Steam Sterilizers and Autoclaves
Steam sterilizers, a subcategory of autoclaves, are utilized in three major applications: hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and research institutions. They are used to disinfect (1) surgical instruments in hospitals and (2) instruments and apparatus used in the research and manufacture of products where sterilization is essential. The purpose of sterilization is to destroy all living microorganisms, which include spores, viruses, and bacteria, including those that cause infection or disease (pathogens). Although other types of sterilizers exist, including dry heat, ethylene oxide, and radiation, steam sterilizers are by a large margin the most widely used form of sterilization. Steam sterilizers present a major opportunity for water efficiency because water is used in these units when they are both in operation and when they are at idle.