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Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS)

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DIMATE PACS

Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) is a comprehensive system widely used in the field of medicine and nondestructive testing (NDT). PACS streamlines the management, storage, retrieval, and distribution of digital images and associated data.

History of PACS

The concept of PACS emerged in the 1970s as a response to the growing use of radiological imaging in healthcare, with the initial large-scale installation performed in 1982 [1]. Traditional film-based methods for storing and sharing images were cumbersome, time-consuming, and prone to loss or degradation. PACS was developed to digitize and streamline the entire process, from image acquisition to storage, retrieval, and communication.

As the technology matured and demonstrated its value in the medical field, PACS systems became an integral part of healthcare institutions worldwide. Over time, PACS technology has also found applications in other fields, including NDT, where similar image management and communication challenges exist. In NDT, PACS systems were adapted to handle industrial inspection images and data, offering similar benefits in terms of efficiency, data security, and compliance.

Components of PACS

PACS comprises several key components, each serving a distinct purpose in the seamless integration of imaging and data management in NDT. These components work cohesively to facilitate the storage, retrieval, and communication of images and information.

  1. Image Acquisition: Image acquisition devices, such as computed tomography (CT) scanners and digital radiography (DR) systems, capture images of test objects, defects, or anomalies, converting them into digital format for further processing and storage.
  2. Image Storage: The image storage server is a critical component of PACS, responsible for securely storing a vast amount of inspection images and data.
  3. Image Communication: PACS relies on a dedicated communication network—mainly DICONDE network services—to facilitate the transfer of images and data between different components of the system. This network may be wired or wireless, depending on the specific NDT environment.
  4. Image Display: Image display stations are used to view, interpret, and analyze images and data.
  5. Image Management and Workflow: PACS incorporates software solutions designed to manage and streamline the workflow of image acquisition, storage, and retrieval. This software often includes features like automated image sorting, metadata tagging, and customizable reporting tools.
  6. Web Services: These services respectively corresponding applications enable authorized users, including engineers, technicians, and inspectors, to access and review images and reports, including DICONDE (Digital Imaging and Communication in Nondestructive Evaluation) data, from any location with an internet connection.
  7. Security and Data Protection: PACS systems incorporate robust security measures, including encryption, access controls, and audit trails, to protect images and data from unauthorized access or tampering.
  8. Integration with NDT Equipment: The system should be compatible with a range of imaging devices and sensors, ensuring that data can be easily captured and integrated into the PACS workflow.
  9. Archive and Data Retention: PACS systems offer long-term archiving capabilities, ensuring that historical inspection data remains accessible and secure for compliance, analysis, and future reference.
  10. Reporting and Analysis Tools: Reporting and analysis tools allow users to generate comprehensive inspection reports, measure and annotate image objects, and perform professional defect analysis.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1546084306000733

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