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Hospital autoclave

Large sterilization cabinet are mainly found in aseptic processing departments, ambulatory surgery centers, laboratories and other medical clinics that require a large autoclaved room for large volume autoclave.

Sterilization cabinets, also called steam sterilization cabinets, ensure daily disinfection of medical instruments and materials used in surgical procedures and patient services to prevent the spread of infections in the hospital.

Installation

How to install large autoclave? There are two ways to install autoclave.

The most common method is to install the floor autoclave. Usually, the bottom of the chamber is about 90 cm above the ground.

Another type of installation is pit installation. The autoclave installed in the pit is installed on the pit floor so that the floor of the chamber is aligned with the floor of the facility. This facilitates large or heavy loads that need to be sterilized can be easily loaded and removed by pushing the loading carts into the autoclave chamber. This type of installation can be used on large autoclave up to 18,000 liters.

Double door autoclave

Many aseptic treatment departments have three different areas: dirty, clean, and sterile. Used surgical instruments were stained with body fluids comes directly from the operating room which must be cleaned. This happens in the “dirty” part of the department. After the surgical instrument is completely cleaned of all visible dirt, body fluids, etc. it is sterilized in a washing machine located between the “dirty” and “clean” areas. Finally, once disinfection is complete, the surgical instrument is ready to be sterilized in a autoclave, which occurs between the “clean” and “sterile” areas, isolated by a single or double wall. The sterilization load enters from one sector to the door of the clean area and exits from the other sector to the door of the sterile area. Also called autoclave, the system has two separate doors on one side of each autoclave, allowing the autoclave to remain sterilized and will not be contaminated again in the “clean” part of the sector. By appearing in the “sterile” area, sterilized sterilization loads are ready to be taken back to the operating room or stored for future surgery.

Keep the autoclave inner chamber heat with jacket

What is the jacket? The space between the jacket wall and the chamber is filled with circulating steam to maintain the chamber wall heat and the chamber is filled with circulating steam to maintain the chamber wall heat level.

In large autoclave, we use jacket to preheat the stainless steel walls of the chamber to reduce the heating time and the amount of steam that must be injected into the chamber. In addition, the jacket improves the drying phase by heat the chamber wall to help water evaporation. This limits condensation during the vacuum/heating phase; The more condensation, the wetter the load, and will be more difficult to dry the load in the inner chamber.

In addition, the jacket isolates the chamber from colder environment temperatures and prevents cold spots on the chamber walls to keep the heat evenly distributed.

How does the autoclave work?

First of all, we need to preheat the autoclave. After preheating the autoclave through the jacket, we can start sterilization process.

1) We put the loads into the chamber which need to be sterilized, and then set the autoclave to the appropriate cycle, close the door and start the cycle.

2) The first stage is to remove air from the autoclave chamber via a vacuum pump through a series of negative pulses. If we use three 20 kPa pulses to pump out air, they will work like this:

① The first pulse will extract about 80% of the air and the remaining 20%.

② Then, in the second pulse, 80% of the remaining 20% will be extracted (retaining 4% of the initial air).

③ Finally, the last pulse will remove 80% of the last 4% of air, leaving 0.8% of the original air in the chamber.

Most important of all, each pulse clears 80% of the air, so each pulse makes the amount of air in the chamber smaller, so that we finally achieve a total air clearance of more than 99%. The whole process is called fractional vacuum. In addition, it eliminates air bubbles and distributes steam evenly throughout the item and chamber.

3) Now we begin the heating phase with a positive pulse to distribute heat and ensure that each type of material (especially in a mixture of plastic, stainless steel, aluminum and glass, which have very different heat emissions) will reach the sterilization state temperature. A positive pulse (as opposed to a negative pulse that removes air) pressurizes the chamber through steam. The number of pulses depends on the type and size of the load.

4) The actual sterilization process starts from now on, also called the holding time. During this stage, the pressure and temperature remain constant.

5) At the end of holding time, sterilization process is completed. And then, vent door pressure is released back to atmospheric pressure.

6) Reaching the dry stage. Vacuum pumps absorb moisture from loads by reducing the pressure below atmospheric pressure. In this way, we create a vacuum in the chamber and reduce the boiling temperature to 100 ° C below the actual boiling temperature (sea level). The lower boiling temperature causes the water to evaporate into a gas, which is then pumped out by a vacuum pump, and then the load is observed to be dry.

7) We now reach the final stage, in this stage we equate the pressure inside the chamber with the external atmospheric pressure. The filtered air enters the chamber through the HEPA filter (0.2μm), breaking the vacuum and restoring the chamber pressure to the ambient pressure.

8)The sterilization cycle has been completed and the sterilized loads can be safely removed from the inner chamber.

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