“Sterilize. Start. Repeat.” was used to communicate the benefits of using TOMY autoclaves in stem cell research and the highlight the positive financial and environmental impact of using reusable vessels and equipment.
TOMY Autoclaves at the ISSCR 2019 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles
The featured tagline “Sterlize. Start. Repeat.” was created to communicate the importance of proper sterilization in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, as well as the financial and environmental benefits associated with reusable vessels and instruments. Stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers expressed interest in using TOMY autoclaves in sterilizing and re-using glassware, stainless steel precision tools and multiple-use bioreactors in their research to save costs and reduce their environmental impact.
For those interested in learning more about how TOMY autoclaves can benefit your research and Save You Lots, please visit the TOMY autoclaves page or contact us directly.
TOMY welcomes our new partners- BioLabs San Diego!
TOMY wishes to send a warm welcome BioLabs San Diego in bringing the TOMY SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer on board their operations!
BioLabs is a nationwide organization of co-working spaces that provides facilities, equipment and know-how for new biotechs to grow and strengthen their operations. We believe that the TOMY SX-Series top-loading autoclave is the perfect autoclave for its members and other start-up biotechs / life science organizations, as the compact size, high-capacity, performance and reliability of the TOMY SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer is the perfect match for the needs and demands of growing start-up operations.
We wish to thank BioLabs for choosing TOMY and wish its members all of the best with their new TOMY SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer!
For information on how your biotech / life science start-up laboratory can benefit from TOMY autoclaves, please contact us here. We would be more than willing to assist you with any questions that you may have.
When using an autoclave the question that everyone wants to have answered is what type of water should be used with an autoclave. This depends on the type of autoclave that one uses. With certain types of autoclaves that are hooked into house water or steam, there isn’t much of a choice. However, one has the choice and should make the proper choice when using a top-loading autoclave.
A very convenient type of autoclave is the top-loading autoclave. Due to their independence from water line plumbing or “house steam” connections, autoclave installation is easy and less space is taken for sterilization, leaving more space for other equipment.
But without an outside source of water or steam, how do autoclaves produce saturated steam and proper conditions in which to sterilize media?
The answer is the presence of a powerful heating element in the base of the SX-Series Autoclave’s main chamber. Water is simply added into the top-loading lid to submerge the heating element in water. This step followed by insertion of the power plug into an appropriate electrical outlet completes the entire easy installation process.
The following is information about water for autoclaving. Including how water sensors work, tips about the proper type of water to use in autoclave sterilization and the reasons behind these methods.
Water Level Sensor. Safety is a high priority for all TOMY products. A water level sensor is installed in each system to ensure the heating element is submerged. This sensor detects the ionic content of the water in the system and will not permit the autoclave to operate if the water level is too low or no ions are detected. This makes pure DI water a bad choice to use because the sensor will not be activated and the autoclave will not run.
Mineral Buildup as a Problem. The main concern about the type of water to use in autoclaves is avoidance of mineral buildup. That will affect your autoclave and its parts negatively if not checked. Though tap water has much greater ion content than pure DI water and is important in activating the water level sensor, its advantage is also its main drawback. Tap water’s high mineral content will cause a lime scale buildup within the autoclave sterilizing chamber which can be very difficult to remove or clean. This phenomenon happens in varying degrees depending on location; in some areas the tap water is harder than other areas. For instance, Southern California tap water is several times harder than tap water from the Midwest or Northeast of the United States and lime scale buildup will present itself much faster.
DI Water to Limit Mineral Buildup, Extend Autoclave Life. A balance of DI water and tap water is recommended for the reasons stated above. This will ensure safe operation of the SX-Series Autoclaves and ease clean up of the sterilizing chamber. When setting up your autoclave, add 3-3.5 Liters of DI water to the chamber to cover the heating element and base plate by at least 5 cm. Then add ion-rich tap water (50mL for the SX-500 and 100 mL for the SX-700) to make sure the sensor can detect the water level while keeping lime scale buildup to a minimum.
In Summary: Water is Key. Following these tips when adding water to your autoclave will ensure longevity of the systems and safety for you and your lab members for years to come. Please contact us with any further inquiries you may have. Our team is always happy to help!
Choosing an autoclave sterilizer can be a daunting task, especially given the wide range of considerations and sheer number of autoclaves on the market from which to choose. Below are the top 5 things to look for when selecting your next autoclave, especially considering the fact that it’s a large purchase and the autoclave, love it or hate it, is there to stay for a long time…
Size definitely matters, both in terms of how much can fit inside and how much extra bulk there is outside (your autoclave, stay with me folks).
