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Square autoclave glassware load

Key questions when buying a new autoclave - What's the load?

Part one of five in a series of articles looking at considerations and options when choosing an autoclave.

What are you sterilizing?  What does the load contain?

So you have decided you need a new autoclave sterilizer. Congratulations, you are in the right place! Astell Scientific has been the Leaders in Sterilization since 1884.

There are a number of important questions end users and distributors alike should consider before specifying or purchasing an autoclave. The first being - What are you sterilizing? The type of load and its volume has a bearing on the unit and features we would recommend. Some examples of load types and the recommended autoclave specification are below.

Media: Loads typically containing agar or liquids can result in extended cycle times, since  fluids  will cool down relatively slowly. Depending on how critical the cycle length is, we can offer a variety of cooling systems using water (via water coils or a ‘jacket’) or air (via an external or internal fan). With fast cooling an ‘air ballast’ system may also be required to prevent media boiling over - caused by pressure change within the vessel. Fluid loads will also benefit from the use of Load Sensed Timing, where the load sterilization temperature and time are accurately controlled by a ‘wandering temperature probe’ placed within the load (or simulated load).

Waste or 'Discard': If laboratory waste is non-hazardous and being sterilised in small quantities, special options may not be necessary: however, for large ‘difficult’ discard loads, where air pockets may be an issue, standard ‘freesteaming’ (or ‘air-purging’) may need to be replaced with a vacuum  system. Astell offer CAT III (BSL3) compliance options for autoclaves dealing with high risk waste sterilization requirements in addition to hepa filtration and vacuum, these loads benefit from the addition of a steam jacket, which improves heat distribution.

Laboratory glassware: a standard machine will often suffice for sterilize glassware loads, which usually comprise of beakers, flasks, bottles and cylinders. However if these are not empty see Media for further guidance on sterilizing liquids.

Surgical packs and wrapped instruments: Any porous items need a steam generator (or external steam source), vacuum drying and a heated jacket around the chamber to ensure a touch-dry load at the end of the sterilization cycle.

Animal bedding/feed: As with surgical packs and wrapped instruments, animal bedding and feed requires a steam generator, vacuum drying and heated jacket to ensure the removal of all moisture and a touch-dry load at the end of the sterilization cycle.

Astell also manufactures autoclaves for the sterilization of a wide range of other materials, including blister packs, contact lenses, soil, filters etc.

For more guidance try our Product Finder, or for free advice and to get a personal recommendation of the best type of autoclave for you, please Contact us.

Go to part two - Capacity and cycle time.