Buying a new autoclave: TOP 10 aspects to consider in your medical facility
Buying a new autoclave is one of the most important decisions medical facilities can make to ensure the safety of their working environment and the effectiveness of their tools and equipment.
When it comes to sterilization, autoclaves play a vital role. If you're in the market for a new steam sterilizer, you've come to the right place! In Celitron’s comprehensive article, we'll walk you through the top 10 aspects to consider before making this critical purchase. As an experienced autoclave manufacturer in Europe, we'll provide you with our insights and share the most notable features you should look out for to guide your decision-making process.
1. Buying a new autoclave - Understanding your sterilization needs
One of the foremost considerations when buying a new autoclave is understanding your facility's sterilization needs. The volume of instruments that need sterilization on a daily basis can vary significantly between healthcare facilities. Are you a small dental clinic or a large hospital? Determining your specific requirements is essential in selecting the right autoclave.
- For instance, smaller facilities may find tabletop autoclaves suitable for their needs, while larger hospitals might require larger floor-standing models with higher capacity.
- The chamber size of an autoclave is a critical factor in determining its capacity. It's essential to ensure that the autoclave you choose can accommodate your daily sterilization needs comfortably. Oversized or undersized chambers can lead to inefficiencies and delays in your facility's workflow.
- When assessing chamber size, consider the types and sizes of instruments you typically sterilize. A dental clinic, for example, may require a smaller chamber compared to a hospital that deals with a wide range of medical instruments.
At Celitron, we provide several models with different chamber capacities to ensure that facilities of all sizes can find the autoclave that helps them operate profitably.
You can check out their technical specifications by clicking the links below:
- Sting 11B Premium small steam autoclave (capacity: 25 liters)
- Azteca AC medium autoclave (capacity: 75 - 200 liters)
- Azteca A large autoclave (capacity: 110 - 880 liters)
2. Consider your budget when buying a new autoclave
Naturally, budgeting is a crucial aspect of buying a new autoclave. Steam sterilizers come in a range of prices, which can be influenced by factors such as size, capacity, and features. It's essential to determine how much you can allocate for this investment – and how much you should.
While it's tempting to opt for the most expensive model with all the bells and whistles, it's vital to strike a balance between your budget and the features that are truly necessary for your facility. If your facility doesn’t need to treat that many types of tools and materials, and can afford to have slower autoclaves at their site, more basic models can also do the trick.
Interestingly, more expensive models can sometimes be more cost-effective in the long term thanks to lower operational costs. Energy efficiency is an aspect that can impact both your facility's operational costs and its environmental footprint. Energy-efficient autoclaves are designed to consume less electricity and water while maintaining effective sterilization.
Celitron’s advanced models are equipped with water and energy-saving systems, reducing utility expenses over time.
3. Buying a new autoclave – Type differences
Buying a new autoclave also means deciding on the type of machine you need – this will define its speed, its features, usability, and most importantly, what kind of materials you can treat with it.
A key comparison often arises between gravity and vacuum autoclaves.
- Gravity autoclaves: These autoclaves rely on the natural gravitational displacement of air by steam. While they are effective for most sterilization needs, they may not be as thorough as vacuum autoclaves. Gravity autoclaves are known for their simplicity and ease of use, but can only treat solid, unwrapped, flat medical tools. They cannot be used for more intricate loads, such as porous items or equipment that needs to be wrapped up.
- Vacuum autoclaves: Vacuum autoclaves, are designed to remove air from the chamber before sterilization. This vacuum creates a more effective sterilization environment as it ensures that steam penetrates every surface of the instruments, even complex hollow instruments, and fabrics. Vacuum autoclaves are particularly advantageous for sterilizing wrapped instruments, porous loads, and materials that may have air pockets.
The benefits of vacuum autoclaves include superior sterilization results, reduced cycle times, and the ability to sterilize a wider range of instruments effectively. Regardless of size, all of Celitron’s models use a vacuum pump to ensure thorough sterilization.
