What is a Type B autoclave? Vacuum cycles explained


Among the various types of steam sterilizers, Type B autoclaves stand out for their versatility and effectiveness.

Autoclaves are vital in the sterilization of medical instruments and materials, ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare professionals. In this comprehensive article by the Celitron team, we will delve into the world of Type B autoclaves, exploring their vacuum cycles and understanding why they are considered more advanced and useful, particularly in hospital and clinical settings.

Type B autoclaves and vacuum cycles defined

A Type B autoclave is a sophisticated sterilization device that employs vacuum cycles for enhanced performance. These machines are designed to meet the most stringent sterilization standards, making them indispensable in medical, research, and laboratory settings. They are considered to be the most advanced type of model available on the market, which explains their greater presence in hospital and clinical settings compared to Type S and Type N autoclaves.

The vacuum cycles are an integral part of the sterilization process, ensuring the effective removal of air and facilitating the penetration of steam into all surfaces. This is why they are also referred to as vacuum or “pre-vac” autoclaves.

The importance of Type B autoclaves in medical settings

Type B autoclaves play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of patients and healthcare professionals. They are specifically designed to sterilize complex and hollow instruments, which are difficult to clean thoroughly by conventional means. These autoclaves are equipped to handle a wide range of materials, including wrapped, porous, as well as solid and textile medical items, effectively preventing the transmission of infectious agents.

In a nutshell, their versatility is one of their greatest benefits. As medical staff may need to treat a wide variety of tools and equipment for the treatment of patients, they need to have an on-site solution that can meet this requirement. Not to mention that autoclaves also serve a dual purpose in the sterilization of red bag waste.
Still, whether you choose to go with a Type B autoclave or not, Celitron always recommends reading the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you only treat autoclave-compatible materials. For example, pharma waste such as expired medicines and vaccines are NOT compatible with steam sterilizers!

Understanding vacuum cycles and their role in Type B autoclaves

The main reason why Type B autoclaves are so effective at sterilizing medical materials can be explained by how they work: vacuum cycles. Regardless of type, each autoclave sterilizes the items in its chamber in cycles. One full cycle of the autoclave sterilization process includes the introduction of steam inside the autoclave, keeping it at high pressure and temperature (usually ranging between 121 and 134 degrees Celsius),and then giving the items enough time inside the chamber to dry and cool off while pressure and temperature levels return to normal.

The term “vacuum cycle” refers to the powerful vacuum pump of Type B autoclaves that allows them to completely remove the air from the machine’s chamber, as air is one of the greatest obstacles for steam to appropriately treat the materials inside. This not only makes them more effective at sterilizing items, but faster as well, since these autoclaves spend less time evacuating air from the chamber.

In summary, these are the 3 main phases of a Type B autoclave’s vacuum cycle:

  1. Pre-Vacuum Phase. In this initial stage, the air is rapidly removed from the autoclave’s chamber. The pre-vacuum phase creates a vacuum environment to ensure thorough steam penetration later on.
  2. Pulsing Phase. During this phase, steam is introduced intermittently, allowing any residual air to escape and making the sterilization process more effective.
  3. Post-Vacuum Phase. Once the sterilization process is complete, the autoclave re-enters the vacuum phase to remove any remaining steam and ensure a dry and ready-to-use load.

The benefits of vacuum cycles in Type B Autoclaves - Summary

  • Versatility. Type B autoclaves can handle a wide range of materials, including porous items, which would be challenging with non-vacuum autoclaves.
  • Enhanced Sterilization. Vacuum cycles facilitate the removal of air, ensuring efficient sterilization of even the most intricate instruments.
  • Speed. The vacuum cycles help in drying the load efficiently, reducing the overall cycle time. This helps optimize the workflow in even the busiest of medical facilities.

Comparing Type B Autoclaves’ vacuum cycles with other options

Vacuum and gravity autoclaves are two of the most commonly used sterilization methods in hospital settings, but they differ significantly in their capabilities and effectiveness.

  • As Type B autoclaves ensure the removal of air and the penetration of steam into even hard-to-reach areas, they leave no space for even heat-resistant pathogens to survive. This helps in safeguarding patients and healthcare professionals. It also helps in preventing cross-contamination, since medical staff need to deal with numerous patients, each with their unique medical conditions. This makes them ideal for hospitals, dental clinics, and even research laboratories.
  • Compared to the vacuum cycles of Type B autoclaves, gravity autoclaves have usually lower upfront costs, but they are only suitable for basic sterilization needs, such as for solid flat and unwrapped instruments. Since they rely on gravity displacement to remove air, they are also slower. 

Reasons why other medical facilities have chosen Celitron’s B type autoclaves with vacuum cycles

  • Safety first. The doors of our Type B autoclaves are automatically locked and cannot be opened while pressure and temperature levels are still too high inside.
  • Cost-effective green operation. Thanks to advanced water and energy-saving systems, Celitron helps you save on your operations costs while also reducing your environmental footprint.
  • High-tech and user-friendly technology. Fully automated operation, LCD touch-screen display, self and remote diagnosis capabilities, PC connection for documentation.
  • Varying capacities. Regardless of autoclave size, we offer consistent Type B quality for large hospitals and small clinics alike. Make sure to check out the large Azteca AC and medium Azteca AC series, as well as the small Sting 11B vacuum autoclave!
  • Fast vacuum cycles. Once the sterilization process is launched within Celitron’s Type B autoclaves, it only takes about 20 minutes depending on the size of the load inside.

There are many benefits to using Type B autoclaves with vacuum cycles in medical settings: they are faster, more efficient, and more versatile. They are also easy to use thanks to their automatic operation and can help you save costs, in the long run, thanks to their sustainable operation.

Feel free to CONTACT CELITRON for a free quote for the Type B autoclave of your choice!

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