Top-loading autoclaves, in which the cylinder sits vertically, allow for autoclaving baskets to be stacked inside, as opposed to front-loading autoclaves, whose cylinders house a box within to hold trays, wasting tremendous space in the process. By stacking autoclave baskets, you’re essentially doubling or tripling the amount of media that it can hold, essentially raising capacity, even compared to other autoclave types that are the same volume.
With their configuration and the ability to stack, top-loading autoclaves are more bang for your buck for capacity.
2. Compact Size / Use of Space
Another thing to consider other than capacity is the amount of space that your autoclave will occupy. Depending on the configuration (top-loading or front-loading), the autoclave will either take up benchtop or floor-top space.
With a vertical cylinder, top-loading autoclaves are on the floor and hence, allow flexibility in where you place your autoclave, and keep the benchtop clear for other types of valuable equipment that has no other place.
Front-loading autoclaves in all cases either occupy valuable benchtop space, or will use unnecessary floor space due to the cylindrical chamber sitting on the side. Because they are front-loading and must be positioned at a higher spot for users to load/unload media, there will be wasted space below the main cylindrical area.
For reasons mentioned above, top-loading autoclaves are the best choice for flexibility of placement, not taking up valuable bench space and minimizing the floor space that it takes up. Check, check, and check.
3. Easy Installation
In addition to the actual cost of your autoclave, the time and money that it takes to install an autoclave can easily break your budget.
Modern autoclaves require electricity, water, and in some cases ready-to-use steam in order to function. Some autoclaves require installation of water and steam intakes to be installed, which require a plumbing expert to install, requiring huge money costs.
These intakes also place a limitation on where your autoclave would need to be placed, in some cases altogether in a different room, or even different part of the building that is difficult and timely to access.
While many autoclaves are cumbersome to install, others simply need to have water added in the chamber and can self-heat to produce steam, taking away the need for water and steam intakes. With these functions in certain top-loading autoclaves, including the TOMY SX-Series autoclaves, they simply need to be plugged in, allowing you to easily install and place your autoclave anywhere there is a power source.
With the time and cost-savings of autoclaves that do not require difficult installation, not to mention the flexibility of location, it makes it an en easy choice to choose an autoclave that only require a power intake to function.
4. Easy to Use
There are few exceptions when it comes to users preferring items that are easy to use. Several factors come into play when using an autoclave, the most important of which are those that require the human to do the work, including loading, operating, cleaning and storing your autoclave.
The method of loading differs greatly by autoclave; with a front-loading type one must reach and load items all the way into the back of an autoclave, or take great care in balancing and arranging items carefully to ensure that they can be loaded in the back. On the other hand, with the stacking baskets of top-loading / vertical autoclaves, items are easily placed in baskets and stacked on top of one another.
The ability to easily clean your autoclave is important, as damage to autoclaves is often due to dirty water in the autoclave chamber. At high temperature and pressure, impurities can stick and burn to the autoclave heater, causing it to short and break, bringing your sterilizing functions to a halt. For top-loading autoclaves such as TOMY SX-Series autoclaves, water in the autoclave chamber can be drained by removing the white plug and opening the drainage valve (green handle) under the machine and draining this into a container for disposal.
Moving and storing your autoclave play into their ease of use, especially when the time comes to actually move your autoclave. Autoclaves are extremely heavy, and those that sit on benchtops (which are the majority of front-loading autoclaves), require several people and special equipment to move. An option on wheels, including TOMY SX-Series autoclaves allow one person to easily move the autoclave across a flat surface, which becomes extremely convenient when that time comes.
5. The Bottom Line- Costs
Money is not only what makes the world go ’round, it’s also what’s going to be one of the major deciding factors of which autoclave you will choose. Choosing the autoclave that delivers on performance, yet saves you money not only at purchase, even more importantly in the long run should be the top priority for a top laboratory manager and decision maker.
The most major factor to consider is the reliability of the autoclave; this not only has to do with autoclave design, but also the parts sourced and the brand reputation servicing, which often directly correlate with the manufacturing location / country of origin. TOMY autoclaves still have their manufacturing operations in Japan and its products are known to provide quality and long-lasting reliability. TOMY also offers worldwide technical support and parts through distributorships, which means this is a wise decision to purchase through them to ensure your peace of mind.
Maintenance costs are equally as important as product reliability. An autoclave requiring regular upkeep and a paid professional to do so mean a large drain on your overall budget, taking away opportunities for new equipment and additional laboratory personnel. One must also consider the cost of replacing a gasket and how often this needs to be done in order to compare the upkeep costs.
