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Our Autoclave Maintenance Service Explained

10 June 2021 / Autoclave

Make heat treatment maintenance so much easier with an autoclave service provider you can depend on. 

Your autoclaves are at the core of your operations, so it’s important that you stay on top of their maintenance. The right autoclave maintenance service partner will go a long way towards helping you to keep your operations running, but who — and how — should you choose?

You can read all about our Autoclave Service over here. In this article, we thought you’d appreciate us digging deeper into what happens during a service, the steps our engineers run through when carrying out their assessments, and why choosing us will benefit you. 

For more information about our Autoclave Servicing and what’s involved, click now to download our product specifications sheet.

What to expect from our autoclave maintenance service

Our engineers follow a series of steps when arriving at your site to carry out a service. Autoclaves are made up of lots of complex systems, all of which need examining. This process ensures each of these systems is checked in turn and nothing is missed. It also makes the report we deliver at the end much easier to follow.

Read on to discover the steps we’ll follow when servicing your autoclaves.

1. Inspect, service and test heating system (gas, electric, other)

Is your method of heating operating as efficiently as it could be? Particularly in the case of electrically heated autoclaves, energy wastage as the result of a faulty heating system could be racking up significant costs, as well as affecting precision and compliance. 

Discover three more ways to reduce your heat treatment costs.

2. Inspect, service and test pressure systems

Are you using the right medium at the optimum pressure? There have been several reports of autoclave fires when air is used, invariably resulting in the loss of the load.

3. Inspect, service and test cooling systems (excl. replenishment of water treatments)

Cooling system control is more involved as there are a number of variables that affect it, but generally, the cooling rate is controlled by varying the flow of cooling water. In some autoclaves, both air and water are used as a cooling medium. Modern autoclaves control all three parameters, that is, rate of flow of cooling medium, temperature of cooling medium, and heat transfer area. We assess each of these when servicing your autoclaves.

4. Inspect, service and test vacuum systems

Bag leaks during cures are not uncommon. When servicing the vacuum system, our engineers make sure to check that the pumps and the vacuum reservoirs have adequate buffer capacity.

5. Vacuum pump service

On the subject of vacuum pumps, we’ll also inspect these, checking for any signs such as vacuum leaks from joints/seals, noise increase or reduction from normal levels, excess vibration, overheating of the pump or motor or visible blockages, because when a pump fails, production follows suit.

Related read: Extending the Life of Your Vacuum Pump Through Maintenance and Protection 

6. Inspect, service and test air circulation fan and motor

An autoclave’s air circulation system is key to its temperature control. By servicing the system to ensure it’s operating properly, we’ll help you to achieve more precise temperature control and produce compliant loads.

7. Inspect, service and test door mechanism, seals and interlocks

These are basic structural components, allowing access to the autoclave for efficient loading/unloading and enabling its core processes. Assessing them is key to maintaining the structural integrity of your autoclaves, with benefits ranging from efficiencies to basic safety and compliance. We may even be able to help you identify opportunities for upgrades.

8. Test thermocouple connections

Our engineers have extensive experience carrying out thermocouple tests to industry and customer standards. Within our autoclave servicing, the purpose of the test is to detect and quantify any deviation in instrument accuracy to determine if it’s within acceptable limits.

Find out more about how to correctly perform a system accuracy test (and stay compliant).

9. Check controls systems

You can read all about the growing importance of control systems in our recent article, ‘8 Systems to Assess When Cleaning and Servicing Your Autoclaves’. We’ll examine all your autoclaves’ control systems, ensuring they are properly connected, their software is up to date and they are running as intended.

If your autoclaves lack a control system, we’ll be able to advise you on their benefits and how our innovative Autoclave Management and Control System could improve your operations.

Control systems aren’t all that’s innovating — find out where else you can invest to stay ahead of the curve.

10. Check safety systems

With extensive experience servicing and repairing autoclaves of all makes and models, you can trust us to assess your machines’ risk levels and keep your operators safe.

11. Check electric systems

Because your operations won’t get far if these drop out. We’ll assess all the circuitry and wiring to confirm their condition and recommend any replacement parts as necessary.

12. Check pneumatics and control valves

Are there signs of physical damage or wear and tear to the pneumatics? Are the control valves loose or leaking?

13. Check all lighting

From visible alarms to dashboards, is all the lighting in good working order?

14. Check nitrogen operation (excl. nitrogen plant)

Nitrogen reduces the risk of fire, but care must be taken to avoid danger to personnel (possibility of asphyxiation) in nitrogen environments due to the lower oxygen levels.

15. General inspection of the machine

We’re quick to spot when something isn’t right. You can count on us to catch anything that falls outside the steps we’ve just run through when conducting a general inspection of the machine.

16. Complete and comprehensive report provided

You’ll be able to read through all our findings in a final report. This will highlight system passes and any fails as well as the recommended action to fix or repair the issue, return to compliance and get your operations up and running as quickly as possible.

Related read: VFE Partners with Akarmak to Meet Your Bespoke Autoclave Needs

Looking for autoclave servicing near you?

With UK-wide coverage and the largest body of skilled engineers in Western Europe, we’re here to help you keep your autoclaves efficient, compliant and fully optimised.

We have a background in autoclave servicing going back to 1990, putting us in good stead to look after your machines. Along the way, our engineers have serviced a wide range of makes and models across several industries, including the following: 

  • Composite autoclaves
  • Glass laminating autoclaves
  • Rubber vulcanisation autoclaves
  • Dewaxing autoclaves
  • AAC (Autoclaved aerated concrete) autoclaves
  • Medical waste autoclaves
  • Sterilisation autoclaves
  • Food, pharma and textile autoclaves
  • Tire retreading autoclaves
  • Wood autoclaves

And because we know how important it is that we’re here for you when you need us, we also offer autoclave service customers access to our Premier Service Support Package, guaranteeing a 24/7 dedicated technical support line, remote fault diagnostics, an on-site response within 24 hours (UK-based sites) or dispatch of engineers within 24 hours (rest of the world), and more.

Already working with us? Make your maintenance easier by choosing us to deliver your autoclave servicing too, and we’ll take care of all your machines in a single site visit. We talk a lot about optimising your machines, but if you consider your maintenance operations for a moment — how’s that for efficiency?

For more information about our Autoclave Servicing and what’s involved, click the image below and download our product specifications sheet.

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