Having appropriate equipment in your research facility to sterilise laboratory apparatus by destroying harmful microorganisms is essential to maintaining infection control and a sterile work environment.
Autoclaves that use steam sterilisation are commonly used in laboratories. Autoclaves use the intense heat from the steam flush to apply pressure inside the equipment to kill microbes on apparatus, using hydrolysis to coagulate and denature the cellular proteins .
Although autoclaves are built with the same basic features by adhering to manufacturing directives and standards such as performance and core safety, they can differ in shape, size, and functionality. It’s therefore important that you also undertake your own research when choosing an autoclave, to safeguard your research samples from contamination. This can ensure you’re investing in an autoclave that suits the demands of your laboratory so research continues to perform safely, easily, accurately, and more economically.
Key Considerations When Choosing An Autoclave
When selecting the most suitable autoclaves for your laboratory, it can help to consider several essential factors to guide your decision-making.
1. Types of loads that may be placed in the autoclave can help you select equipment that is capable of properly sterilising the materials in your laboratory. If your laboratory processes large amounts of petri dishes or test tubes then you may need to consider an autoclave that can sterilise heat sensitive materials or glassware or vacuum system to remove trapped air.
2. External dimensions are an important factor to consider. Every autoclave requires devoted floor-space in your laboratory and the size of the autoclave affects workflow, available space for surrounding equipment, and where the autoclave can be placed within your research facility. You may need to measure the available floor space in your laboratory and compare this to the number of autoclaves your facility may need and the physical footprint of each one. Don’t forget to factor clearance space around the machine for access during servicing and maintenance.
3. Chamber volume helps you decide whether the autoclave has sufficient space to meet the demands of your laboratory and is usually determined by the type of material to be placed inside the steriliser. Questions you may consider include:
* Can the material be stacked?
* Will you need multiple levels of shelves?
* What are your handling requirements?
* Do you need different sizes of autoclaves?
4. Horizontal autoclaves can be designed to sit on the benchtops to save space on the floor of your facility. This can be helpful if you have pre-existing equipment that is taking up space on your floor that can’t be moved and can also help staff easily access and load apparatus to be sterilised. Some sterilisers are built in various dimensions to suit varying available bench space.
5. Vertical autoclaves are compact floor-standing autoclaves that can save space in your laboratory floor. Although they may appear to have reduced storage space, some are designed to compensate with an increased chamber height for optimal loading capacity.
6. Fixed water connections that may be required by some autoclaves can restrict its location and the plumbing required. However, some autoclaves are designed with an in-built water reservoir that allows the autoclave to be mobile and temporarily allocated to different work areas of your laboratory – depending on the need.
7. Door configuration includes which direction the door swings when opened or how large the swing clearance to ensure there are no interruptions to work flow and your existing layout. Consider the space needed for a door swing to keep laboratory operations to run smoothly.
The Bioline Global Range Of Autoclaves
Bioline Global offers a range of laboratory autoclaves manufactured by Systec that are specifically developed for laboratory steam sterilisation applications. Based on 25 years of experience, some of the key features of the Systec autoclaves are:
* Vertical floor-standing autoclaves designed with an increased height up to 150 litres chamber capacity, which gives 50% more loading capacity for standard media bottles and Erlenmeyer flasks.
* Horizontal designed as either floor or bench-top with increasing chamber size in 7 models. Each model has loading capacity for most standard media bottles and Erlenmeyer flasks. Support tables, transport and loading trolleys are available for easy handling or transport of sterilised product throughout your laboratory.
* Equipped with a feed reservoir allowing the autoclaves to be mobile and flexible with no fixed water connection.
* Easy to clean built with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel, which can be used under clean-room conditions.
* Automatic door locking and door opening for safe handling preventing any cycle disruptions. Automatic door locking on closing can also help keep the seal tight and items away from possibly contamination outside.
* Different cooling options are available for different types of loads to be sterilised, such as pipette tips, filters, destruction bags or liquids.
* Media preparation and sterilisation automated functions for pouring and stacking of sterile culture media in petri dishes. Loading shelves are available so the entire autoclave internal space can be filled with petri dishes. These shelves can be removed.
To find out more about Systec autoclaves or to speak to one of our friendly and experienced technicians, please contact us via our online contact form.
 Rutala WA & Weber DJ for the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilisation in Healthcare Facilities Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2008, available at https://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/Disinfection_Sterilization/13_0Sterilization.html.