Play the laboratory management smart by looking not only at the initial costs of purchasing an autoclave, but the additional upkeep costs that will either spare you or haunt you for years to come.
To Sum It Up
When looking for an autoclave, take all factors into account including the needs of your operation, the size and configuration of your laboratory / facility, and the time / effort it will take for your install, use and maintain your autoclave.
Think not only of the short term, but the long term as well and play the smart laboratory management game by also looking at additional upkeep costs that will either spare you or haunt you for years to come.
With all of these factors in mind, pay attention to the details, which will be everything in determining your future success.
Happy New Year and thank you for your continued support for TOMY autoclaves, centrifuges and other laboratory equipment. If you were wondering where to have your TOMY autoclave, centrifuge, or other equipment repaired, you have come to the right place! We at AMUZA are proud to announce the TOMY nationwide technical support, repair and maintenance network.
The TOMY technical advisory, repair and maintenance service is now available throughout the United States and Canada* and are here to assist users everywhere regarding technical matters and perform repairs on your TOMY equipment. Please use the TOMY contact form to let us know of any issues that you may be experiencing and we will respond to you as soon as possible.
We look forward to serving all of your TOMY autoclave, centrifuge and equipment needs in 2019 and beyond!
*TOMY Repair/maintenance services available in most areas throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii and Canada. TOMY Repair/Maintenance is not available in Alaska, however, please contact us and we can provide parts and instructions for servicing. Validation services for TOMY autoclaves and centrifuges are not available through this network, however, we can assist to find a validation service that meets your organization’s needs.
Autoclaves come in many shapes and sizes, as well as with different features that allow sterilization of different types of media, in different capacities and speeds.
Autoclave sterilizers are essential for almost any type of laboratory and it is crucial to choose the best autoclave that suits your needs. Because autoclaves come in many shapes and sizes, from compact and portable to built-in wall units and many configurations from horizontal front-loading to top-loading autoclaves, it can be overwhelming to make the right selection and stressful wondering whether you have made the correct decision.
Choosing the best autoclave largely depends on several factors, including autoclave media (what you are autoclaving), your throughput needs (how large your autoclave media is and how much you need to autoclave) and available laboratory space, as well as convenience and personal preference. To assist you in your autoclave search, we have outlined the most significant factors that will help you choose the right autoclave for your sterilizing needs.
Type of Sterilization Media
Autoclaves function primarily through either gravity or vacuum-induced or pre-vacuum (prevac) sterilization methods, though some types of autoclaves combine both methods to sterilize. For the most commonly used types of sterilization media, including glassware, utensils and non-porous items, gravity displacement steam autoclaves are used, whereas for large and non-porous items such as blankets and other media, vacuum type sterilizers are recommended. Gravity autoclaves are the most commonly used type on the market and are usuallyrecommended for most cases, however, to determine the best type of autoclave for your sterilization media, you would need and the differences between gravity (steam sterilizers) and vacuum autoclaves please view the entry on gravity vs. vacuum autoclaves.
One of the most important things to check is that the autoclave is large enough to fit the largest items that you will be autoclaving. Autoclave size is often measured in Liters, a unit that measures the total volume of the inside of the chamber, however, the effective chamber size is usually smaller than the actual chamber size, the extent of which depends on the configuration of the chamber and how the racks fit within.
Some items that need to be autoclaved can have unusual dimensions, so you want to make sure that these items fit in the actual autoclave chamber, given how the chamber is designed and how many racks fit into the chamber. Not only is the capacity of the chamber (often measured in Liters) important, but one must consider the configuration of the autoclave chamber in order to determine whether the autoclave will meet your size needs.
As mentioned above, one must determine with certainty the exact capacity per cycle given the autoclave’s inner configuration. Because the capacity for certain autoclave media is not readily available, make sure that you can contact the manufacturer to confirm their autoclave capacities. For Tomy SX-Series autoclave capacity information, please indicate the type of media using TOMY’s contact form, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org and a representative will get back to you.
For most laboratories and start-ups, the best autoclave is one that does not require a huge autoclave that takes up a large amount of space, as well as plumbing, electricity and house steam, not to mention significant monetary and time investments for installation, and maintenance. When looking at the price of an autoclave, it is always important to remember opportunity costs such as when an autoclave requiring a large amount of technical expertise breaks down. These aspects will be covered further in this article, as they are quite significant and should be considered before making purchase decisions.
Second, the throughput capacity will determine whether your autoclave is suitable for the amount of autoclaving media that must be sterilized on a daily basis. In order to determine an autoclave’s throughput, the amount of autoclaving media that can be sterilized per cycle (as well as the amount of time needed to prepare, load, and unload media) must be determined. The best autoclave would be one whose throughput volume matches with the maximum throughput that your laboratory would require per day and per cycle.
