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Testing the autoclave

Vacuum test

By regularly performing the vacuum test leaks in the autoclave's steam system can be detected and repaired. In this blog post, we will go into more detail about why the vacuum test is so important and how it is performed.

When should the vacuum test be performed?

The vacuum test is a simple but crucial self-diagnostic test that ensures that air does not enter through the chamber seals and valves of the autoclave during the sterilization cycle. It is recommended that the vacuum test be performed in a variety of situations to ensure the integrity of the autoclave. These include:

  • During routine operation: perform the vacuum test once a week to detect possible leaks at an early stage.

  • During initial start-up: to ensure that the autoclave is functioning properly, the vacuum test should be performed before the first use.

  • After longer breaks in operation: if the autoclave has not been used for a longer period of time, it is advisable to perform the vacuum test to ensure that the system continues to work properly.

  • In the event of a corresponding malfunction: if there are problems in the vacuum system or leaks are suspected, the vacuum test is an important measure for identifying the cause and taking appropriate steps.

How is the vacuum test performed?

The vacuum test can be performed with a cold and dry autoclave without loading. Observe the following steps.

  1. Switch on the autoclave at the power switch.

  2. Select the vacuum test in the "Programs & Tests" menu and start the test.

  3. After the vacuum test has been completed, the result is shown on the display together with the leakage rate. If the leakage rate is above 1.3 mbar, a corresponding message is output.

  4. Document the result of the vacuum test on the data carrier of the autoclave for your records.

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Program cycle of the vacuum test

The vacuum test comprises several phases which are defined in the program sequence of the autoclave:

  1. Evacuation phase: the sterilization chamber is evacuated until the required vacuum pressure is reached.

  2. Equalization time: This is followed by an equalization time of 5 minutes to ensure that the pressure in the chamber is stable.

  3. Measuring time: The measuring time is 10 minutes. During this time, the pressure increase in the sterilization chamber is measured and shown on the display.

  4. Aeration phase: after the measuring time has elapsed, the sterilization chamber is aerated to equalize the pressure and complete the cycle.

At the end of the vacuum test, the autoclave display shows the test result, the batch number, the number of total batches and the determined leak rate. It is important to document this information and save it for your records. Regular monitoring of the leak rate will enable you to identify any problems at an early stage and take appropriate action. The vacuum test thus provides you with the certainty that your autoclave is working reliably and that your instruments are being optimally sterilized. Integrate the vacuum test into your weekly routine and benefit from safe and efficient reprocessing in your medical and dental practice.


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