IsoSiM Visit to ACSI

Edward Thoeng, IsoSiM MA student in Accelerator Physics, UBC and TRIUMF

On October 26th, 2015, IsoSiM students had the opportunity to visit one of our industrial partners, ACSI (Advanced Cyclotron Systems, Inc.). ACSI is a high-tech company located in Richmond involved in manufacturing and supplying cyclotron systems worldwide for nuclear medicine application. The IsoSiM group departed from TRIUMF and arrived at ACSI headquarters early in the morning. We were greeted at ACSI office by our kind host from ACSI, Mr. Mauricio Penteado, of whom we had previously met during our industrial partnership day at TRIUMF.

Our visit started with a workshop about ACSI and cyclotron technology, and was later followed by a visit to the cyclotron manufacturing facility at the neighbouring EBCO Industries, an affiliated company supporting ACSI’s cyclotron production that is one of Canada’s largest manufacturing facilities. From the introductory presentation we learned about medical cyclotron technologies built at ACSI and the long-standing partnership between TRIUMF & EBCO/ACSI. The technological transfer from TRIUMF’s cyclotron technology to ACSI resulted in the development of the TR series medical cyclotron which is also used for TRIUMF’s nuclear medicine program. Later, we had the chance to meet Richard Eppich, President and CEO of EBCO Industries, and the son of EBCO's founder, Helmut Eppich. He explained the story of how TRIUMF and EBCO initiated their partnership for the construction of TRIUMF’s main 520 MeV cyclotron back in the 1970s and how ACSI is founded based on the technological transfer from TRIUMF to ACSI.

After the introductory workshop at the ACSI office, we continued with a tour of the EBCO manufacturing facilities. Guided through the fabrication plant, IsoSiM students were able to learn first-hand about the heavy and precision machining facilities at EBCO, where cyclotron production is a subdivision of EBCO’s manufacturing capability that extends to oil & gas, mining, aerospace, & marine heavy industries applications, just to mention a few. We were also shown various cyclotron components which had been machined directly from bulk metals at the manufacturing site. We later proceeded to the cyclotron components assembly and electronics R&D area and were shown the fully assembled TR series cyclotron with target mount, electronics rack, and the control software view for cyclotron operation. Our visit finished just before lunch time, and then we headed back directly to TRIUMF.

All of the technologies needed for delivering a complete medical cyclotron system are developed in-house at the ACSI facilities. This shows a unique example of how basic research initiated at TRIUMF resulted in real-life and commercial technological advances developed at ACSI. This visit can hopefully inspire IsoSiM students working in diverse fields of study to improve and expand cyclotron technologies and applications beyond medical isotope production. We are grateful to ACSI for hosting our visit and we’re looking forward to our productive collaboration in the near future! 

Nic Zdunich