Specialists in the simulation of ionising radiation equipment for more than 20 years. STS is an English company, now in our 25th year of trading. We are a small (but we consider perfectly formed) company who have a diverse range of scientific and engineering skills which we utilise in the design, manufacture and sale of a range of scientific instruments. Our consdierable experience in taking concepts from the drawing board to production has enabled us to think laterally when designing new products, to be 100% customer focused and to grow a solid and profitable company. STS utilise a wide spectrum of contractors and sub contractors which allows us to draw on a huge pool of skill sets on everything from Optical and Electronic design through to precision engineering and pcb manufacture. This flexibility allows STS to move quickly and effiently where other larger organisations are restricted by large overhead and bureaucracy.
A potted history of STS:
Our first range of instruments were Simulation products for training workers in the Nuclear, Homeland Security and Emergency Services sectors. The simulators were designed to replicate ionising radiation fields and contamination using modified real instruments and later our range of Generic monitors. STS now sells its Radiation Simulation systems throughout the world via a network of distributors.
To support the manufacture of gas detectors for our surface monitoring simulators, we have developed skills in forming, welding and soldering very thin- 10 micron - platinium wire and we now offer this as a service.
Through a development exercise, we began considering unusual fluorescence measurement techniques which led to the SMF2 – the World's first portable spectrofluorimeter. This rapidly found uses in security printing, agricultural research and in very specific river water analysis. Next came the SMF 3, a whole body monitor with applications in the precise measurement of contamination on workers handling toxic chemicals such as pesticides, industrial chemicals and Chemical Warfare agents. Most recently the SMF4 has been developed and sold for the monitoring of organic pollution in water and most often for the tracing of misconnections between households and the sewer network.
We have always looked to develop new products and measurement techniques even in diverse fields. Our latest product range the STS Siloxane Monitor is again a new field for us and in a new market. The Siloxane Monitor is used to measure damaging contaminants in gas supplied from Anerobic Digesters and Landfill sites to electricity generating engines.
STS have a proven track record in developing new products and have successfully gained recognition for our innovation through grants from the Dti, TSB and WRAP and awards including a Silver award from the European Environmental Press.
We are always keen to consider new projects – just let us know how we can help.
Why Use Simulation for Radiation and Contamination Monitoring?
Simulators are essential in many training situations, for instance training aircraft pilots, firearms training and in medical procedures, so the principle is very well established. The reasons for their use are complex – sometimes because of cost, sometimes where there is technological difficulty in providing training without a simulator, sometimes to reduce strain on the trainee.
In the case of ionising radiation simulators, there is a very specific reason – the environment that the trainee is ultimately going to work in is fundamentally hazardous and international regulations IRR 1999 forbid any unnecessary exposure of staff – even during training. Simulators are able to replicate the appearance and characteristics of contamination from radioactive sources and replicate cross contamination where clothing contamination or skin contamination may occur. This is not possible to duplicate with a real source scenario without undue and prolonged exposure.
A second consideration is the exposure of the trainer – if real sources are used, every training session poses an additional cumulative dose to the trainer, while the trainee receives only the dose resulting from the session attended.
A further difficulty in detection training with real radiation sources is the amount of paperwork required to move sources, even very small ones, from very secure areas to “open field” exercise areas. This consumes a great deal of time which could be more productively used. Radiation simulators solve these problems – the trainer has no cumulative exposure from each training session and the trainee can make serious mistakes without any hazard to anyone.
The requirements for the form and performance of the simulators is worthy of consideration and should be considered in two aspects. Firstly, the technology used should produce a realistic response, so that the trainee experiences a very similar performance from his simulator as he would from a real instrument.
In particular, aspects such as the Inverse Square Law, materials shielding and response speed are vital, as are the function of the major controls on the simulator.
Of great importance is the physical form of the simulator and because there is no substitute for the real thing, simulators need to be as close to the real instrument manufacturers (such as Thermo, Ludlum, Rotem, Automess, Saphymo) as possible. It is essential that the trainee is instructed in the use of the particular instrument that they will go on to use in a real life situation be that an Electra a RO20, a Ram Gene, an SPA6 or an AD6150 etc.
It is the very fact that the simulation situation is true to life that makes the training such a valuable exercise and an instrument that does not react in a realistic fashion – for example by being shielded by paper or plastic will not educate the trainee, and may place them in a potentially hazardous situation.
Good simulators allow training to progress from “no knowledge” to a full understanding of instrument controls and the relationship with source position, instrument position and meter reading.
Ultimately trainees will need to make measurements with real instruments and sources, under supervision, but their performance here will be much more confident if they have progressed to that point via good simulation.