Education Autoclaves

Safe, Full-Function, and Affordable

Common medical-grade sterilizers may seem almost identical to research-grade autoclaves. But a medical-grade device—with its limited cycle options, meager safeguards, and inefficient design—is a poor training unit for a student looking at a career in research. Your students and trainees deserve hands-on experience with the sort of autoclaves being used in today’s pioneering research.

Medical-grade Autoclaves: Resource Hogs or Pipsqueaks

Medical-grade autoclaves break into two broad categories: High-throughput hospital autoclaves, and small tabletop sterilizers.

The high-throughput hospital autoclaves are very expensive to purchase and maintain. They are designed for 24/7 operation, consuming hundreds gallons of water and kilowatts of electricity even when idle. Such idle periods are very rare in hospitals, but a recent study funded by the Emerging Technology Programs of several California-based energy companies found that most laboratory autoclaves sit idle for roughly 19 hours per day, and are rarely used on weekends.

In a 2008 audit Stanford University found that the medical-grade sterilizers used in their research facilities consumed an average of 1,550 gallons of water every day, even when no work was being done. Comparable research-grade autoclaves performing similar tasks use no water when not running an active sterilization cycle.  In 2014 Stanford completed a comprehensive campus-wide inventory of equipment across 220 of their buildings. They found that 49% of the entire campus plug load came from lab equipment alone—and autoclaves were a major offender: Stanford’s 167 autoclaves were using as much energy as their 19,205 computer monitors.

A 2016 study of autoclave efficiency by the Office of Sustainability at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) was similarly eye-opening. Even when functioning within intended parameters, the medical-grade autoclaves used in their genomics and entomology research labs were each consuming an average of 700 gallons of water and 90 Kw/h of electricity per cycle.  This translated to 1,134MWh of electricity and 8.8 million gallons of water total across their campus’s 37 autoclaves—and most of that was consumed while the units sat idle.  Meanwhile, their research-grade autoclaves performed the same tasks with equal effectiveness, but used 83% less energy and 97% less water.

Smaller tabletop medical sterilizers (designed for clinics, dentist’s offices, tattoo parlors, and the like) are far less resource-intensive and much cheaper to purchase and operate. But they are terrible research and training units: “economical” tabletop autoclaves were not developed for destroying lab waste or preparing growth media (the two most common tasks in college and university labs). Their plumbing and heating elements aren’t up to the task. Also, their control systems are generally confined to a few preset cycles. These units are ideal if you want to quickly sterilize glassware, wrapped dental tools, or gauze. But if you want to prepare students to do routine lab tasks (let alone innovate), you are simply out of luck.

Research-grade Autoclaves for Education

For more than two decades Priorclave has focused on building autoclaves ideal for teaching and training. These research-grade autoclaves are built around an efficient, low-maintenance design—no water or energy is wasted keeping machines warm overnight and on weekends. Even the smallest benchtop units are outfitted with the fully-featured Tactrol control system, offering unparalleled program flexibility and safety. Mistakes happen, which is why Priorclave’s permission-based door release system is equipped with both thermal and pressure interlocks. It’s impossible to open a dangerously hot or pressurized Priorclave.

All Priorclave autoclaves comply with current US, Canada, UK, and EU safety regulations. They are manufactured in our UKAS-accredited facility in London, and are ETL listed and EMC certified. Our ASME-stamped pressure vessels are manufactured entirely in-house, tested to 1.5 times their maximum working pressure, and backed with a 20-year warranty. We offer free lifetime technical support with every unit we ship.

Find out what a Priorclave can do for you: Contact us for an honest, no obligation assessment of your needs.