Do you need volume, or do you need height?
In the wide world of industrial sterilization, a “large autoclave” tends to be one with a chamber 26 inches in diameter or larger–devices that an average person could climb into without feeling cramped. While Priorclave does make large custom units in their UK factory, it’s not yet economical to ship these across the pond. If you’re accustomed to autoclaves you could park your car in, you’ll need to look elsewhere (and we’re happy to point you in the right direction).
But in the world of research, quality assurance, and education, “large autoclaves” are devices around 25 inches in diameter, like our front-loading Priorclave 320L–which accounts for about 20 percent of our North American sales to date.
But let’s have a quick chat before you rush to click the “Buy Now” button: Many labs looking for large front-loading research autoclaves can save a bundle by reorienting their worldview.
Do You Need a Large Autoclave, or Do You Need a Tall One?
Priorclave North America has found that many labs asking for “large autoclaves” aren’t actually looking to sterilize loads remotely near 320L (which is about 12 cubic feet–something the size of a love seat). Instead, they’re looking for a large sterilizer because they have tall flasks, fermentors, or bioreactors they need to process. They need the extra headroom offered by an autoclave with a 25-inch diameter chamber. In these cases, they’re often sterilizing loads under 20L total. Using a 320L sterilizer to prepare 20L of liquid is like filling up your bathtub to rinse out a coffee cup: a lot of water, energy, and time wasted (not to mention the added expense of installing a “coffee-cup rinse bathtub” when a quick spray with the faucet will do).
Tall loads can be processed just as well–and much more efficiently and less expensively–by any of our top-loading autoclaves. A Priorclave Vertical 150L top-loading autoclave–less than half the size of our front-loading 320L–will get the job done while saving you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the unit. Even our smallest top-loader–the portable Priorclave Vertical 60L–will accommodate a large variety of tall containers.
This is why top-loading autoclaves are the standard for lab work outside North America–especially for life-science research–and our top sellers worldwide. They handle tall bioreactors, flasks, and fermentors with easy. On top of that, they’re great for large-batch waste loads: Loading a top-loader is no different than taking out the trash–we’re all accustomed to using “top-loading” trash cans.
Get a Large Autoclave when You Need a Large Autoclave
We don’t want to trash talk our 320L: It’s one of our more popular models, owing to its extreme efficiency and speed. If you need to sterilize hundreds of test tubes or small flasks in a single pass, the 320L is hard to beat. But more than a few labs are buying them because they need the height, not the volume–and there’s more than one way to be a “large autoclave.”
“This is why it’s so important for us to have a real conversation with every facility looking to invest in a new large autoclave,” explains Barbra Wells, president and CEO of Priorclave North America. “I’d much rather sell someone less autoclave that makes them happier than cash in now and make someone’s workday miserable for the next decade.”