Lake Avon, OH —Engineers in the medical industry are buzzing about a line of high-density compounds intended to supplant lead in radiation-shielding applications. Xitec Inc. (East Windsor, CT), for example, makes low-power portable x-ray fluoroscopy systems for medical, veterinary, industrial, and security applications. The company has replaced the lead in its collimator tube shields with a tungsten-containing compound called Ecomass from PolyOne Corp. (see DN 5/15/00, p. 51), which allows Xitec engineers to design with more complex shapes, improving product quality while reducing production costs.
Tungsten x-ray-tube shields weigh and cost less, are easier to assemble and align, and improve collimator performance compared to lead versions.
The cylindrical shield plays a major part in concentrating x-rays and protecting personnel from stray radiation. The original lead tube shield was climbing in cost because of increasingly stringent regulatory control, according to Xitec Mechanical Design Engineer Randy LeValley. And the soft, malleable lead part was prone to damage prior to final assembly.
Due to its complex shape, the Ecomass part is half the weight and cost of its lead predecessor, LeValley says. "It enhances collimator performance because it puts the shield closer to the radiation source," he explains. "Moreover, the Ecomass part speeds up the assembly process ten-fold because it's manufactured using conventional thermoplastic molding equipment, and a mounting ring molded into the part eliminates several assembly steps."
For more information about Ecomass from PolyOne: Enter 533
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