Though the cycle time depends on the autoclaving media sterilization requirements, autoclaves have dramatically different warm-up and cool down times that can add to the overall cycle time. Certain features, such as cooling fans can dramatically speed up this process, in some cases allowing for more cycles in a day and a higher throughput. With the TOMY SX-Series Autoclave, the dual cooling fan system reduces the cool down time by up to 42%, saving approximately 25 minutes on the cool down time*, which can amount up to nearly two extra loads in a standard work day.
The type of autoclave that you choose can also dramatically make operations more efficient and one must consider the frequency of loads, the load size and the number of people accessing the autoclave. Operations that require large and steady throughputs can greatly benefit from having several medium size autoclaves, whose use can be staggered, as opposed to large autoclaves that can leave people waiting and cause tremendous backup to the operation. Having several smaller autoclaves can also be ideal in the event of a breakdown, as many backup autoclaves would be available, as opposed to having an operation completely shut down as a result.
Autoclave and Benchtop Space
You should assess the space that you have available in deciding what type of autoclave to purchase, as autoclaves come in many shapes and sizes, which respectively have advantages and disadvantages. The best autoclave would be one that meets your throughput needs and keeps your operation going, without taking up any more space than necessary.
The most commonly found type of autoclave are front-loading autoclaves, which are designed with the cylindrical chamber sitting horizontally and open to a front-opening door. Though seemingly convenient to have the chamber door open out toward the user, they are fundamentally wasteful in their use of autoclaving space for the following reasons:
1) Inside the box / outside the chamber– To start, autoclave chambers are fundamentally cylindrical due to physics, which require equal pressure throughout the chamber (cylinders are commonly used in autoclaves, as the round edges are less prone to high-pressure breaks than the corners of box-shaped containers). Horizontal autoclaves are basically sideways facing cylinders enclosed by a box- with this design, the spaces around the outside of the chamber within the box are wasted. 2) Within the chamber– In front-loading autoclaves, items must have a flat surface on which to rest, which is accommodated by using trays that slide into the chamber. With this system, the areas outside of the flat surface inside the cylindrical chambers are wasted. 3) On the tray– Autoclave media, especially glassware tends to be round in shape, including flasks, bottles, petri dishes, etc. When placing round objects on a rectangular area, the areas along the edges are also lost, as round objects only come in contact with the edge of a tray at one small point. The remainder is lost space.
One of the first lessons that you learn in pre-school is that the circular block does not belong in the square hole and vice versa. This lesson applies in the case of autoclaves as well, as cylindrical chambers placed horizontally in front-loading square-shaped autoclaves are wasteful and do not make sense from a utilitarian standpoint.
Basic lesson- circles and squares do not mix. This principle works the same with autoclaves.
In summary, horizontal, front-loading autoclaves are fundamentally flawed in their design, as they take up significant bench space, and benchtop front-loading autoclaves take away space that could be used for other equipment or a clear working space for research. Further, as space is lost outside of the chamber, inside of the chamber, and finally on the tray surface area, they are especially inefficient for their size, using an extremely small percentage of overall volume for autoclaving. Considering these many factors, front-loading, horizontal chamber autoclaves are a literal waste of space.
On the other hand, top-loading autoclaves are the best autoclave for effectively utilizing space, as the vertical configuration of top-loading autoclaves and stackable baskets allow for the most efficient use the vertical cylindrical chamber. Combined with the round-shaped sides, top-loading autoclaves can accommodate large capacities of autoclave media, which also tend to have round edges. When considering an autoclave, always take into account the configuration and how this impacts capacity / throughput, as well as general laboratory space and efficiency.
Due to its top-loading design, round configuration and use of stackable baskets, the SX-700 autoclave can accommodate up to 27 300 mL flasks in one cycle.
Installation Utilities: Water and Electricity
Access to water is an important factor, as some autoclaves require plumbing, while others can function by simply adding water to the unit. Many traditional autoclaves and those that have chamber vacuum functions tend to rely on an external water main or house steam in order to function. While this setup allows for a steady source of water to feed the autoclave, it is physically limiting to need a designated space and setup for an autoclave. Others, however, do not rely upon water or steam intakes and can function with water that is added to the autoclave chamber. The TOMY SX-Series Autoclave does not require any plumbing or installation and simply needs to have water added periodically in the chamber. One just needs to make sure to use the proper mix of DI (De-Ionized) water (not to be confused with distilled water), combined with a small amount of tap water, as the autoclave senses water through ion detection. More information on proper water use can be found in the following entry on autoclave maintenance.
