Autoclaves are an important piece of medical equipment used in a wide range of hospital and clinical environments. They utilise a combination of high pressure and high temperature steam to sterilize medical equipment for further use. Autoclaves are used in hospitals, operation theaters, dental clinics and other medical clinics.
The main factors to look out for when considering which autoclave to invest in are class and size, but there are all sorts of features and specifications that are great to keep in mind when buying a new autoclave which we are going to get into.
What class autoclave do I need?
This is an intermediate autoclave, a step up from class N. Most complex instruments including packed, unpacked, hollow and solid instruments can be sterilized within this autoclave. Although, this can not be used on capillary construction instruments. This autoclave includes a single-stage pre-vacuum pump which essentially removes air from the chamber of the autoclave however it is not as effective as the Class B vacuum pump.
This is most advanced class there is in the industry which is completely medical grade. They sterilize everything, even the most complicated instruments/batches including packed/unpacked instruments, narrow items, hollow items, porous items, needles, catheters and other small complex items that you would not be able to sterilize in Class N or S. You would see Class B autoclaves used in hospitals, operation theaters, dental clinics and other medical clinics where medical instruments are reused, they also have an excellent fractionated pre-vacuum pump which removes all air entirely from the chamber within.
How do you know what the best load capacity is?
The size of an autoclave is defined by its litres, which is a volume measurement taken from the inside of the chamber within the autoclave. The size given is always going to be slight smaller than the actual size of the chamber as the racks that are used inside the chamber are also taken into consideration.
To ensure you are investing into the right autoclave size for your clinic you need to take into consideration; your workplace space, how large your batches would potentially be and what is the size of your longest/thickest instrument.
Once you have answered those questions you should well and truly be on the right track.
What is the difference between a manual and automated autoclave?
Just like anything else that is automated, automatic autoclaves are by far more user friendly, quicker and more efficient than manual autoclaves.
Automatic autoclaves have user friendly pre-made programs and sanitize functions all at the click of a button allowing the autoclave to do the rest itself including recording its own logs per-cycle making automatics extremely time savvy - not to mention they even have the ability to automatically detect technically issue within themselves. They usually included a USB port which enables storage of sterilization reports.
Manual autoclaves are obviously more laborious, which goes without saying. You have to manual log each cycle that takes place, manually configure settings you wish to use before each cycle proving to be a detailed process which makes using a manual autoclave extremely time consuming. Manual autoclaves also do not include any monitoring controls. However on the plus side, the repair costs for manual autoclaves are cheaper.
What maintenance needs to be done on a autoclave?
Without a correctly functioning autoclave you don't have sterilized equipment, no matter how many times you put on a cycle. If your autoclave is not meeting the required standards you will not have medical grade sterilization results. Which is why regular logs must be kept to ensure the autoclave is running its best at all times and is also frequently serviced, instead of only servicing when there is a problem.
Does my autoclave need calibration/validation?
In order to use an autoclave within the medical industry, calibration/validation in a requirement. The frequency and requirements will depend on each industries' governing body so be sure to do your research here! Calibration and Validation are essential processes which ensure the accuracy of sterilization standards - Being completely sure that your instruments are undergoing the required level of sanitisation is essential if you would like to keep your business up and running!
Runyes autoclaves are supplied with validation and calibration included in the price
Promedco autoclaves are supplied with the option/add on to get calibration and validation processes completed
Costs when looking into autoclaves
When it comes to the medical field, it is no secret that things aren't always economic. Unfortunately due to the high quality components that are required to be used in autoclaves, they can be a large be necessary investment. It's extremely important to ensure that you purchase a high quality product - especially when we are talking about sterilization in the medically industry. The performance of these devices have a direct and serious impact on your patient's wellbeing. It is important not to compromise quality just to save some money in the short term as exceptional sterilisation performance of your autoclave is not only essential for patient's health and safety but it is also what keeps your business thriving.
Automatic, large capacity and reliable autoclave brands are obviously going to be the most costly out of any bunch for obvious reasons. As the saying goes, you do get what you pay for!
In conclusion to everything discussed above, if you are after an autoclave that is not only practical and time savvy but also diverse in what it can achieve, then you are looking at a Class B automatic autoclave. Not only are you able to sterilize ever type of sophisticated instrument but you are allowing yourself and your staff to be more productive by having an automated sterilization system that saves you time and effort. Yes, the costs may be higher but but being able to guarantee your patients health and safety, meeting regulations and having a reliable brand that has excellent customer service and provides warranty at your service is definitely a no brainer. Depending on your governing body, the capabilities of Class S Autoclaves.
Blass B: Suitable for Dentists and Hospital environments
Be sure to confirm with your local governing body though! If you have any questions or queries about autoclaves then please send us a message on our live chat below, we would love nothing more than to help you!