Industrial Processing

STERIS Applied Sterilization Technologies (AST) offers the industrial products market the most comprehensive array of contract processing options for a wide range of applications for Customers who require a variety of ionizing radiation types.

By offering a complete assessment service based on decades of experience, we are able to advise on the most effective process and what the expected outcome should be.

Cross Linking and Materials Modification for Industrial Products

Make the most of your products with industrial materials modification services from STERIS AST! Materials modification by automated gamma irradiation produces physical and chemical improvements in your bulk polymers.

Modifying the molecular structure of many polymers enhances their physical characteristics, such as resistance to heat and abrasion. STERIS AST employs electron beam and gamma irradiation for initiating these changes at the molecular level in polymers.  The absorption of the radiation energy can lead to either cross-linking or chain scission of the macro-molecular chains; electron B-beam accelerators frequently carry this out, although gamma radiation is used in some instances.

The chemical structure and morphology of the polymer plays an important role with regards to its tendency to degrade or to cross-link.  For some polymers, the aim is to change thermoplastic materials into thermosets.  The molecules in the thermoplastic materials tend to slip and slide over one another fairly freely.  As temperatures rise, these uncross-linked materials soften and finally melt.  When they are cross-linked, molecular movement is impeded and the material becomes more stable against heat.

The principal types of polymeric product that benefit from treatment by irradiation are:

  • Cable jacket materials
  • Wire insulation
  • Heatshrink and other types of tubing
  • Components to be used in high temperature applications, e.g. electrical switch gear parts
  • Molded components requiring chemical or temperature resistance

Radiation Effects

Ionizing radiation is found across a wide range of applications, from nuclear to space, through to numerous industrial processes. STERIS AST provides a comprehensive selection of radiation testing facilities and services, based upon our unrivaled portfolio of irradiation plants across The Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Expertise in Radiation Effects

  • Pre-irradiation assessments
  • Electronic circuit simulation
  • Materials selection
  • Component selection
  • Cobalt-60 gamma irradiation facilities
  • Electron beam irradiation facilities (1 – 20 MeV)
  • Database of published data on radiation effects
  • Shielding/penetration calculations
  • Radiation and environmental testing

Our Facilities

The assessment of radiation effects on materials and components normally considers several aspects of the radiation environment in turn. STERIS AST offers test facilities for total dose, electrons and protons as follows:

  • Total integrated dose: gamma radiation from cobalt-60 sources; dose rates from background to several kGy/hr (depending on sample size); in-situ monitoring, temperature control
  • Electron irradiation: from 1 to 20 MeV; doses from tens of Gy to MGy; in-situ monitoring; temperature control; sample handling by conveyor or static positioning under the beam (forced cooling required).

The synergistic effect of irradiation and other factors can lead to more rapid degradation than the sum of the individual effects would indicate. We offer the possibility to irradiate in a range of gaseous environments and vacuum, with heating or cooling, with or without electrical stress and, for solar cells, under illumination.

Nuclear Component Processing

STERIS AST provides the nuclear services industry with radiation exposure for nuclear components. Our services are utilized to expose nuclear components and materials to gamma radiation for both lifetime and accidental radiation exposure.

Gemstone Enhancement

Many types of gemstone can benefit from enhancement of their color through treatment using exposure to ionizing irradiation. STERIS AST offers a high quality, fast turnaround electron treatment service for gemstone enhancement built on technical expertise and nearly 20 years of experience.

Our facilities at Bitterfeld (Germany), Daventry (UK), Radeberg (Germany) and Chonburi (Thailand) are optimally configured for efficient gemstone enhancement treatment allowing high dose and high energy electron processing of rough, pre-form or cut stones in approximately 1kg lots.


As a global leading sterilization and contamination control specialist, STERIS AST has over 40 years experience in providing safe and effective industrial application processing.

Contact our team of experts to find out more about our Global Contract Sterilization, Testing and Validation Services.