Frequently Asked Questions

How long has the ImageMax been on the market?
R & D started in 1996. We sold our first 100 processors to doctors in the Pacific NW in 1998. ImageMax has now been sold to doctors in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil.

How does the processor work?
Unlike traditional roller and track based automatic film processors that move x-ray film through a series of open tanks, the ImageMax leaves film stationary and instead moves processing solutions to the film. It utilizes a single film processing tank. Films are inserted into this dry tank. Then using air pressure and vacuum, the processing solutions flow to the film. At the end of the cycle, warm air dries the film. Kodak® time and temperature tables are strictly followed for both intra-oral and extra-oral film. Your film will be completely developed, fixed, washed, and dried, having never moved. No roller marks! No artifacts! The chance of a mechanical problems are practically eliminated because there are no moving parts that touch the chemistry!

Why doesn’t the chemistry become contaminated since the same film processing tank is used for both developer and fixer?
If developer gets into fixer – no problem. However, just a few drops of fixer into the developer, BIG problem! The key to the ImageMax, like any other automatic film processor, is the sequence – developer first, then fixer, then water. The ImageMax moves developer into the film processing tank, then fixer, then it washes the processing tank twice before the processing tank sees developer again.

How difficult is ImageMax to install?
Very simple! You won’t need any help to install this processor. Simply put it on your counter, plug it in, fill it up with chemistry and water, then process films. Even the drain lines are optional until you’re ready to drain.

ImageMax uses air pressure and vacuum to move solutions, would I need to provide a hookup to my air system?
No. ImageMax is entirely self-contained with a built in, quiet air compressor.

Does the ImageMax need a water line plumbed to the processor?
No. ImageMax is completely self-contained. You can even use distilled water if your water quality is not good.

Where do the solutions drain to?
There are two quick-connects in the back of the processor for the drain lines. One drain line is for the used fixer, for easy silver recovery, and the other is for the combined water and developer. You can then route these drain lines anywhere you like – down the drain or in a waste container.

How do I clean the ImageMax? Do the four holding tanks come out?
The film processing tank and the four lower one-quart holding tanks do not need to be removed for cleaning. Because the machine develops, fixes, washes twice, then dries, you should never have to clean the film processing tank. And, if you change the chemistry frequently, say once a week, you’ll find that you probably won’t have to clean the four lower holding tanks either. Occasionally, you may find some sediment in one or more of the holding tanks. If that happens, all that’s necessary is to fill the holding tank about 1/2 full of warm water, swish it around with a brush, and then drain the tank again. That’s it!

How often would I change the chemistry?
The ImageMax keeps track of how much film has been processed and reports a reference number to the display indicating the relative strength of the chemistry. When the number reaches a certain number, it’s time to change the chemistry. Here’s an estimation: If you’re an office of one doctor, one hygienist, three to five chairs, and working four days per week, we would expect that you would change the chemistry once each week. We know of many offices that change chemistry every two weeks. Keep in mind that’s using just one quart of developer and one quart of fixer each week, or one gallon of each solution per month. Compare that to a typical roller-based processor using at least three gallons of developer and fixer per month. Big savings!

How can ImageMax use 2/3 less chemistry than a roller processor?

1. ImageMax uses sealed solution holding containers. All other automatic film processors have open containers that allow oxidation to rapidly reduce the developing strength of the chemistry.
2. ImageMax doesn’t use replenishment - a technique that continually adds chemistry to the solution tank and is a very wasteful method of maintaining film quality. ImageMax, instead fully utilizes one quart of chemistry by using a time shift method. As the chemistry ages, ImageMax automatically adds a few seconds of processing time to compensate for the weakening chemistry. As a result, substantially less chemistry is used and film quality remains consistently high throughout the use of just one quart of developer and fixer.

How often do I change the water?
Like the chemistry, there is a count on the display that will tell you how many times the water has cleaned the tank. When it gets to 15, it begins to flash indicating “get ready” to change. When it reaches 20, it requires that the water be changed. Then all you have to do is push the drain button twice, come back in a minute and a half to refill the water, and you’re ready for more film. Because it’s so simple and because fresh water will further extend chemistry life, we recommend that you simply drain the water every night and refill each morning.

What dental films can the ImageMax process?
All dental films. Intra-oral film sizes 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 slip first into our easy-to-load, easy-to-view film holders, then into the ImageMax processing tank. Extra-oral films (pan 5” x 12”, pan 15 x 30 cm, and ceph 8” x 10”) fit directly into the processing tank, no holder is necessary. And because of the ability to directly insert and remove the film, there is no slow “roller” feed in and out. You can get into and out of the dark room much quicker.

Can I process a pan and intra-orals at the same time?
No. But the complete answer is that you don’t want to. Check a Kodak® processing chart and you’ll see that extra-oral film (pans / cephs) process very differently than intra-orals do. They are different emulsion (one light sensitive and the other x-ray sensitive) and require different processing. Simply put, extra-orals require more time. For instance at 80 degrees F., an intra-oral would need 2-1/2 minutes in the developer while a pan requires 4 minutes. Even at 83 degrees, an intra-oral needs 65 seconds and a pan needs 70. Roller or track based processors simply run all films through at the same speed – too fast. ImageMax is the only processor that automatically determines which film format is being processed, then based on the temperature of the developer, sets the appropriate timing according to Kodak® charts.

Can the ImageMax do endo processing?
Yes. There are two ways.

