AUTOCLAVE – DEFINITION AND APPLICATION AREAS
Autoclave (Greek/Latin: self-sealing): A gas-tight, sealable pressure vessel, used for the thermal treatment of substances in the overpressure range. Autoclaves are used for sterilizing, curing building materials, for vulcanising tires and belts and for pressing fiber composites. As a result, they are used in medical and food technology, biology, the glass and aviation industries, as well as in brickworks and vulcanising plants.
Autoclaves are based on the functional principle of “Papin’s pot”, developed by the French physicist Denis Papin in 1674/79 and patented in 1681. Autoclaves are available for small volume applications but there are also large-scale units for large production quantities. The substances are thermally treated in batches (batch operation) because of the typical closure with respect to the surrounding atmosphere. The pressure vessels are also normally equipped with quick-release closures that enable the pressure vessel to be opened and closed much more quickly than with flanged pressure vessel openings. Source: Wikipedia
The right autoclave for you?
Maintaining infection control and a sterile work environment is a top priority for a modern laboratory or research facility. This makes autoclaves indispensable. They ensure that unwanted and harmful microorganisms are destroyed. Usually, autoclaves with a steam sterilization function are used in laboratories. These employ the intense heat of the steam to build up pressure within the device and so kill bacterial spores by denaturing and flocculating their cell proteins through hydrolysis.
Autoclaves: options and accessories
As numerous as the fields of application for autoclaves are, so varied are the available autoclaves and their options. Although autoclaves are built with the same basic features, they do vary in shape, size and functionality, while adhering to the same manufacturing rules and standards of performance and core safety. Major laboratories and production facilities certainly place different demands on autoclaves than highly specialised research facilities or small labs with all-round applications do. Consequently, the decision to purchase must be preceded by a detailed needs analysis that takes current and future demands on the autoclave into account. Besides spatial and ergonomic aspects, such as simple, careful operation and economic efficiency, as well as safe, precise and above all reproducible and validatable sterilization, some other important factors need to be considered.
Autoclave selection criteria
Amongst other things, important criteria for choosing a suitable autoclave include: What needs to be sterilized? Which external dimensions should the autoclave have? How large a volume should the vessel have? Here, a distinction has to be made between horizontal and vertical autoclaves or pass-through autoclaves. Which other features and options should the autoclave have? All the criteria mentioned (and others) have a great influence on the operation of the autoclaves and on the workflow in the laboratory.
Systec Autoclaves and Technology
Serial Systec autoclaves are equipped for a sterilization temperature up to 140°C and a steam pressure up to 4 bar. These devices are the first laboratory autoclaves of their type suitable for higher temperatures at higher pressures. The standard pressure vessel is designed for up to 5 bar /150°C. With the optional temperature and pressure range Extension, the control, monitoring and safety components are also adapted to the higher pressure and temperature range. This option can also be retrofitted later. The sterilization chamber is made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel 1.4571 (V4A) AISI 316, electropolished and easy to clean. The device features a type-tested safety valve for pressure relief when limit values are exceeded. The stable supporting frame construction and the housing panels are also made of stainless steel. Thanks to the highly effective and high-quality insulation made of Hanno-Tect, there is no risk of particle separation, which is why Systec autoclaves are particularly suitable for the use under clean room conditions.
Find our article about “Sterilization of liquids, solids, waste in disposal bags and hazardous biological substances” with Systec autoclaves here.
Save COVID-19 Research with Systec Autoclaves
Systec laboratory autoclaves are ideal for sterilization of contaminated waste, instruments, culture media or laboratory equipment to prevent the accidental spread of the coronavirus. Systec is offering the ideal autoclaves for safe and validatable sterilization with accurate documentation.