Flight Dental Systems FAQ on Autoclaves – Sterilizers

Flight offers a complete line of Class N (Steam Sterilizers) and Class B Steam Sterilizers with pre/post vacuum. The complete line of products allows the user to select the right autoclave for their application.

Here are some FAQ’s:

  1. What is a Steam Sterilizer?  An steam sterilizer (autoclave) is a device that uses steam to sterilize equipment and other objects. This means that all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores are destroyed. Autoclaves work by allowing steam to enter and maintaining extremely high pressure for at least 15 minutes. Because damp heat is used, heat-labile products (such as some plastics) cannot be sterilized or they will melt.
  2. What is the difference between disinfection and Sterilization? Disinfection destroys all the micro-organisms present in a given environment apart from spores: an object that has been disinfected properly may still transmit a pathogenic micro-organism. Sterilization, on the other hand, is the complete elimination of all micro-organisms including spores.
  3. What are the main features of Steam Sterilization? Heat is the best and most used sterilization agent and pressurized, saturated water vapor is the most efficient method of heat transmission. That is why steam sterilization reduces the time and the temperature needed for the sterilization treatment: at 134℃ an exposure of only 4 minutes is sufficient, at 121℃ a time of 15 minutes is enough. In addition, steam sterilization creates no toxic or dangerous residues on objects and does not damage instruments (provided that they can withstand the temperatures reached).
  4. When should instruments but put in Sterilization packs/pouches? Packing items is done to provide an effective barrier against potential contamination and maintain sterility. Unpacked items should be used immediately, or cleaned and sterilized again before use. Packed items can be stored in a clean, dry place and will remain sterile until they are used.
  5. How should I place Packs/Pouches in the Autoclave? When using standard self – sealing pouches (Class 4 Recommended), they can be placed paper side up on the tray (when there are only a few – no overlapping) or up on their side with paper to paper, plastic to plastic.
  6. What is Vacuum Test or Air Leakage Test? This is used to test the efficacy of the air removal system and that the hydraulic system is perfectly air-tight. The test is defined according to EN 13060, which lies down that there must be a cycle that carries out this test automatically on all autoclaves that have a vacuum phase for removing air. For this test at least the vacuum phase is carried out as in the highest performing cycle offered by the machine, then the chamber is kept in isolation for a certain length of time and the increase in pressure due to any re-entry of air is checked to make sure it is lower than a pre-defined value.
  7. What is a Helix Test? Its purpose is to check the degree of steam penetration in the case of hollow objects and the efficacy of the air removal system. The test uses a Teflon tube open at one end only (length 1.5 m, internal diameter 2 mm), ending with a Teflon capsule, containing a chemical process indicator. EN 13060 requires for purposes of approval the employment of this apparatus to test cycles for sterilizing hollow load A (for example B cycles). The test is positive if the chemical indicator changes colour in line with the information given by the producer.