4. Buying a new autoclave with optimal sterilization cycle times
The time required for sterilization cycles is another important consideration when buying a new autoclave. The sterilization cycle time can vary depending on the autoclave model and type. Faster cycles can improve workflow efficiency in a busy medical facility, but it's crucial not to compromise sterilization effectiveness for the sake of speed.
In some cases, autoclaves with shorter cycle times may use higher temperatures and pressures, which can be more stressful on certain materials. It's essential to strike a balance between cycle time and instrument compatibility.
Cycle time is always affected by the type and amount of materials inside the autoclave’s chamber. Still, in most cases, Celitron’s models can achieve cycle times as fast as 20 minutes. They can also dry and cool down the load inside within that time.
5. Validation and compliance – Buying a new autoclave that adheres to regulations
Compliance with industry standards and regulations is non-negotiable when it comes to buying new autoclaves. Ensuring that your autoclave meets the necessary validation requirements and follows guidelines set by organizations like the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is critical.
When evaluating autoclave options, inquire about their compliance with regulatory standards. Manufacturers should be able to provide documentation and certifications to verify their adherence to these standards. Investing in a compliant autoclave is crucial for the safety of your patients and the integrity of your medical facility.
Celitron is an ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certified company with CE-certified products.
Through the numerous safety features, our steam sterilizers meet the highest standards and requirements for quality, safety, and operation (EN 285 – Large Steam Sterilizers standard; Pressure Equipment Directive (PED); Medical Device Directive MDD 93/42/EEC; EN 60601-1, EN 61010-1 and EN 61326 safety standards, etc. and CE approved).
6. Consider maintenance and service when buying a new autoclave
Regular maintenance and servicing are essential to keep your autoclave good as new, and running smoothly while maintaining its effectiveness. Neglecting maintenance can lead to downtime and subpar sterilization results.
Before making a purchase, inquire about the manufacturer's maintenance services and support. Find out if they offer routine servicing packages or if spare parts are readily available. Additionally, consider the ease of cleaning and maintaining the autoclave in-house.
Celitron’s autoclaves are equipped with self and remote diagnosis systems to facilitate maintenance.
7. Buying a new autoclave with a user-friendly interface
A user-friendly interface is vital for the seamless operation of your new autoclave. Medical staff members should be able to navigate and use the autoclave without extensive training. An intuitive control panel with clear instructions can reduce the risk of errors and ensure proper sterilization processes.
When evaluating autoclaves, test the user interface to ensure that it is straightforward to understand. Ask for demonstrations or user manuals to gauge the ease of operation.
Celitron’s autoclaves include a digital color touch-screen LCD display so you can easily follow the steam sterilization process, which is a fully automatic, easy-to-use “one-touch operation”.
A PC connection is also available to facilitate the external documentation of your facility.
8. Consider warranty and support when buying a new autoclave
Investigate the warranty options offered by the manufacturer and the availability of customer support. A reliable warranty can provide peace of mind in case of unexpected issues with your new autoclave.
Consider the duration and coverage of the warranty. Some autoclaves may come with extended warranties that cover not only the equipment but also maintenance and repairs.
You can count on Celitron’s after-sales support for guidance and parts to keep your autoclave running many years after your purchase.
9. The safety features of your new autoclave
To ensure a safe working environment not only for your patients, but your staff as well, they should be well aware of the precautions they need to take when handling potentially infectious materials. Your new autoclave can facilitate this process if it comes with extra safety features.
In the case of Celitron’s autoclaves, the doors close and open automatically. The door of the steam sterilizer cannot be opened manually until temperature and pressure levels are still too high inside the chamber, which helps avoid unneeded incidents.
10. Customization options for your new autoclave
Every medical facility has different needs. Take a look at the brochure and technical specs provided by the manufacturer to see what other options they have available. This is a long-term decision, take the time to review what features are a priority in your case.
Celitron’s autoclaves are highly customizable with a great range of accessories. Not to mention that apart from preset cycles, up to 20 different sterilization cycles can be customized according to your needs.