Lab Autoclave Selection Guidelines
by dewi susanti
Lab autoclave is an electronic device which is mostly used in sterilizing lab equipment. This device was invented in 1879 by a scientist by the name Charles Chamberland and it has undergone major improvements since then. Autoclaves have a wide application in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, tattooing, body piercing and many more fields of application. The load to be sterilized is subjected to high pressure steam for some time, usually 15 to 20 minutes. That is why it was initially referred to as the steam digester.
Lab autoclave selection should be preceded with a thorough research on the best of the best autoclaves available in the market. Every lab technician should follow some guidelines in order to purchase the correct sterilizing devices. These guidelines recommend that buyers invest heavily on the expensive autoclaves because they are much effective and also durable. Lab buyers are urged to consider a few things before they conclude their research on the best sterilizer to choose.
Things to consider while choosing an autoclave
Lab autoclave selection research should be based on the following factors:
1. The size and function of the autoclave.
2. The facility support available.
3. The cycle needs for complete sterilization.
4. The kind of loading units; either top-loading or front-loading.
5. Other advanced features available.
In terms of the size of the autoclave, you need to know the amount of load that you need to process. For small labs that will, most likely, process small loads, a little bench-top model of autoclave is ideal. The small models are available with a capacity of 40 liters. If your lab processes bigger loads, then you will require the large models which are available in the capacity of up to 360 liters.
Some large models can stand freely on their own supported by a small base so as to occupy as small amount of space as possible. Medium sized models are also available and can fit in any lab because most labs only sterilize glassware, instruments and other small equipment. It is upon you to decide on the size you want for a lab sterilizer.
The next consideration is on how well the autoclave fits in your facility. Maybe in your lab there is only a bench where you can place the device, or maybe you have a loading dock from where you will be loading the equipment using freight elevators. Can your facility supply purified water to the autoclave? These are some of the things that will determine the type of sterilizers to use within your lab.
Your cycle needs depends on the type of load that you are processing. For instance, processing glassware instruments or porous material does not require an efficient cooling system as compared to processing other loads that could possibly get destroyed completely due to heating. You may also require an exhaust filtration system for quality assurance.
In order to choose between a top-loading and front-loading lab autoclave, you need to consider two things. First, if you want to conserve space, then go for top loaders. Secondly, if your goal is to process heavy loads with more convenience, then choose front loaders. Front loading autoclaves reduce the loading time and hence increase the operating speed.
Lab autoclave manufacturers follow a particular standard so as to give each device the basic features such as performance, core safety, flexible programmability, and power features. Some are also equipped with thermally insulated panels and cooling fans.
There are some other features which are not common in all lab sterilizers. These features may include a permission-based door release – prevents users from opening the doors when the unit is mid-cycle.