Autoclaves also have different voltage requirements so your electricity source is another factor to consider. Some may require 220-240V (different to standard 120V outlets), which has the advantage of a faster heating time. Changing voltage requirements can usually be performed by a qualified electrician for a small fee.
A model from the TOMY SX-Series can be placed anywhere there is a power outlet, and no plumbing or installation is required. All you need to do is plug in your autoclave and add water. The chamber layout within the autoclave is also a factor to consider as vertical autoclaves have stackable baskets that are ideal for maximizing space. The TOMY SX-Series also has a top-loading design, which offers a small footprint and other innovative features that will save you valuable laboratory space as it can be placed either on the bench or your floor space.
Maintenance, Cleaning and Technical Support
As mentioned, autoclaves require regular maintenance for safety, proper functionality and minimal negative impact on your organization’s operation. However, if there is an issue with your autoclave’s operation, you should also ensure you have a reliable and quality technical support available. Most come with a one-year warranty, though you should check your manufacturer’s paperwork to check these terms. Purchasing from a large distributor could leave you on a waiting list and could also mean you have to deal with expensive technicians, though certain manufacturers do provide quality technical support that could also be free of charge.
Autoclaves also require regular maintenance and part replacement in order to continue functioning properly and to extend the life of your autoclave. One major aspect that should be considered when purchasing autoclaves is the chamber lid gasket, which differ in quality, longevity (frequency of changing) and price. Because of the intense heat and pressure that gaskets are subjected to, the gasket’s design and material quality is directly correlated with the frequency of which it must be changed. Consequently, gaskets that require more frequent changes will add to the maintenance costs of your autoclave- some autoclaves require monthly gasket changes, which can hundreds per change require several thousand dollars in a matter of years.
Poor quality gaskets can cost your organization thousands of dollars in a matter of years, however, TOMY SX-Series autoclaves come with thick and sturdy, high-quality gaskets that require changing only once every 3 years, depending on frequency of use. One would agree that an autoclave that does not require frequent part changes that are costly to maintain are best. Because the TOMY SX-Series gasket requires significantly less changing and much lower costs than those of competitors, this factor alone takes thousands of dollars off autoclaving costs and should be considered when making a purchase decision.
Thick and sturdy, high-quality gaskets for the TOMY SX-Series can save your organization thousands of dollars over several years
The ability to easily clean your autoclave should be seriously considered, as a major source of damage to autoclaves, especially autoclave heaters, is dirty water that sits in the autoclave chamber. At high temperature and pressure, impurities that get into the water from autoclave media can stick and burn to the autoclave heater, preventing the heater from transferring heat and permanently damaging it, potentially rendering your autoclave obsolete. For TOMY SX-Series autoclaves, water in the autoclave chamber can be drained by removing the white plug and opening the drainage valve (green handle) under the machine and draining this into a container for disposal. For biohazardous material and water disposal, especially for BSL (Bio Safety LeveL) 2 and above laboratories, please contact the Center for Disease Control or the relevant national authority for disposal instructions.
The TOMY SX-Series easily accessible vertical cylindrical chamber allows for easy cleaning that prevents damage and extends the life of your autoclave.
Finally, it is important to choose a reputable company for recognized quality and craftsmanship products. TOMY still has its manufacturing operations in Japan and its products are known to provide quality and long-lasting reliability. TOMY also offers worldwide technical support and parts through distributorships, which means this is a wise decision to purchase through them to ensure your peace of mind. Always check your service agreement and ensure that your autoclave meets the specific industrial standards (such as ISO standards) and guidelines for your organization’s in-house standards.
Summary (The Bottom Line)
When choosing an autoclave, it is important to assess a variety of factors to make sure that the autoclave is a best match for your organization’s needs, including the autoclave’s capacity, throughput, space requirements, installation, maintenance, quality and overall costs over several years. One may find that pre-existing alternatives do not meet modern and ever-changing needs of your organization, whether a public institution or a smaller start-up that demands a versatile, high quality and reliable autoclave to keep the organization running smoothly. Always make sure to consider not only factors such as selling prices, but long-term costs associated with the capacity / throughput, performance, and reliability that affect any organization’s bottom line.
If you have any questions about autoclave features, repair or maintenance, or you need more specific advice as to whether TOMY autoclaves would meet your organization’s unique needs, please email us at email@example.com, call us on 858-800-3900, or contact us using the Tomy Amuza site contact form.
*Save up to 25 min on autoclave cycle time with the Tomy SX-Series dual fan cooling system, which reduces chamber cooling temperature from 121°C to 60°C from 59 minutes to 34 minutes.