Sterilization autoclaves use steam sterilization to expose each item being sterilized to direct steam contact at the required temperature and pressure for the specified time. Since autoclaves work in cycles, they need to be validated to ensure that the sterilization has been effective, so the temperature and pressure should be monitored and logged.
Because sterilization requires high temperatures and high pressure, it can be a challenging environment for electronics. Most regular data loggers cannot withstand more than about 80°C for short periods of time. However, to eliminate any microbicidal activity and ensure sterilization, steam sterilization temperatures should be within a 121°C (250°F) and 132°C (270°F) range.
There are two options for logging temperature and pressure data at these temperatures.
- The first option is to build the data logger into the autoclave. This option is the most inexpensive solution because everything is integrated. However, it can be hard to tell if the data logger is malfunctioning and improperly sterilized loads could occur.
- The second option is to use an independent data logger. The benefit is that it’s simple to use and because it is independent of the autoclave system, it’s much easier to determine if it’s operating correctly or not. The downside is that this is a more expensive solution.
Poll Question: What is your preferred choice for a data logger for a sterilization autoclave: built-in internal or independent.