Astell Scientific has been selected as Eclipse Scientific Groups chosen partner for the supply of sterilising equipment, and has just supplied twelve new units to the Group. Eclipse is one of Europe's leading independent laboratory groups, with an international reputation for high quality analysis, support and advice.
In addition to their Head Office Laboratory at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, Eclipse operates seven other UK laboratories and three in the Republic of Ireland, all of which are either UKAS, INAB (ISO:17025) or CLAS accredited for an extensive range of tests. Relevant sites also have regular inspections by the Medicines, Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Ensuring quality across Eclipse involves standardisation, not just of scientific protocols but also of equipment. In order to ensure that each laboratory uses the same equipment, Eclipse has set up a number of strategic partnerships to provide a standardised supplier base.
Managing the supplier base is the job of Eclipses Simon Dedman. "In microbiological testing reliable, consistent sterilisation is absolutely essential. That makes the autoclave, which provides sterilisation of glassware, culture media and discarded bio-hazardous material, one of the most important pieces of equipment in the lab." he says, "Weve worked with Astell for fifteen years and weve been more than happy with the quality of their products and service back-up, so it was a logical move to take them on board as a partner." The product that Astell has now supplied to most of Eclipses laboratories is the 150 litre Swiftlock front loading autoclave, fitted with AutoFill and Advanced Water Cooling options.
AutoFill is a fully automatic system incorporating an internal reservoir tank which is connected to a mains cold water supply. The water inlet is controlled by level switching and includes an air gap to comply with water regulations.
Advanced Water Cooling uses forced water, circulated through cooling coils in contact with the outside of the chamber wall. This means a substantial reduction in overall cycle time, and is ideal for busy laboratories like Eclipses.
On the safety front, the pressure vessel is manufactured from 316L stainless steel and the whole pressure system is CE marked in accordance with PD5500/PED/97/23EC. The doors are fitted as standard with HSE PM73 compliant interlocks to prevent the autoclave being opened if the temperature and pressure are above preset values. Further, the door is thermally insulated to prevent the surface temperature presenting a hazard to operators and the sterilising cycle cannot start until the door is closed and locked.
Control is by the unique SECURE+ micro-computer, a user friendly, fully automatic controller that ensures repeatable, safe and accurate sterilisation time after time. A large LCD display gives an easy to read stage by stage report on cycle time, temperature and pressure. Sterilisation programmes are factory set before delivery, but can be easily changed by the operator using the PIN protected membrane touch pad which has simple question and answer functionality. Among the user selectable options are delayed start, sterilisation time, sterilisation temperature, Holdwarm and cooling lock release temperature.
An RS232 port provides an output to a PC or printer for recording cycle information, but an optional integral Data Printer is also available. Built into the facia, this printer provides a permanent and traceable record of time, temperature, pressure, batch number, sterilisation cycle name and operator signature. The printer also provides reports of cycle settings, faults and servicing information.
All autoclaves supplied to Eclipse have been fully validated on site by Astells qualified engineers in compliance with UKAS requirements.