Best Penetration Characteristics
X-ray sterilization offers better penetration characteristics than either gamma or E-beam. The X-rays deeper penetration allows for this technique to be used on many products and packaging configurations that E-beam cannot. X-rays are able be used on products made of all types of materials including metals, liquids and high-density and multicomponent products. In addition, the deeper penetration allow for larger packaging configurations and pallets to be sterilized as well.
Dose Uniformity Ratio (DUR)
While gamma is able to penetrate most of the same materials and configurations as x-ray sterilization, there is great concern with the uniformity of the gamma dose. With gamma, the DUR can be of concern during sterilization. The use of x-rays solves this and allows for tight dose ranges to be held.
Reduced Polymer Reactions
One of the major concerns with any irradiation of polymers is the interaction and effects it has on the materials. High exposure can cause significant changes in the material properties and even color. With the short exposure time and improved DUR, x-ray sterilization can be used on products which only previous option was the use of ethylene oxide.
Faster Processing Speeds
X-ray sterilization offers one of the fastest processing times of any sterilization technique. It does not have dwell time or outgas requirements of ETO and is able to sterilize products quicker than gamma. This can reduce the sterilization turnaround time in many cases by days.
Less Environmental Impact
Some sterilization techniques have potential impacts on the environment. In particular, ETO sterilization uses ethylene oxide gas which is very poisonous and has to be carefully monitored and controlled while gamma uses cobalt-60, a radioactive element which needs to have proper security measures and disposal of after the cobalt is no longer being used.