An autoclave is used to clean equipment and to keep them bacteria-free. They do this by using steam and high pressure to clean and sterilize the equipment that is placed inside them. The autoclave is used in laboratories and in other industrial settings such as food production where cleanliness of equipment is paramount. Here is a list of the main component parts that make up an autoclave:
This is the main part of the autoclave, where the items are placed for sterilization. They can vary in size, from 100L to 3000L and have an inner chamber as well as an outer. This outer chamber is generally known as a ‘jacket’, which is filled with steam to reduce sterilization time.
The purpose of the front door of the autoclave is to seal off the outside atmosphere. This allows the items inside the chamber to be sterilized properly. A lock and a door seal secure the contents and prevent leakage.
The Safety Valve
A pipe at the bottom of the cylinder feeds steam into the chamber at a higher atmospheric temperature. This increased pressure raises the temperature by 20 degrees centigrade higher than the normal boiling point of water. Therefore, a safety valve is fitted to stop the pressure inside the chamber exceeding a pre-set maximum temperature.
Once the desired temperature has been reached, a thermostat starts off a timer. The timer is usually set to 15-20 minutes, depending on the contamination level of the materials inside the autoclave. The way in which they have been loaded into the chamber will also have an effect on the timing.
Many autoclaves will have a system that cools any wastewater before it enters the drain. This is often done to avoid damage to the drain piping at the laboratory.
TYM has a vast amount of sterilizer spares in stock, ranging from clack washers, PTFE washers, Filters, and Door Seals, to name but a few. Find out more about our range of autoclave machines and spare parts.