Why you should consider an integral steam generator over heaters in the chamber for larger capacity sterilizers.
What is an autoclave steam generator?
An autoclave fitted with an integral steam generator has a separate pressure vessel housed within the sterilizer casing specifically for producing steam. The steam generator provides steam on demand enabling quicker heat up times, and with the addition of certain other options allows the sterilizer to become capable of processing many different types of load - such as porous items (e.g. medical gowns or wrapped instrument packs) and heavy dense discard loads. It also provides a chamber free of heaters, making housekeeping much easier. In most square section chamber applications the chamber can be made smaller which can reduce both costs and energy consumption. An explanation of different autoclave steam sources can be found here.
Why choose an integral steam generator over in-chamber heaters if house steam is not available?
‘Heaters in chamber’ are more commonly used in small to medium sized sterilizers as they are seen as, and can be, a more cost-effective purchase. Sterilizers with heaters inside the chamber have been used for many years and are perfect for sterilizing bottled fluids and generally low category laboratory waste where time taken per cycle is not a major consideration. There are however several downsides to sterilizers with in-chamber heaters. The chamber needs topping up or filling with fresh water for every cycle, the heaters and water level devices inside the chamber make housekeeping very difficult; debris can fall onto the heaters and become baked on, and if left, the water in the bottom of the chamber slowly becomes a soup of agar and spills.
An integral steam generator option may initially be more expensive to purchase BUT it brings many benefits. These include:
- Faster heat up – the autoclave is ready to use in a shorter period of time
- Reduced cycle times – instant steam and better penetration will improve processing speeds
- Steam on demand for more complex sterilization cycles – a steam generator can potentially improve performance for complex loads
- No heaters or water level sensors to maintain – less cleaning is always a bonus!
Astell Scientific has years of experience in designing and supplying autoclaves to manufacturing industry, healthcare and research facilities, further supported by accreditation to key industry standards and directives. We are perfectly positioned to offer the best advice to ensure you select the correct machine for the items you wish to be sterilized. Please contact us for more information or a no obligation quotation.
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