Application notes

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Pressure Transducers Critical to Quality of Hospital Equipment Sterilization

Pressure Transducers Critical to Quality of Hospital Equipment Sterilization

All medical waste must be sterilized before it can enter municipal sewage and trash systems. As seen in Figure 1, steam sterilizers, or autoclaves, are widely used for sterilization of medical instruments and for predisposal treatment of medical waste. Pressure transducers are critical to this process.

How steam sterilizers work

Steam sterilizers use high quality saturated steam at a high pressure to sterilize medical instruments such as scalpel blades and hypodermic needles. Different sterilization cycles are used, each tailored to the objects being sterilized.

During a typical sterilization cycle:

  • Air is removed from the sterilization chamber
  • Steam at high pressure and high temperature is injected into the chamber
  • Sterilization occurs between 250°F and 275°F for 3-30 minutes based on sterilized objects
  • Equipment is dried at high temperature for approximately 20 minutes

The role of pressure transducers

Hospital steam sterilizers in medical applications require that pressure transducers be compatible with high pressure steam and biological contaminants. Pressure transducers monitor the pressure inside the sterilization chamber for regulation of steam quality.

Pressure transducers used for hospital steam sterilizers must also:

  • Measure and control superheated steam
  • Monitor steam source pressure
  • Monitor and control sterilization chamber pressure

Note that some applications may require the use of 3A sanitary certified components.

These WIKA electronic pressure transducers have been designed for fatigue resistance, durability, performance, and temperature compensation in medical apparatus applications like hospital steam sterilizers: