How to set up your laboratory; choosing an autoclave.

How to set up your laboratory; choosing an autoclave.

How to Set Up your Laboratory; Choosing an Autoclave

Being in charge of setting up a laboratory is a daunting task, and involves tackling the demanding ordeal of sourcing the latest computers, the shiniest benches, the most advanced equipment, and a trusty autoclave. Autoclaves are an essential piece of equipment for the majority of biology laboratories, and choosing the incorrect one can be a costly decision. This process can be lengthy and confusing; autoclaves come in many shapes, sizes, capacities, and styles. So how exactly is a facilities manager supposed to make an informed decision while balancing all their other responsibilities? Easy; they can read this post which outlines autoclaves, their features, and how to choose one!

Determining your Sterilization needs; Autoclave Size.

When deciding on your sterilization needs, ask yourself and/or your users what types of objects will be sterilized. This could include glassware, tools, bioreactors, liquid media, fermentation devices, etc. It’s important to ensure that your largest items will be able to fit inside the autoclave chamber. Autoclave sizes are typically measured in liters, measuring the total volume of the inside of the chamber. Keep in mind, however, that effective chamber volume is usually lower than the described volume and should be a factor in your evaluation.

Another valid consideration is to measure the exact capacity per cycle of the autoclave to determine throughput. To determine this, simply consider the configuration of the autoclave you have in mind, the types, sizes, and quantities of the items being sterilized, and the effective volume. Be sure to double-check the number of items that will fit, as this a very important determinant of throughput. Once these three values are determined, you can understand the effective throughput; and then be able to decide on the size of the autoclave you need, should you require a different output.

It’s important to realize that the size and type of autoclave you choose can have a large effect on your lab’s efficiency. One must consider the frequency of loads, time per cycle, load size, and the number of users before making a decision. If your lab has a steady throughput requirement, you might benefit from having several medium-sized autoclaves, and by staggering use, you can ensure a high throughput. Having a large single autoclave might be appealing at first, but any malfunctions, breakdowns, or maintenance can cause a huge drop in efficiency.

Determining your Installation Utilities and Compatibility

Autoclaves can have varying voltage requirements, so your electricity source and input is an important consideration. Some autoclaves require up to 240V outlets, which aren’t as accessible as standard 120V outlets. Access to water and/or steam are also essential to an autoclave’s functionality. Traditional autoclaves require an external water main or steam main to work. Others, however, might not require a water intake and can simply function with water that is added into the chamber. If you have an autoclave in mind, be sure to check its installation requirements and compatibility with your water and electricity inputs.

In addition to ensuring compatibility, it’s crucial to determine installation needs. Outside of the cost of the actual unit, it can be costly in terms of the time and money it takes to install your autoclave. Should your autoclave require a steam intake, a water drainage solution, or a higher voltage to function, these can easily drive up your total costs. Aside from this, a large in-the-wall autoclave requires a fair amount of square footage to be functional at optimal output, making it a tough decision should your laboratory space be limited. Choosing the right autoclave that is compatible with your facility and is easy to install can save you a lot of time and space!

Determining your Total Costs Over Time

Finally, choosing an autoclave comes down to the total cost of ownership, not just the upfront costs of the unit itself. It’s important to mention that as a facilities manager, your costs don’t go away as soon as you’ve purchased your new autoclave. There are maintenance costs, breakdown costs, and replacement costs that will inevitably come up. Autoclaves are robust devices, but the combination of high usage and the elements, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your autoclave will need some maintenance every now and then. Regular upkeep involves replacing parts, paying a technician, and managing costs during downtime.

Typically, autoclave gaskets are the most commonly replaced item. The cost of replacing gaskets can run up to a few thousand dollars during ownership if gaskets need to be replaced often. Gaskets typically require changing due to the intense heat and pressure that develops during a cycle, subjecting gaskets to harsh conditions. Of course, gasket design and material quality determine the frequency of required changes, but gaskets that are changed often will only serve to drive up your costs, even though the per-part cost might initially seem cheap. A well functioning gasket ensures autoclave longevity and has a lower likelihood of breaking. Choosing an autoclave that is easy to maintain, and has low costs over time can save you a lot of time and money!

Conclusion

When choosing an autoclave, keeping in mind your costs over time, your facility’s utilities, and the throughput requirements can help you make an informed decision. One of our products, the TOMY SX Series autoclaves provides a lot of great benefits while keeping costs down. It features a top-loading autoclave, that requires just water to get up and running. The gaskets themselves are typically replaced once every three years, keeping costs over time to a minimal. With a minimal installation investment, easy to use, and a robust build, the TOMY SX Series autoclaves should be able to meet all of your needs with ease.

Should you need any more information regarding TOMY autoclaves, or just have some questions regarding features, repair and maintenance of autoclaves, please feel free to reach out to us at tomy@amuzainc.com. Alternatively, you can fill out this contact form as well, and we can get back to you shortly.

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TOMY Autoclaves at ISSCR 2019

TOMY Autoclaves at ISSCR 2019

“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

TOMY exhibited its autoclaves at the 2019 ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles from June 26-29.

Researchers were interested in the versatility and numerous benefits that the TOMY SX-Series autoclave offers for stem cell research, including its compact size, high throughput and ability to sterilize a range of items, including glassware, liquid media and large items including bioreactors.

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.

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Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

TOMY Autoclave Now in BioLabs

TOMY Autoclave Now in BioLabs

TOMY welcomes our new partners – BioLabs San Diego!


TOMY wishes to send a warm welcome to 
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.

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Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

What Type of Water Should be Used with an Autoclave?

What Type of Water Should be Used with an Autoclave?

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 (50 mL 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!

Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

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Top 5 Things to Look for when Choosing an Autoclave Sterilizer

Top 5 Things to Look for when Choosing an Autoclave Sterilizer

It ain’t easy being choosy

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…

  1. Loading Capacity

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. 

Best of luck in your search! 

Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

Saves You Lots

Where Can I Repair my TOMY Autoclave or Centrifuge?

Where Can I Repair my TOMY Autoclave or Centrifuge?

Announcing the TOMY Nationwide Repair and Maintenance Network

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.

Tomy SX-Series Autoclave Sterilizer

Saves You Lots