Autoclave definition and meaning – the different uses of steam sterilizers


Autoclaves are among the most effective sterilization methods nowadays, and are used in a wide variety of industries, notably the medical field. Celitron’s models, for example, are already present in more than 40 different countries over the world. Despite such popularity, there are still many facilities out there who are not completely up-to-date about the exact definition and meaning of autoclaves.

Consider the following article “steam sterilization 101”: we will cover all the basics you need to know about the different uses of these machines, as well as what types of autoclaves you should be looking for. Let’s get right into it!

The definition and meaning behind autoclaves

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the exact definition of “autoclave” is the following: „an apparatus in which special conditions (such as high or low pressure or temperature) can be established for a variety of applications; especially: an apparatus (as for sterilizing) using steam under high pressure”.

In other words, the essential meaning behind autoclaves is a sterilization process that removes any and all bacteria from the treated materials with the use of high-temperature, high-pressure steam. As for the name itself, autoclave actually comes from two different words of two separate origins. “Auto” means “self” in Greek, and “clavis” means “key” or “lock” in latin, meaning that autoclaves are self-locking devices, which is certainly true for Celitron’s models.

The reason behind its effectiveness (and subsequent popularity in the medical industry),lies in the basic concept behind it. While cleaning and disinfection are effective ways to remove some or most of foreign materials, some types of bacteria and spores - like heat-resistant organisms - can only be destroyed through steam sterilization, as they can resist temperatures up to a 100 degrees Celsius.

This is where autoclaves do their best work: by increasing the pressure inside their closed chamber, they can simultaneously increase the boiling point of water (and steam) as well, allowing the steam to go well over the usual 100 degree boiling point. With temperatures ranging from 121 to 134 degrees Celsius, you can be 100% sure that the tools and materials inside will be completely sterilized, and thus safe for reuse or to ensure risk-free medical waste disposal.

Why would I even consider using an autoclave steam sterilizer?

1. It’s effective 

Just like we’ve described it earlier, autoclaves can use extreme heat and pressure to remove all infectious material, and make it a very viable medical waste disposal method even compared to incinerators. This also means more safety for staff and patients alike.

2. It’s good for the environment

With absolutely zero harmful substances emitted from within the autoclave, this makes them a much more sustainable waste disposal method compared to incinerators. Celitron’s steam sterilizers are also equipped with advanced water and energy saving systems, which makes their operation is also more cost-effective.

3. It is a very practical on-site solution

Autoclaves are easy to install and incorporate into the great majority of medical waste management systems, and are also highly customizable to adapt any medical facility’s specific needs. They are also very fast at sterilization: depending on the treated load, one cycle in Celitron’s autoclaves can be completed in about 20 minutes!

4. You need a medical waste management solution anyway

Whether you use autoclaves or not, waste management and safe disposal is a requirement in the medical industry you simply have to adhere to. So why not make your work easier and choose one of the best solutions available on the market?

Different types of autoclaves at Celitron – how and what to choose

The size and capacity of the machine in question are the main factors you should take into account when choosing the right type of autoclave. It is only logical, since large hospitals and smaller clinics both have different amounts of space they can dedicate to the installation of the autoclave, and work with different amount of tools and equipment that need to be sterilized.

What you don’t need to worry about regarding Celiton’s models when making your choice is the quality of the steam sterilization: regardless of size, all of your steam sterilizers provide the same efficiency, so you don’t need to worry about a smaller autoclave not being able to keep up with the quality of the bigger models.

Without further ado, these are the steam sterilizers you can choose from:

1.Medium autoclaves – Azteca AC series 

With capacities ranging from 75 to 200 liters, this is the ideal choice for veterinary and dental clinics, pharmacies, and other medical facilities of moderate size. They are extremely user-friendly, and incorporate many high-tech features to make the process as reliable and transparent as possible. You can also customize up to 20 different sterilization cycles to suit your specific needs!

2.Large autoclaves – Azteca A series

With capacities ranging from 110 up to an incredible 880 liters, there is simply no better choice for large hospitals that need to efficiently treat large amounts of potentially infectious tools and materials within one sterilization cycle. They are just as easy to use as their smaller counterparts, and conform to numerous safety features all the same, including the PED (Pressure Equipment Directive),thanks to their double, full-jacketed chamber made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel.

3.Electric steam generators – E-200 series

While this isn’t exactly an autoclave, this is the machine that provides the source that they need to work efficiently: dry, saturated, stable, and clean steam. They can produce up to 280 kilograms’ worth of steam every hour, and all without emitting any harmful substances whatsoever. The completely automated process is ensured by a microcontroller-based system, and the self-diagnostic system makes maintaining the steam generator boiler much easier.

There you have it: all the basics you need to know about the definition and meaning of autoclaves! You can find all of our steam sterilizers on Celitron’s webpage, so don’t forget to check out all of them before making your choice. You can even download the specifications for even more detailed technical descriptions: find the autoclave that would fit your medical facility the best!