December 3, 2001 — CHICAGO, IL — As mail processing centers around the country gear up for a busy holiday season, Ion Beam Applications’ (IBA) said its Bridgeport electron beam and X-ray facility in new Jersey sanitized ten trailers of USPS mail in its first week of operation.
The facility opened around Thanksgiving. There are currently 24 workers at the facility, but officials plan to bring that number to 30 to help that facility reach its goal of round-the-clock operation.
“We are currently processing one truckload of mail every 3.5 hours,” said John Gilbert, director of operations, IBA North America. “Once we get up to full speed, we should be capable of sanitizing at least seven trailers of mail per day in the electron-beam mode.”
When mail is brought to the facility, it is stored in an isolation room where it is handled by workers wearing special protective clothing. The mail is placed on a conveyor system and sent through an electron beam curtain emitted by a high-powered Rhodotron accelerator, which helps to destroy any harmful pathogens. The mail is then forwarded to the U.S. Postal Service for regular distribution.
IBA was also part of a recent National Academy of Science meeting organized by the government to advise Congress on sanitizing mail with electron beam or X-ray technology.