Onda Corporation: Ensuring Accurate and Reliable Ultrasound Measurements
Dr. Claudio I. Zanelli, CEO
“The quote ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,’ is especially true for ultrasound,” says Dr. Claudio I. Zanelli, the CEO of Onda Corporation. “Actually, in our experience, we’ve often seen that lack of good measurements at every part of the product life cycle can lead to unexpected problems, either in terms of product quality or lost time to market. This is something we learned first-hand, as developers of medical products. We learned the importance of good measurements not just for regulatory compliance but in the design process; for example, to validate and optimize designs, and to build-in manufacturing robustness. We began as a medical device development engineering firm in 1990, based on past experience bringing products from concept to production in both large and small companies. Our emphasis evolved after realizing that there was an unserved need for accurate and reliable measurements, a key ingredient for every phase in the life cycle of ultrasound products”. He continues, “today, Onda is known for its ultrasound measurement technology, with thousands of products used worldwide for applications in the medical, industrial and academic spaces.”
In the world of medical imaging, ultrasound is perhaps the most pervasive of all methods as it provides images in real-time at a substantially lower cost when compared with other imaging modalities. However, much like other radiation forms used in the medical domain, ultrasound technology is highly regulated due to its potential risk to patients. As such, accurate measurement of the operation of these devices is essential to optimize their potential while ensuring its compliance and safety.
Onda Corporation primarily offers instruments and services for high precision ultrasound output measurement. Their products cover all standard methods—point-like detectors of ultrasound called hydrophones, robotic tanks, and optical means to map the ultrasound field, and instruments to measure the total acoustic power generated by transducers. Onda claims that their instruments are designed to measure all output levels, from those used in ultrasonic imaging, to the very high-intensity ones used to ablate tissue. In all cases, the accuracy traceable to international standards is a key element of their devices. “We do our own calibration in house, and we offer re-calibration services as well,” adds Dr. Zanelli. Interestingly, the firm has a patented device that allows “seeing the sound” for ultrasonic waves --a capability that has helped solve many otherwise elusive problems in the past.
We put confidence in ultrasound
Elaborating on the company’s capabilities, Dr. Samuel Howard, CTO, highlights an instance wherein they helped a startup. The company was developing a high precision ultrasound imaging system for urologists to support biopsies. The firm wanted to get the most out of its image quality, which meant careful optimization of the system performance while staying within safe acoustic levels. The customer had to integrate measurements into their product development early on, learning the physics and regulatory standards from Onda Corporation so that they could optimize their design. “We then provided this client with regulatory measurements and helped them develop their QC protocols, using measurement equipment they obtained from us. Our goal is to assist in all phases of our customers’ product life cycle,” says Dr. Howard. The company actively participates in regulatory committees such as the IEC that define the appropriate measurement requirements for medical ultrasound devices. Sharing this knowledge early is strategically important to help avoid costly re-designs.
To continue to grow based on their measurement capabilities, Onda is now extending their product offering into measurements of acoustic cavitation environments, such as found in ultrasonic cleaning. “It is a new challenge because cleaning relies on cavitation, a process that is destructive at a microscopic scale,” says Petrie Yam, Director of Marketing. “Our unique contribution is in making sensors that survive that environment, combined with the ability to mathematically separate the different forms of cavitation,” he says, with a proud smile, “that is something that is needed and hasn’t been done before. There is no other instrument in the world capable of measuring cavitation in physical units”.
From time to time, the company still undertakes the support of the development of medical devices that require ultrasound expertise. “Combining the physics of acoustics with signal processing and the engineering “black art” of transducer design is an exhilarating experience when we see that it will help people,” says Dr. Zanelli. “We don’t have much bandwidth to do this, but when we find a need that can be uniquely met with ultrasound, and that there is a meeting of the minds, the combination is unbeatable.” And it must be, judging for the 20+ patents on medical devices on display in the conference room.
With rich expertise in physics (acoustics and optics) embodied in more than 100 man-years of accumulated experience, coupled with a wide range of offerings, Onda Corporation has today established itself as “the trusted place to go for acoustic measurements, when there is a real need to know.” To date, Onda Corporation has served over 1,000 unique customers in over 35 countries representing Fortune 10 companies, government research centers, and the most prominent universities. “We began as developers of ultrasound medical devices, and so we understand the customer’s needs from their side and are proud to that say we put confidence in ultrasound,” concludes Dr. Zanelli.
Management Dr. Claudio I. Zanelli, CEO and Samuel M. Howard, CTO: Petrie Yam, Director of Marketing
Description Onda has established itself as the global leader in ultrasound measurement instrumentation and services. Our products and services are used to characterize acoustic intensity and power from the most complex devices in the medical ultrasonic and industrial fields
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