise, we add considerable value to our products, even as the cost of high-tech components in international markets remains high. Highlighting these achievements aligns with the national goals of showcasing scientific and technological advancements.

In line with the Supreme Leader’s emphasis on familiarizing elites and students with the country’s scientific and technological achievements, the Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology, under Dr. Dehghani, has organized numerous scientific tours for journalists and media representatives. These tours aim to introduce journalists to the latest achievements of the country’s knowledge-based companies and scientific advancements, ensuring accurate and comprehensive coverage of the nation’s progress in science and technology.

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Resource: Tasnim News Agency, June 05, 2024

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