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Choosing a Steam Source for a Hospital Autoclave Sterilizer

Choosing a Steam Source for a Hospital Autoclave Sterilizer

One of the most important components that make a hospital run is the steam needed to power the autoclave sterilizer. Hospital laboratories and operating rooms use autoclave sterilizers on a regular basis to sterilize a wide variety of instruments needed for medical procedures. Without it, hospitals couldn’t guarantee that their medical equipment and instruments were free of germs and bacteria, making it essential to any hospital.

An autoclave works by using steam to heat medical instruments above boiling point, which is what sanitizes them. Thus, the hospital needs a good source of on-demand steam so that they can use the autoclave to sterilize instruments whenever they need to. Fortunately, there are several possible sources from which hospitals can get their autoclave steam.

House Steam

House steam refers to the boiler system that provides steam to the rest of the hospital. This helps to make it the most convenient option. Hospitals of all sizes typically have at least one boiler running at all times, usually with more on standby if needed. More so than most places, hospitals can’t afford to be without a functioning boiler for very long. This makes it easy to send steam from the house boiler to the autoclave as needed. As long as the water being fed into the boiler is clean, it should be all systems go as far as using the house boiler for the autoclave.

Steam-to-Steam Generator

If producing clean steam from the house boiler is problematic, a steam-to-steam generator can be a viable solution. This type of system is designed specifically for situations that require clean steam, including sterilization. A steam-to-steam generator takes the steam from the house boiler and uses it to heat water that’s turned into clean steam that can be funneled straight into the autoclave. It’s an efficient process if the cleanliness of the house steam is in question, but it can also be an expensive piece of equipment for a hospital.

Electric Steam Generator

Some hospitals choose to bypass their house steam altogether and utilize an electric generator to heat up water and produce steam that can be fed into their autoclave sterilizer. For these hospitals, there are two options when it comes to electric steam generators: an integral boiler or a remote boiler. Integral boilers are usually made of stainless steel and designed to fit underneath the autoclave so the transfer of steam to the sterilizer is as simple as possible. However, they are usually limited to 45kW of power. Remote boilers, meanwhile, are more powerful but far larger in size. Thus, they must sit next to the autoclave or in an adjacent room.

What One Is Best For You?

The best steam source for a hospital autoclave sterilizer will depend on the power of a hospital’s in-house boiler. If the boiler is old and run down, it may be struggling just to heat the building, making it difficult to also supply enough steam to the sterilizer. As mentioned, the cleanliness of the water being fed to the boiler is also a factor. However, in most cases, using steam from the house boiler will be the most convenient option.

If your hospital’s boiler system isn’t able to provide adequate steam to the autoclave sterilizer, it may be time to upgrade the entire system. Contact a Miura representative to learn about how Miura’s boilers can improve your steam productivity and overall efficiency.