Heavy medical equipment has become a mainstay of modern medicine, especially in the field of oncology where nuclear medicine and radiation therapy are core treatment options. Installing, transporting, and remediating machines like MRIs, X-rays and cyclotrons is complicated business that requires specialized shipping equipment, experience, and in some cases a special license. Transporting expensive medical equipment can become a tremendously expensive endeavor if your shippers are unaware of medical equipment’s unique environmental sensitivity and waste hazards.

What Medical Equipment Requires Special Transportation Logistics?

Delicate, heavy, or multi-million-dollar medical equipment certainly warrants professional movers, whether you’re transporting it between floors in a hospital or across the country to another healthcare provider. Some of the more common medical devices that require special moving and transportation logistics are:

  • Proton Therapy Magnets
  • Linear Accelerators
  • PET/CT Systems
  • Cyclotrons
  • CT scanners
  • MRI systems

Rowe Transfer has experience moving even the most sensitive and hazardous equipment—like cyclotrons—and we work with equipment manufacturers and technicians to ensure that we properly disassemble, inventory, pack or crate, transport and reassemble or dispose of all materials.

Six Tips for Successful Medical Equipment Relocation

Even when employing licensed professionals to transport your heavy medical equipment, the process can be complicated and daunting. With hundreds of these jobs under our belts, Rowe Transfer can outline six key steps that help streamline the process.

Designate a single point of contact

Who will be the final authority for making the decisions in your organization about the moving process? If you rattle off four names when answering this question, the real answer is: no one.  Medical device transport inevitably causes internal disruptions for your practice, and to minimize them you need to identify someone to be responsible for coordinating your internal contacts and communicating with outside parties (i.e. your medical equipment transport company). Some things to look for in your internal candidates:

  • Managerial experience and the capacity to add a major project to their schedule
  • Project budgeting experience
  • Knowledge of risk management and compliance regulations
  • Experience moving a hospital department or medical practice

Some healthcare providers choose to contract out an experienced project manager to lead the medical device transportation logistics or remediation as well as identifying an internal coordinator. Rowe Transfer has enough capacity and experience to ensure that extra expense isn’t necessary. Our team creates detailed plans for every medical device move. All we need is the name and number of the person from your team who can keep everyone informed about what’s happening when. 

Measure everything multiple times

The massive scale of most medical equipment means that it often takes up entire rooms. Equipment like MRIs and radiation therapy machines are often installed during the construction phase of a new hospital wing, with walls, doorways, floors and halls all built around them. That means to move this equipment we have to disassemble it and often move walls or temporarily shut down floors.

To keep disruption to your medical practice at a minimum, we first do a walk-through to measure everything: doorways, walls, vertical space, corners and especially the weight of the equipment. Machines like MRIs can weight up to 80,000 pounds, which requires rigging and beam slings. We plan where to locate cranes and examine your loading zones to right-size our transport equipment. And because we know we can never know and measure everything, we create contingency plans.

Pack right, buy once

Medical equipment transport requires quality packing materials and expert crating techniques to ensure proper protection. Lifting under-protected loads leads to damage fast—both to your equipment and the teams hauling it. Medical instruments, medicines and lab equipment are often temperature and moisture sensitive. MRIs have to be kept at -460°F via liquid helium to prevent ‘quenching,’ which effectively ruins the machine.

Your MRI engineers and technicians have to work with your transportation logistics team to isolate the magnet, so it doesn’t send nearby tools flying, erase computers, or interfere with critical health devices. Usually this requires custom packaging, and specialized shipping containers depending on the type of system being moved.  

Create a schedule

Hospitals and medical practices run on tight timelines, and as stated previously, transporting your medical equipment will cause disruptions. To ensure the health of your patients and not overburden your healthcare workers, you need a detailed schedule for the transport. You must account for the time to reinstall and calibrate equipment on the receiving end and that the schedule gives breathing room for contingency plans. Making use of medical equipment installed ahead of schedule is much easier that creating new plans mid-move due to unforeseen complications.

The planning stage for medical equipment relocation can take months and execution weeks or more, depending on the distance for transport and whether removing walls becomes necessary. Reinstalling machines like X-rays and robotic surgical equipment can take multiple days. Medical imaging equipment especially requires delicate recalibration after any move. Understanding all of your organizations’ needs and coordinating them with the transportation logistics is the largest and most important responsibility for your internal coordinator during any medical equipment transport project.

Get the proper insurance

Professional transportation logistics companies like Rowe of course have insurance, but depending on the size of your move, the cost of heavy medical equipment can quickly outstrip payout ceilings. To combat this, we may ask you to tag equipment above a certain threshold so we can organize our truckloads to stay under a maximum replacement value. Valuing your equipment also helps us to identify any gaps in our coverage that may require additional insurance.

It’s always a wise move to consult your risk management professionals about taking out some extra insurance prior to moving medical equipment. While most standard coverage might protect you for repairing or replacing the equipment, you also need to consider the downtime to your practice.

Think like a medical professional

In the end, when you hire a company like Rowe Transfer to help you move your heavy medical equipment, you are buying rigging, crating, and transportation logistics expertise. Our experience with medical equipment means we know a lot of the complications that arise, but we aren’t medical professionals.   

We understand the issues that contamination and vibration can cause to delicate medical equipment and account for exposure to air or sunlight, temperature sensitivity, and power outages and know how to crate, rig, and choose transportation equipment that protects equipment sensitive to vibration. But YOU know the sensitivity of an electron microscope and the temperature threshold for your MRI or medical samples. More information on the necessary specifications means we can give you a smoother, hassle-free medical equipment transport experience.

Because of Rowe Transfer’s unique capabilities in medical device remediation and transportation, we’re the logical choice to perform your next transportation job. Our drivers are OSHA trained, hold TWIC cards, and possess the driver’s license classes necessary to haul hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Contact us today at 888-377-7693 or online to find out more about how we can assist you in heavy medical device transportation.