No Space for a Large Bulk Autoclave? 4 Reasons to Consider the MiniBulk™
There are many different types of autoclaves available on the market – from simple economy sterilizers, to advanced BSL-3 biocontainment models, to large laboratory autoclaves. Despite the variety, a perfect fit may not be easy to come by. Laboratories must find a balance between valuable floor space they are willing to commit for a unit and the throughput capacity required to keep up with research demands. Often, laboratories need the capacity of large bulk (walk-in) autoclave but simply cannot house such a large unit in their space.
To help labs practically solve their space dilemma, Consolidated Sterilizer Systems created the MiniBulk autoclave. Here are 4 reasons to choose the most innovative large bulk sterilizer on the market, the MiniBulk(TM):
1. Process More in Half the Space
Facilities that process large volumes of animal cages, racks, glassware, or bedding typically require increased throughput to meet their sterilization demands. Some of these labs, however, cannot physically accommodate the size of a full bulk autoclave nor can they operate cost-effectively with a medium sized autoclave.
The MiniBulk offers small and mid-size labs a hybrid solution: the ability to process higher volumes of contaminated material (up to 72 ft3 or 2038 L) in a footprint less than half the size of a full bulk autoclave.
For example, a lab expanding its research capabilities to mice and rats, or increasing research in this field, will benefit from the MiniBulk’s ability to process up to 240 stacked (nested) mouse cages in one cycle. A good-sized medium sterilizer (24”x36”x72”) can process 90 cages but takes three cycles to accomplish what the MiniBulk can accomplish in just one (see chart below). The MiniBulk’s loading cart and transfer carriage help lab personnel to more safely, evenly, and comfortably load and unload heavier materials.
2. Reduce Cost and Maintain Efficiency
Without conceding space or throughput, labs must purchase multiple smaller autoclaves to do the work of one large bulk autoclave. Each of these smaller units requires its own upkeep and preventative maintenance costs, not to mention additional personnel to operate the equipment. This equates to a substantially higher total life-time cost for the autoclave.
The MiniBulk’s capacity for increased throughput eliminates the need for auxiliary autoclaves and therefore any additional maintenance spending.
3. Easier Delivery and Installation
Even when a lab has a generous amount of physical space to accommodate a large bulk sterilizer, the logistics of delivering and installing such a massive unit proves challenging. Many facilities are riddled with structural obstacles like odd loading dock dimensions, narrow hallways, staircases, doorways, and floor-weight restrictions. Labs have taken some extreme measures to get their autoclaves installed, including knocking down existing walls and employing cranes to hoist equipment to higher-level floors.
With a conservative footprint and no pit mounting required, the MiniBulk’s modular* configuration allows for a simpler delivery and installation. This translates to less interruptions and damage to the facility and a return to business-as-usual sooner.
As well, should a lab relocate to new space, the MiniBulk’s mobility* can help avoid similar removal problems in the future.
To learn more about installing your next autoclave, check out these 8 questions to ask before a steam sterilizer installation.
4. Versatile Application & Customizable Configuration
Bulk and walk-in autoclaves serve a variety of purposes, including vivarium cage and biohazard waste sterilization. Each load type requires different settings (time, temperature, etc.) to achieve sterilization. We outfit each MiniBulk with an ADV-PRO Allen Bradley PLC control system capable of running 22 different cycles so labs can address all of their sterilization needs.
Like all other Consolidated autoclaves, each unit is built to order. This allows for complete customization to your specific space (door hinge, controller column, and plumbing module can all be configured to the left or right of the sterilizer chamber). Other selectable options include pass-thru doors, Bioseal® flange, and remote monitoring system.
BSL-3 biocontainment labs appreciate the MiniBulk’s pass-thru configuration, designed for movement of materials between a “contained” biocontainment area and a “non-contained” receiving area. For these labs, where safety is of utmost importance, a Bioseal® can be installed to maintain the seal integrity between the contained (BSL-3) room and the non-contained room. These same labs may benefit from SteriNet® Connex remote monitoring system that allows CSS engineers to quickly diagnose and troubleshoot the sterilizer from the factory.
While a traditional large bulk autoclave might appeal due to capacity, some labs may find more value in the MiniBulk’s ability to process in volume with fewer space restrictions. And with chamber lifetimes often lasting more than 20 years, your next autoclave is a long-term investment, so it’s important to have the best fit possible—literally.
*The MiniBulk is shipped in three separate sections (control column, plumbing manifold, and chamber) to assist with moving/rigging the equipment into place. It is then assembled on-site by factory-trained technicians.
17 Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Next Autoclave
We created this 17-question eBook as a framework to help you explore and discover the exact type of autoclave best suited to your needs.