Jun 27, 2017

Hitachi Zosen Expands Electron Beam Irradiation Technology to Sterilization and Modification Applications

Hitachi Zosen Corporation has drawn on its production and sales operations of emitters for electron beam irradiation systems to develop an irradiation process targeting film sterilization and modification applications.

■Outline of electron beam irradiation technology
To date, Hitachi Zosen has offered two types of emitter primarily for sterilizing PET drink bottles: a nozzle-type in-the-bottle (ITB) emitter for irradiating the inner surface, and a wider area outside-the-bottle (OTB) emitter for irradiating the outer surface (Patent No. 5774156). The latest development, set for full-scale commercialization, uses the emitters in an irradiation process for the sterilization and modification of medical and pharmaceutical packaging. The company plans to use its existing film conveyance technology, employed in plastic extrusion molding and roll-to-roll film formation, toward commercializing a continuous irradiation system equipped with an OTB emitter.

■Features of irradiation process for sterilization and modification

1.Low energy, high efficiency
Hitachi Zosen’s low-energy emitter minimizes damage from heat and the generation of toxic substances in the target material. While low in output, the high energy efficiency enables sterilization and modification while consuming less power than treatment with ultraviolet and gamma rays.

2.High-speed processing
Unlike ultraviolet and thermal treatment, electron beam processing is performed at high speed, enabling sterilization and modification at room temperature.

The emitter employing proprietary technology represents the world’s smallest electron beam irradiator, enabling the design of a compact system.

4.Low environmental impact
The emitter uses no chemicals and consumes little power, minimizing environmental impact.

Future outlook

Production of a film irradiation demo system equipped with the emitter is scheduled for FY2017.


 Demo system (image for illustrative purposes only)


The release of mass production systems, such as a continuous sheet irradiation system, is slated for FY2018.


 Roll-to-roll film irradiation system (image for illustrative purposes only)

■Irradiation testing
Hitachi Zosen’s Precision Machinery Center accepts materials for irradiation testing. A sample report of the results will be provided along with system and mass production recommendations.
1. Facility: Precision Machinery Center
2. Location: Hitachi Zosen Chikkou Works, 2-2-11 Funamachi, Taisho-ku, Osaka
3. Equipment: ITB/OTB irradiation testing systems
4. Inquiries:
Electron Beam Technology Group,
Food & Pharmaceutical Machinery Design Department,
Systematic Machinery Business Unit, Machinery Business Headquarters
TEL: +81-6-6551-9113

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