When it comes to powering an autoclave, there is a common misconception that a lower power requirement means lower energy consumption. It is rarely the case.
For example, if you use a 3kW heater to boil three litres of water and it takes one hour, it would have used 3kW⋅h of power. In the same way, if you use a 1kW heater and it takes three hours to boil three litres of water, you have used 3kW⋅h of power – but it has taken a lot longer! This principal is the same on a sterilizer, particularly on square section units fitted with heated and cooling jackets.
When starting an autoclave from cold (either at the beginning of the day or having completed a fluid cycle with jacket cooling), it is good practice to prepare the machine to effect a good sterilization cycle, i.e. heat the steam generator (if it’s cold), pressure vessel jacket, the load etc.
It will take approximately the same amount of energy on all sterilizers of similar size to get the temperature from A to B, so if you use a higher power-rated sterilizer you get there much quicker than one fitted with a lower rated power supply.
Astell provides the best of both when we supply units fitted with our integral 48kW steam generator. This steam generator can supply lots of energy very quickly - to get the equipment up to temperature and ready to use (much quicker than low power units). Then, once the sterilizer jacket etc. is hot and up to pressure, Astell’s control system switches to a lower power requirement, the machine goes into economy mode, and now only uses 50% of its heating capacity as and when needed for the majority of most cycles that would be run. When the machine is idle the steam generator can be programmed to switch off and only come back on when needed, to further save energy.
Control of the steam generator is integrated in to Astell’s standard-fit colour touchscreen system. At any time you can view the steam generator status, water levels high and low, running pressure, heater status etc. with one touch of the screen. Steam generator running pressure, blowdown, timed start and power usage are all fully programmable via the password protected touchscreen menus.
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