Mammography takes to the road

Interior B.C. companies get together to put big truck wheels under a mammography unit.

Bruce Coach from Salmon Arm custom built the mammography unit into a Freightliner provided by Premium Truck and Trailer from West Kelowna.

Two B.C. companies came together to build the first mobile mammography unit for Manitoba.

Bruce Coach, based in Salmon Arm, custom built the mammography unit, which was fitted to a Freightliner truck provided by Premium Truck and Trailer of West Kelowna.

The project began with designs in September, and the construction took approximately six weeks said Bruce Coach president Bruce Ingebrigtson.

The truck was commissioned by the Manitoba government to serve remote communities in the province.

The vehicle will be driven and operated by two or three nurses or mammography technicians, so it is helpful that anyone with a regular driver’s licence can legally drive it, Ingebrigtson said.

“It’ll be just like driving a motor-home for them,” said Cody Fortin, a product consultant at Premium Truck and Trailer.

Ingebrigtson said that most portable mammogram services available in the past had relied a large van transporting the mammogram machine between public areas like malls or community centres.

The vehicle is equipped with a satellite uplink dish that will be used  to send mammography images to a hospital in Winnipeg. The uplink will also allow the vehicle to be remotely monitored for fire, CO2, theft and irregular internal temperatures that might damage the sensitive mammography equipment.

The mammogram machine and other electronic equipment onboard can either be run from an external power source or from the vehicle’s two 12 kilowatt diesel generators.

Diesel-fired, hydronic heaters keep both the cabin with the mammogram machine and the engine warm automatically, allowing long-term storage even in cold  temperatures.

it is estimated that the vehicle will travel approximately 16,000 KM per year, much less than the Freightliner is designed for, making maintenance minimal, Fortin said.

“This truck will outlive me in this kind of use,” Ingebrigtson said.  Ingebrigtson will be driving the vehicle to Manitoba on April 22 and will also be teaching the nurses or technicians to drive it and operate the generator equipment.

Bruce Coach and Premium Truck and Trailer will be producing another similar vehicle for Manitoba in the near future, Ingebrigtson said.