Sterilization Education

Compare E-Beam and Conveyor Configurations

Ready to optimize your product’s sterilization? Contact us today for a complimentary evaluation. Our sterilization expertise ensures consistent processing tailored to your needs. Let’s find the ideal configuration for your product!

Comparing E-Beam and Conveyor Configurations for Optimal Product Sterilization

Are you evaluating electron beam as an option for sterilization and considering which beam and conveyor configuration is most suitable for your product? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Is the product boxed, bagged, on rolls, or in a different packaging configuration?
  • Is the packaging configuration designed to accommodate vertical flipping?

Electron beam product handling systems come in several varieties. One design is not necessarily better than another, but different handling systems are optimized for different types of products.

  • Horizontal beam and carrier conveyance: rectangular boxes, including configurations that are sensitive to excessive handling / flipping or higher temperatures
  • Vertical beam and box / tray conveyance: rectangular boxes and bagged or loose bulk products that can tolerate flipping or higher temperatures
  • Reel to reel conveyance: crosslinking cables or material on rolls. Few medical devices fall in this category. 

At NextBeam, we are optimized for the medical device industry and our horizontal beam-and-carrier configuration with automation provides for optimal, consistent, and gentle handling of these products.

The table below explains some of the factors that make these systems specialized for running particular product types. If your product has some features not described by the table that you would like some help to assess for compatibility with an electron beam process (density, dose range, product materials…) contact us for a complimentary evaluation.

TABLE: Comparing E-Beam and Conveyor Configurations for Optimal Product Sterilization

CharacteristicHorizontalVertical pointing up / down at product
Product HandlingBoxes loaded on carrier. Very low density products can be arranged multiple units deep through the beam path. Bagged or loose bulk products require fixturing to prevent settling.Boxes directly on conveyor or on flat trays. Very low density products could be stacked multiple units deep on trays with a compatible box flipper (barrel rotator). Not recommended for box conveyor. Bagged or loose bulk products work well with a vertical beamline due to settling.
Dose MappingSimple with 1 or 2 beam configuration. Dose mapping could require more product if carrier is filled.Simple with 1-beam configuration. More complex with 2-beam configuration due to different spot sizes on top/bottom of product. Could require more product if using tray based conveyor or less product if using box conveyor.
Flexibility in product size and orientationDepends on size restriction of carrierDepends on size restriction of conveyor (and box flipper if 1 beam configuration)
Rotating / flipping product between passesRotation performed by rotating conveyor section. N/A for 2 beam configuration.Flipping performed by paddle wheel, curved metal slides, barrel, or manual flip. N/A for 2-beam configuration.
Process InterruptionProcess interruption can involve more product if the carrier contains multiple boxes, but impact can be easier to validate due to larger and consistent spot sizeProcess interrupt can involve fewer products if boxes travel in a single line, but impact can be more difficult to validate due to the smaller and/or variable spot size.