From the very beginning of its foundation RITVERC has been committed to quality, which provided a competitive edge both in Russia and abroad.
1993–2000, first steps
Selection of product portfolio, market investigation, development of new types of the sources, launch of pilot production in cooperation with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute, market launch of the first products, export activity, cooperation with the industry players, collaborative efforts with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute in radiochemistry and manufacture for nuclear medicine
Mössbauer sources were the first series products. The sources which were developed in cooperation between RITVERC and V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute had an obvious advantage over similar products by Amersham, England (being at that time the leader in production of radionuclide sources and, not least, Mössbauer sources) because they had a thin beryllium window and a stronger capsule.
The source active part was manufactured with the use of the advanced technology developed by the staff of RITVERC and V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute. For sealing of the sources, a technology for laser welding was developed being a technical innovation in the Russian radioisotope industry. At that time all Russian producers used argon-arc welding that released excess energy, which was quite critical for such delicate products as Mössbauer sources. In RITVERC for welding we used a precision automatic laser unit based on the Russian welding machine Kvant-15.
To launch batch manufacture of the sources we had to solve raw materials problems. Thus, regarding 57Co sources, we started cooperation with Tver cyclotron (Federal State Institution “2nd Central Scientific Research Institute of RF Ministry of Defense”) on nickel target irradiation. Manufacturing technology for the targets with the use of diffusion welding was developed in cooperation with the staff of St. Petersburg-based Scientific Development and Production Center “Azimut” (NPO Azimut). For production of 119mSn sources we had to cobble together with the Russian nuclear enterprise based in Dimitrovgrad “Atomic Reactor Research Institute” (NIIAR) which had a high-flux reactor SM-3. The first sources were produced in cooperation with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute and shipped for export already in the end of 1995.
As soon as the manufacturing technology for Mössbauer sources and their launch on the international market had been successfully completed, it jump-started development of sealed photon-emitting sources with such radionuclides as 55Fe, 109Cd, 133Ba, 238Pu and other. Design of these sources required development of a technology for silver brazing of beryllium windows to the monel metal capsule. This technology was developed in cooperation with St. Petersburg-based company Scientific Development and Production Center “Svetlana” (NPO Svetlana).
At the same time in Gatchina, in collaboration with the personnel of Department 90 of V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute, there were developed manufacturing technologies and launched production of high purity radionuclide products based on 90Sr, 106Ru and 125I for the use in nuclear medicine to be delivered to BEBIG GmbH (Germany).
2000–2009, RITVERC becomes a strong performer in the radioisotope market
Batch production of the sources, mechanical area and coating area construction, construction of sealing area with laser welding. Start of development of 125I microsources for nuclear medicine. Development and implementation of ISO 9001 Quality Management System. Being recognized as a successful exporter. Establishment of the shipping department
There was developed and launched batch production of sources with such radionuclides as 3H, 63Ni, 90Sr, 133Ba, 241Am, 244Cm, etc. There was also launched production and delivery of standard and calibration sources as reference spectroscopic gamma sources. Large-scale manufacture of the sources required solving problems with raw material supply and fabrication of devices for radiochemical technologies. For this purpose, RITVERC arranged a mechanical area, which covered the basic demands of the manufacture. At the same time, we were working on construction of the coating area based on Balzer-produced modified unit for production of Mössbauer sources active parts, and on development of technology for steel foil welding for 90Sr sources. There was started work on engineering and testing of technologies for production of 125I microsources for brachytherapy.
RITVERC intense efforts in foreign markets called for elaboration and implementation of ISO 9001 Quality Management System, which boomed the company growth. As a result, the company became internationally recognized, and in 2009 was named the Best Exporter of the Year among enterprises based in St. Petersburg.
There were also made active steps in the domestic market. The domestic customer network which had grown significantly over the years, predetermined establishment and development of our own transport department for transportation of radionuclide products.
2009–2010, split-off of the joint production process with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute and moving to a new site
Discontinuation of joint activities with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute, moving to a new site, U-turn in development, establishment of own manufacture of radionuclide products, cooperation with Scientific Research Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polytechnic University in the field of radiochemical operations, focus on cooperation with Nuclitec EZAG in distribution of radionuclide products
The policy change that V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute had made in relation to its affiliates forced RITVERC to move to a new site. The company moved to the site belonging to the former organization POZITRON in Kurchatova street, bld. 10, where there was established production of sealed radioactive sources in rented premises in the radiochemical laboratory of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polytechnic University. At the same time, the company cooperated with the Institute of Nuclear Physics on manufacture of radionuclide products derived from reactor raw materials, as well as on deliveries of products manufactured in the cyclotron of the institute.
We started construction of our own testing laboratory that could cover demand of the company in testing of sealed radionuclide sources under development of new product types.
When moving to the new site we lost some products from the list that had been manufactured in cooperation with V. G. Khlopin Radium Institute, that’s why RITVERC was looking for new directions for its development. To broaden the product portfolio RITVERC enhanced cooperation with EZAG Nuclitec on import of 85Kr and 147Pm sources from Germany and their sales in the Russian market.
At the same time, first steps in providing services in the field of the use of nuclear energy were made.
2011–2018, recovery after moving to the new site and onward growth
The company intensifies efforts in development of new products, at the same time the Testing laboratory gets developed, equipped and accredited. Some products are manufactured on large scale, which leads to partial automation of the technological processes. Enhancing reselling business in distribution of imported products. Launch and development of services in the field of the use of nuclear energy
The company expands capacity, headcount grows, we break new ground. In this period the proprietary design of 125I microsources for brachytherapy was completed.
We also developed and launched following products:
- standard sources for medical dose meters, type DCGS;
- Mössbauer point sources;
- corrosion-resistant 63Ni sources;
- point and line sources;
- 22Na sources for industrial use;
- standard sources type OSGI-P.
Today the company manufactures several dozens of radionuclide products based on 21 radionuclide and shipped to more than 50 countries.
Annual output of sealed radionuclide sources exceeds 2000 pieces.
The company puts continuous efforts in expansion of the product portfolio, as well as into making the production more efficient, sustainable and safe. For this purpose, new devices, automation and robotics elements are being developed. There are also developed new technologies for welding of high-strength products and brazing of beryllium windows on the source capsules in-house. Devices for protection against ionizing radiation are developed and manufactured both for internal use and for sale.
The list of imported sources is extended with 68Ge, 22Na etc. for the use in nuclear medicine.
RITVERC testing laboratory gets accredited by ROSATOM (State Atomic Energy Corporation) within its new system, which opens up fresh opportunities for promotion and enhances reputation as being a modern high technology company.
Collaboration with D. I. Mendeleyev Institute of Metrology (VNIIM) on furnishing the ionizing radiation metrology field with calibration base is strengthened.
In addition to production and deliveries of radionuclide products, the company launches following services in the field of the use of nuclear energy: transportation of Class 7 hazardous materials, reloading of sealed radioactive sources, strength grade tests.
2018–…, way forward
RITVERC plans to make progress in its traditional segments: develop new products, increase its market share, look for new markets. With the challenges of modern world and urgent need in protection of the staff against hazardous ionizing radiation, RITVERC is going to implement robotics in the basic production processes for radionuclide products
RITVERC plans to increase its production capacity, product portfolio and production output.
In the nearest future, development and production launch of OSGI-sources as secondary standards shall be completed. There are plans to carry out works on engineering, development and production launch of high intensity and high strength sources based on 137Cs and 90Sr sources for the use in nuclear medicine and other. Accreditation scope of the Testing laboratory will be extended to cover most of the industry demand for testing of sealed radioactive sources.