University of Greenwich

“The new unit is a godsend. Running both chambers out of phase with each other, I can get the waste sterilised in half the time, and I have the security that if there was ever a problem with one, I can still sterilise the waste.”

‘It’s absolutely fantastic’: Greenwich University choose Astell for biological decontamination


After struggling with an old autoclave, Greenwich University decided to upgrade to an Astell 120 litre Duaclave. Two 120L autoclaves were stacked one directly above the other in a single frame, and operate completely independently, to provide process security and overcome space restrictions.

Sam Lewis is the Senior Teaching Technician in the School of Science at Greenwich University. She helps prepare the teaching and research laboratories for undergraduate and postgraduate students. With 18 years’ experience at Greenwich, she loves her job, at least most of it: disposing of biologically contaminated waste isn’t exactly the highlight of her day.

“The new unit is a godsend. Running both chambers out of phase with each other, I can get the waste sterilised in half the time, and I have the security that if there was ever a problem with one, I can still sterilise the waste.”


Autoclave Upgrade


Any biologically contaminated waste must be autoclaved to ensure sterility before passing to a specialist waste disposal contractor. When the university’s existing 13 years old waste sterilisation autoclave became unreliable and began to create a backlog, as well as racking up maintenance costs.

The university already use an Astell AMB440 63 litre benchtop autoclave for sterilising instruments, glassware and media. And so, during a routine service of this unit, Sam shared her frustrations with Astells’ service engineer, Neil Davies. She was keen to replace the single waste autoclave with two units to provide security in the event of a breakdown, but space was restricted. Having serviced the Astell unit for many years, Neil was familiar with the laboratory layout, operating procedures, and could provide exactly the autoclave for the job.


Astell’s Solution


An Astell 120 litre Duaclave unit which consists of two 120 litre chambers was proposed, one directly above the other in a single frame. The two chambers operate completely independently. Stacking the two autoclaves means that the system occupies the footprint of only one autoclave, and that meant space restriction was no longer a problem.


Continuous Support


Astell arranged the installation, and the University Estates Department made the necessary modifications to the electrics and drainage systems. Neil was on hand throughout the project to provide advice and ensure that the installation was smooth and trouble-free.

As part of the installation, Sam was also keen for Astell to include a service contract. This included a six-monthly deep service and, as part of the University’s internal accreditation, an annual 12-point validation.

“Astell have been brilliant right through from initial advice to installation, and it will be great having Neil back to service the Duaclave as part of that continuity.”


The Astell ASB Duoclave range features:


• Dual chamber autoclaves are manufactured with heaters in the base of the chamber
• Two independent chambers are mounted one above the other in a specially designed frame.
• Water is added directly into each chamber of the autoclave by the user
• Each colour touchscreen advises when the water is at the correct level and manages the cycle from start to finish
• At the end of each cycle the user is prompted by the touchscreen display to top up the water level to the correct point before starting another sterilization cycle