June 2010

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…that an RSF Elektronik ring encoder is a critical component for the latest advancement in the fight against cancer?  That advancement is TomoDirect™, a new way to deliver radiation therapy, now available on the innovative TomoTherapy® treatment system.

There are more than 300 TomoTherapy® treatment systems worldwide. The systems are used daily by radiation oncology teams to treat a wide variety of cancers, from the most routine cases to the most complex. The versatility of the system is attributed to its design; TomoTherapy® is the only radiation therapy device built on a CT scanner-based ring gantry platform. This unique design enables pre-treatment CT imaging, used to enhance accuracy, and a continuous 360-degree (helical) delivery pattern, used to increase precision. The recent introduction of TomoDirect™ added a non-rotational delivery mode to the TomoTherapy® platform, furthering increasing its usefulness in treating certain cases, such as breast cancer.

Using the TomoDirect™ software and hardware package, the system’s ring gantry can be “parked” at fixed positions, delivering appropriate treatment from just the right angle, depending on the patient’s needs. The RSF ring encoder—developed by RSF Elektronik, a wholly owned subsidiary of DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN GmbH —guides the stopping points with extremely high accuracy.

“Within this approximately 2 meter diameter ring, we actually have 0.01 degree accuracy,” explained Rob O’Connell, TomoTherapy Systems Engineer. “This is even better than our design requirement.”

TomoTherapy chose to use the almost 2 m RSF MSR 40 ring encoder because of its high accuracy as well as its steel tape design that could easily be provided at a custom length. The RSF encoder was also the only provider that included an effective single clamp for the ends, eliminating the need for messy glue or a second reader head. “The set up tolerance was wide too, making this a simple and effective upgrade to our system, both for new and for in-field TomoTherapy® systems,” said Tom Finnessy, Director of Systems and Product Development. “We can install this upgrade to our in-field systems in a weekend. We have been and continue to be very pleased with RSF through this whole process.”

The ring encoder from RSF Elektronik is a modular steel tape rotary ring encoder, available for measurement applications from 6 inches (150 mm) to 6 feet (about 2 m). Besides medical applications, it is proving useful in rotary tables and telescopes, to name a few.

Products from RSF Elektronik, based in Austria, are available in North America through HEIDENHAIN Corporation. 

For more information, please go to www.rsf.net or contact your HEIDENHAIN sales representative.

TomoTherapy Incorporated (www.tomotherapy.com) is based in Madison, WI.

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