What to Expect When You’re Expecting (an Autoclave)
By: Priorclave North America
Categories: Lab Autoclaves Lab Practices
Are you expecting a new bundle of joy with us? Is the nursery ready? When you’ve invested in a Priorclave floor model autoclave, you’ll want to prepare your install site beforehand—to make sure you have the space not just for comfortable and effective use, but also for machinery care and maintenance. Just like any new member of the family coming home, you’ll need to put some care and forethought into your preparation before we deliver your autoclave.
Site Surveys Avoid Painful Surprises!
When labs don’t plan in advance or don’t accurately imagine the scale of the space relative to the size of a floor model autoclave, their setup won’t be optimal. Occasionally, it won’t even be possible.
At Priorclave, we’re no strangers to accommodating install sites that aren’t ideal. But, realistically, these improvisations can get ugly (as you see below). As Amanda Neal, Operations Manager at Priorclave North America points out:
“The customer did not plan for the space needed at all, despite insisting they’d measured. You can see it’s on a diagonal so that it will fit into the room. That was the result of some creativity from the tech who was there to install it (and was not happy at all). Still, whoever walks in there will have to squeeze past the corner of the autoclave. It’s a 150L, so it’s not even one of our bigger units like a 320L. A 320 wouldn’t have fit into this lab at all.”
In this instance, the location selected was an imperfect solution after delivery revealed that the original location was far too small. As the service tech lamented once all was done and working “someone needs their tape measure privileges revoked.”
When it comes to autoclaves, like everything else, we recommend measuring (at least) twice and delivering just once. To that end, we always perform an honest site survey prior to purchase. We’ve worked around many obstacles, but that’s much easier when we know about them well in advance.
Setting Up for a Smooth Installation: Water & Electric
Once you have your space requirements worked out, there are still a few important things to note, much of it to do with plumbing (as you might imagine with a device that uses steam).
Water Supply & Cut Off
You’ll need a softened water supply with service cut off located a maximum 3’ to the left, right,or behind the unit. Service cut off should have a ¾” garden hose connection.
Autoclave Clearance Requirements
The autoclave requires a minimum clearance of 18 inches on every side, except for the rear of the autoclave, which requires 12 inches clearance for maintenance. Space at the rear enables drain manifold/pipework (a sample of which is shown below). As Neal notes, “It’s really hard to remove the side panels for repairs or maintenance if the autoclave is crammed into a corner like an oven or refrigerator in an apartment.”
Note that although the autoclave ships with casters to ease initial positioning and installation, it does not rest on those casters post-installation. Every installation includes leveling the sterilizer on its integrated legs, to ensure proper drainage. If the autoclave has to be moved each time you want to access the panels or pipework, it will need to be re-leveled once you’re finished.
Larger autoclaves need a 12 inch x 12 inch x 8 inch floor drain (often called a “floor sink”). This needs to near the wall, behind (not beneath) the unit (as shown below)—hence the rear clearance requirements mentioned above. The drain should be lower than any outlets and within 6 feet of the rear of the autoclave.
Wherever you choose to place your autoclave, it will need a 220–230 volts, 60 Hz, grounded three-phase power supply rated at 30amps/phase within a 3’ run of the rear of the autoclave. In most buildings in North America, that will mean installing a buck-boost transformer (to bring the US standard 208 V up to 230v). You’ll also want to be sure it has a waterproof single receptacle to suit the plug and cable assembly supplied with the autoclave.
Are you ready to start planning your space or do you need additional specs to have in mind as you talk with other contractors? Wherever you are in the process, contact us about how you can make sure the delivery of your brand new autoclave is a joy and a blessing.