1) Since the film never moves during processing, the film is always accessible. So to process an endo film, load your film as normal, press START, then watch the display. The developer will rise – hold – then fall (that takes about 1 minute at 83 degrees). Fixer comes in next. When it has filled the tank, the film is now light-safe. Wait a few seconds, then open the tank lid and lift the film holder out to see if the film has “cleared”. If it has not, drop it back into the processing tank for a few more seconds then try again. When “cleared”, put a paper towel under the holder then remove the holder from the tank. Meanwhile the machine recognized that the film holder left the processing tank, so the ImageMax has gone into a “pause” mode which is indicated on the display.

Quick note: Fixer has two purposes; one to clear the film and second to harden the image. It takes roughly twice as long to harden as it took to clear. This is a step that every other automatic film processor misses. And it’s why many endo films from other processors fall apart in your file folder in a few months.

The ImageMax is now waiting for the film to return. Once it does, it automatically continues fixing (hardening), washing, and drying so that you have an archiveable film that will not fall apart in the file folder.

2) This second method is even easier. First, mount the endo film onto a clip. Because the ImageMax has the 1 quart containers easily accessible, simply take the caps off of the tanks and just quick dip directly into the holding tanks. Sometimes simple is the best!

Does ImageMax require special chemistry?
No. You can use any brand of automatic solution as long as the chemistry is fresh. Ready mixed chemistry has a short shelf life. It can be as short as just 3-4 months. By the time it arrives to you, it may have long since expired. We print an expiration date right on our box. We also leave it in a concentrated format to make it easier to handle, smaller to store, less expensive to ship, and it provides a substantially longer shelf life. It’s designed to pour directly into the ImageMax processor, add water, and you’re ready to go.

Why are the films so much better?
ImageMax has essentially gone back to a manual, dip tank method of processing X-Ray film. There are no rollers to put marks on the films, and precise computer controlled time and temperature according to Kodak® time and temperature charts create a perfect environment to develop films.

How long does ImageMax take to process a film?
When the temperature is set to 83 degrees F., ImageMax processes at essentially the same processing speed as other roller and track based processors – about 6 minutes. But there’s more to the story. ImageMax allows you to change the developer temperature and the processor automatically selects the correct time. The lower the temperature, the more film detail is surfaced. The difference in timing between developing at 83 degrees and 68 degrees is about 4 additional minutes. Doctors across the country swear by the improved detail that the lower temperatures provide, while others are okay with the 83 degree timing. What’s nice with the ImageMax is you can choose between processing speed and film quality.

With film development, faster is not necessarily better! The ImageMax is the only film processor on the market to exactly follow Kodak® time and temperature recommendations. For example, an intra-oral film needs 65 seconds in the developer at 83 degrees. ImageMax does just that. Most other brands run film through that same 83 degree developer solution in only 40 seconds. What you’re missing is all of the fine shades of gray. That’s detail you need to make an accurate diagnosis.

If you’re in a hurry, ImageMax has an ability no other processor has. Since the films do not move, you can actually interrupt the dry cycle and take the films wet. At 83 degrees, that means you can have your fully processed films in just 3-1/2 minutes!

Self-cleaning… there must be some maintenance to the ImageMax?
If you change the chemistry often, say once a week, you’ll find that there really is no cleaning necessary. If you run the same chemistry for a couple of weeks, go home for the weekend, then change the chemistry on Monday, you’ll see that over the weekend the emulsion off of the film will have settled to the bottom of the developer tank. That sediment will contaminate the next batch of chemistry. So, before you put in fresh chemistry, first look inside and check for that sediment. If you see it, don’t pour the fresh chemistry in, but rather first fill the tank about 1/2 full with warm water. Swish that water around to get the sediment back up into liquid, then drain the tank again. That’s it.

What if I have problems? How do I get service?
The good news is that you’re talking directly with the factory - no middle person to relay information. We’ll try our very best to solve the problem with you right over the phone. Usually it’s something simple. If we can’t solve it, then we’ll simply swap your processor out for a completely factory-reconditioned processor (the same age as your original processor). This saves you time and money. We avoid the costly on-site repair where a service person comes to your office, tries to diagnose the problem, makes the repair, perhaps orders parts (maybe the wrong parts), all the while the hourly charge is mounting and you can’t process films. With our swap out program, if you have a problem on Monday, we can get you back up and running by Tuesday! UPS brings the replacement to you. Take it out of the box. Put the defective processor back into the same box, then we’ll have UPS pick it up. Quick and simple!

How can the price be so much lower compared to a dealer-sold roller processor?
We remove the middleman by selling only factory direct – no dealer markup. In addition, ImageMax technology is relatively simple and we’ve worked very hard to keep our manufacturing and operational costs low.

Where can I see an ImageMax in action?
In your own office! Try it risk free for a full two weeks! If it doesn’t suite your needs or meet your expectations, we’ll refund your money (except shipping).

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
We’ve all heard this warning and often it’s true, but in this case ImageMax is for real! Our background is the key. X-Ray Support has spent over 15 years servicing the automatic processors of other companies and solving X-Ray problems. We heard the frustration you and your staff had with cleaning, film quality, lost films, and high costs. So, when we sat down to design the ImageMax, we had an extremely clear picture of what had to be done and what you were looking for. The result was the ImageMax - a product we’re extremely proud of. We’re very confident that ImageMax will be a valuable asset to your practice.

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