Customised stainless steel autoclave

Customised autoclaves for manufacturing process sterilization

Astell produces a tailor-made stainless steel autoclave for the sterilization of sealed contact lens blister packs.

As the UK’s leading autoclave manufacturing company Astell was recently approached by a manufacturer of contact lenses to create a machine to meet the precise production standards required of the optometry industry. The customer’s challenge was to allow the safe sterilization of sealed contact lens blister packs prior to distribution. The danger being that too much pressure and temperature applied too quickly could result in the delicate blister packs bursting or distorting.

Astell has a wealth of experience in steam sterilization and in this case was the first-choice supplier for a tailored sterilization solution. Having initially worked with our customer to establish their needs from their comprehensive URS, we made a series of recommendations on the machine specification and its operating parameters. This resulted in Astell manufacturing a customised 120 litre front opening ASB260 'Swiftlock' autoclave.

The unit was equipped with our standard ‘316L-grade stainless steel’ circular sterilizer chamber and complemented with all-stainless-steel orbitally welded pipework, hygienic connections, and a stainless steel frame and panelwork to suit the environment in which the equipment will be used. The pressure vessel featured the addition of a heating and cooling jacket system, along with our specially designed internal fan situated inside the chamber to maintain a constant steam/air mix throughout the heating and sterilization phase of cycles. These features also have the benefit of helping to significantly reduce cooling times. Finally, the autoclave also included an integrated all-stainless-steel steam generator for fast, controlled steam production.

In parallel, we worked closely with our customer to develop modified software for Astell’s standard-fitment touchscreen controller to produce sterilization programs able to meet the requirements of a fully loaded chamber of liquid filled blister packs. The cycles concentrate on a steam/air mix ramped heating and sterilization process to avoid bursting the sealed packs. This is then followed by a progressive controlled ramped cooling phase after sterilization to prevent any distortion of the product through sudden temperature change.

Our customised autoclave software was loaded into the ASB260’s colour touchscreen controller and the unit fully tested before delivery, and we are delighted to report the machine is delivering accurate repeatability and fast turnaround times to the customers’ exact requirements.

For more information on the Swiftlock range or how we can build a customised autoclave to suit your industry needs, please Contact us.

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