Economical E-beams

April 26, 2007
Electron beams are used for a variety of tasks, including sterilizing packaging, medical devices, air, and liquids; curing and drying inks, coatings, and adhesives; and to densify and crosslink thin films.

But conventional E-beam emitters are large and costly with their vacuum-pumping equipment, high-voltage power supplies, and complex shielding. AEB Emitters from Advanced Electron Beams, Wilmington, Mass. (, are one-tenth the cost and one-hundredth the size of conventional emitters, according to the company. That is partially due to the fact that they don't require vacuum pumps and use solid-state power supplies.

Emitters come in two sizes: 10 in., with a 250 × 50-mm exposure area, and 16 in., with a 400 × 50-mm exposure area. The units can be combined to produce beams of any width. They weigh less than 30 lb and operate in the 80 to 150-kV range. If used to continuously put out E-beams, the devices require water-cooling (1 gpm at 20°C). They also do not need in-plant engineering or maintenance expertise, says AEB.

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