How Does the Electron Beam Sterilization Process Work?

The electron beam sterilization process begins with an electron beam accelerator. E-BEAM Services uses high power state of the art accelerators to create a powerful beam of electrons. The beam is scanned back and forth to create a curtain of fast electrons, which shower and safely ionize the materials that they strike. There is no radioactivity involved.

In electron beam sterilization, boxes of medical devices are put on a conveyor in a single layer. As they pass through the beam, electrons penetrate the cardboard box and all the medical devices in their individual packages inside the carton. Harmful microorganisms are completely inactivated with minimal effect on the medical devices. As the electrons penetrate the products, the radiation dose diminishes so less radiation leaves the box then entered. Medical devices are usually turned over and irradiated from the opposite side in order to get a relatively uniform dose. Electron-beam machines are highly reliable and provide consistent radiation sterilization, because the dosing they provide is precisely repeatable.

Gamma sterilization, unlike electron beam sterilization, uses a radioactive cobalt source in the form of pencils. There’s a complicated conveyor system that slowly moves the product around the cobalt source. Several hours are required to deliver the radiation dose. Because E-BEAM Services uses the highest power accelerators for maximum throughput, boxes are dosed in a matter of seconds. In a four-hour period, E-BEAM Services can sterilize multiple truckloads where the typical gamma plant can process less than a truckload.

Learn more about about converting from ETO or gamma sterilization to e-beam sterilization.

E-BEAM Services provides the most cost-effective radiation sterilization for low to medium density medical devices. For example, boxes with low or low to medium density could be successfully sterilized. However, a tall medium density box might not receive good enough dose distribution within the box. If you were to repackage in a shorter box, a medium-density box could then be successfully sterilized.

We here at E-BEAM Services understand that the conversion from your current sterilization method to electron beam takes effort and will involve upfront costs. However, we can also help you determine your eventual cost savings and how quickly you will recoup your costs when you convert to high-quality, reliable, cost effective electron beam sterilization.

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