Things To Consider When Buying An Autoclave
For many years the autoclave has been an essential part of any sterilization process. But over the past years there have been a plethora of regulations related to safety issues that make it more complicated to choose the best autoclave for the purpose. Indeed, this has led to the development of new accessories and systems that are required to optimize autoclave performance. For example, there are new vacuum air removal, venting systems and cooling system options that make the best purchase a more complex activity. In this article, we will discuss some of the considerations that should be taken into account.
• Who will be using the autoclave? The complexity of setting up and operating an autoclave varies with the type of sterilization and the quality control specifications. In the area of health and safety, the specifications are well known and most autoclaves designed for this sort of work are fairly simple to operate and maintain. However, this is not the same set of conditions for certain laboratory and manufacturing scenarios. As a result, it is important to take into consideration who will be operating the more complex requirements a laboratory autoclave may require.
• Lifetime Costs. It is also wise to consider factors such as amount of electricity or steam used the cost of water for cooling and vacuum pumps. Given that most autoclaves have about a five year life span, consider the cost of servicing maintenance. As a general statement of fact, the more moving parts the more possibilities for problems.
• What is the range of items to be placed in the autoclave? It goes without saying (but we will say it anyway) that specifying the full range of items to be autoclaved needs to be considered. You should give consideration to all potential items that may require sterilization.
• Will you need a top or front loading autoclave? Top loading requires less floor space than a front loading machine
• Would you prefer a cylindrical or rectangular chamber? Normally, a cylindrical chamber is better for cooling, weighs less and is less expensive to maintain. A rectangular chamber is usually larger and has more capacity.
• Electronically heated inside chamber or external source? As a general statement, inside heating is less complex and requires less servicing. An outside source is faster and provides better circulation as well as faster cooling.
• What type of door will you require? Manual door with handbolts is less complex whereas a single action closure is faster and easier to operate. A power door requires no swing and is faster than manual operations; however, they require more servicing.
• Will you need a steam jacket? These are like having another pressure vessel surrounding the autoclave. They provide the best system for achieving dryness in porous and textile loads. Moreover, they reduce condensation during certain cycles.
• Electrical supply, 230v single phase for smaller systems and 400 v 3 phase for larger autoclaves.
• Type of water? Mains water for drain condensers and vacuum pumps. Treated water for in areas of hard water.
This article touched upon some of the main considerations when purchasing an autoclave. Indeed, there are more requirements depending on the situation but those mentioned are a good start.