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  5. 6. Electron beam sterilization system that uses no chemicals or water

Supporting Everyday Living

6. Electron beam sterilization system that uses no chemicals or water

PET bottles are sterilized in order to be able to fill them with beverages hygienically.
Previously, sterilization was done using chemicals, but we have developed a sterilization device that uses low-energy, environmentally conscious electron beams (beta rays).

Process of sterilization using electron beams

Before filling, PET bottles are sterilized by being irradiated from both the inside and outside using low-energy electron beams.

Using electron beam sterilization…

Removes the need for chemicals (60,000 l/year) and rinsing water (15, 000,000 l/year) Removes the need for waste fluid processing Reduces electricity and other energy consumption (by about 50%) Allows for the increasing thinness of PET bottles

* Values when one filling line of a given scale is compared.

Flow from PET bottle sterilization to filling

Empty PET bottle Electron beam irradiation (illustration of device interior) Filling with beverage

Features of sterilization using low-energy electron beams

By reducing the size of the electron beam emitter, it is possible to insert the emitter into the opening of a PET bottle to sterilize it on the inside. This means that even low-energy electron beams can provide enough sterilization.

Comparison of high-energy and low-energy electron beams

The old sterilization system using high-energy electron beams irradiated PET bottles from the outside, using powerful electron beams that penetrated the PET plastic to reach the interior. This led to problems with foul odors or color changes in the PET bottles.
The low-energy electron beam sterilization system we have developed means there are no side effects such as color changes or foul odors from the bottles.

What is electron beam sterilization?

Electron beam sterilization is a method of sterilizing using radiation, similar to something like gamma beam sterilization. Electron beams are given high levels of energy by an accelerator, creating a beam of accelerated electrons but without generating any radioactive materials.
The technology behind this electron beam sterilization has a long history, with X-rays, a form of radiation, being known for their sterilizing properties as far back as around 1900.