Autoclave service and maintenance - advice from the experts

Autoclave service and maintenance - advice from the experts

Want to know how best to maintain your autoclave? Read these tips from an Astell autoclave Service Engineer.

Astell Scientific offer servicing contract options for all the sterilization equipment we manufacture. These include semi-comprehensive and fully comprehensive service agreements that include extended warranty features, specified parts and different levels of maintenance cover, backed up by our team of mobile Service Engineers.

Our dedicated team of autoclave Service Engineers work nationwide to support our UK customer base. The collective knowledge gained here also helps us to support our ever-growing international customer portfolio handled through Astell's central Service Department, which can offer on-site or off-site guidance to both UK and overseas customers.

Astell Senior Engineer Neil Davies answers some common questions to offer insight in to autoclave maintenance and what to expect from a service call-out.

Name: Neil Davies
Service area: Mainly southern England
Time in job: 18 years

How often should an autoclave be serviced to minimise the potential of downtime / component failure?
It is dependent on the type of autoclave and could be anything from yearly to four times a year. Typically it's the larger square section autoclaves and machines fitted with a vacuum require servicing up to four times a year. Smaller capacity autoclaves, including most circular section machines require servicing once or twice a year depending on regularity of use.

What are the most common causes of autoclave failure or the need for repair?
Often we find errors/failures can be user related. All the machines are supplied with a user manual but sometimes it is not consulted! Astell offer training to operators, and this is a service I recommend to ensure you get the most from your autoclave.
Customers also need to ensure the water they use is of the required quality; hard water can cause scale problems which will reduce the life of the heaters – so a water softener is recommended in such cases.

What preventative measures do you recommend to prolong the performance of an autoclave?
Keep your machine regularly serviced and pay attention to the in-house maintenance advice we supply with each new machine. This lists tasks operators should perform on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to maintain their autoclave at its optimum. Also, periodical blow-down of the steam generator (if fitted) is strongly recommended.

How quickly after calling Astell for help can I expect a visit from a Service Engineer?
Usually an Engineer can attend within 48 hours of the call in to our Technical Helpline. However we will also try to troubleshoot and offer advice to minimise any potential disruption.

What information do I need to provide to ensure a service call is logged efficiently?
Identify if your call relates to a breakdown or service request, have the autoclave model and serial number noted down, and any fault details you can provide.
[The serial number is on the rating plate on the back of the machine. You are encouraged to provide photos or video showing any faults through email or via the Technical Assistance page on our website.]

What should a customer do in preparation for a site visit by a Service Engineer?
It is important to communicate the Engineer appointment to all the users of the machine beforehand so the autoclave hasn’t been used on the day of service. Any apparatus or items situated around the machine should also be removed to provide a safe working environment for the Engineer. It’s also nice if the machine has been cleaned before a visit.

Do you supply autoclave spare parts separately?
Yes we supply a full selection of original equipment spare parts for our autoclaves. Please contact the Service Department (Technical Helpline) for details and to obtain pricing.

What one tool in your service kit bag could you not do without?
Knowledge! Both of the range of autoclaves we manufacture and how they work. One of the advantages of Astell is the history and experience within the company, meaning there is always an answer available somewhere!

Finally it’s worth knowing that in a recent customer survey the ‘Helpfulness of Astell Engineers’ scored a total of 98.5% - so you are sure to be in safe hands should you need our help.

To find out more about service and maintenance of your autoclave visit the Service Contracts page or Contact us.