By Susan Morgan
After spending some time out at E-BEAM’s facility in Lebanon, Ohio I concluded that their tagline - Our Customers Make Great Products - fits them like a glove. With E-BEAM’s help, their customers make a wide variety of products that we all need and use everyday. From helping to provide electricity and hot water to consumers, to keeping cars running safely, and providing sterile medical devices and pharmaceuticals to patients in need across the globe - the E-BEAM team are what I like to call proud and inspired “electron beam experts”. In little more than an hour the E-BEAM team took me from “What is e-beam technology anyhow?” to “Wow – I get it, totally cool and is there anything E-BEAM can’t make better?” (There is but I’ll get to that later.)
Let’s back up – E-BEAM Services, a member of the EACC for 12 + years, is the largest contract electron beam (or 'e-beam') provider in the U.S. They focus on harnessing the power of electrons - through sterilizing medical devices/pharmaceuticals and material modification. They have a great line of “Crash Course” videos produced in-house that provide fascinating insight into the fundamentals of electron beam processing.
Ok - but what is e-beam exactly? Let’s talk about E-BEAM Service sterilizing medical devices and pharmaceuticals. When it comes to sterilization, E-BEAM provides efficient terminal sterilization with redundant, simple and clean, on/off technology. Technically, the e-beam is able to penetrate medical devices and pharmaceutical products within their final shipping containers, effectively inactivating microorganisms by causing microbial death. E-BEAM’s electron experts have perfected advanced electronics to precisely control the use of electrons to deliver exactly the dose needed to do the job, which makes this process precise and repeatable. And they can do it very quickly – the actual sterilizing takes only seconds. Unlike other sterilization methods (such as gamma or ETO), the process is clean - there is no quarantine time, harmful gas, or radioactive material used. Also, because the electron beam process has a faster dose rate than other methods (like gamma, for instance), there is typically less degradation of the product being treated. Can it get any more compelling?
Now we’ll talk about the more complicated (at least to me) side of E-BEAM’s service: materials modification and, in particular, polymer crosslinking (and also long-chain branching and chain scissioning). Again, the precisely controlled and delivered dosing actually alters the molecular composition, effectively and efficiently creating beneficial changes in material properties. The process involves accelerating a beam of electrons to near light speed into a “curtain” of electrons through which treated materials pass. They are showered with these high-energy electrons as they move through the chamber, which penetrate the material with a precise, predetermined dose that depends upon the material being processed. Several different desired effects are achieved. And again, this technology doesn’t require any additives nor does it generate hazardous chemical by-products. What kinds of products are improved with this technology, you ask? Every automobile, house, school, store, and hospital have some components that have been improved by using e-beam technology.
E-BEAM is not the only provider in the US offering this service but they set themselves apart (in my opinion, above) the others in their team approach to clients’ needs. They love a challenge and thrive on working closely with clients, particularly during the research phase of product development. Their clients not only appreciate their expertise but demonstrate their appreciation by remaining loyal to E-BEAM.
Before I left E-BEAM’s facilities, agog with what I had learned, I had one last question for them...why are they members of the EACC? What are they getting out of their membership that motivates them to renew annually? It was an easy question for them to answer...just two words, “new business”. While their client list is confidential (understandably), they assured me that being a member has helped them make some important connections over the years. They are pleased that their membership can help the EACC’s economic development efforts...helping to draw new businesses because medical device manufacturers make location decisions based on proximity to sterilization providers.
Susan Morgan is the Owner and Founder of EACC member firm Solutions Unlimited, a marketing and sales promotion company, and has over twenty years on hands-on experience working with B2C and B2B clients (including the EACC). She's a great person and no one will work harder for your business than she will. She also offers free consultations to EACC member companies. To see what Solutions Unlimited can do for your company or organization, reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-631-6958.