Autoclave Acquisition Dilemma: New or Refurbished?
Regardless of the industry, industrial machines will be the main expense for any company. While opting for a refurbished autoclave may reduce costs, there are numerous points to consider, especially since it is a pressurized vessel.
What to consider when buying a refurbished autoclave?
Check the quality standard plate on the autoclave:
Make sure to inspect the plate on the autoclave indicating the quality standards of the manufacturing company (CE, ASME, EAC, UCCA…).
Compliance with country regulations:
The device must be produced in accordance with the quality standards of the country where it will be used. Otherwise, you may encounter issues with authorities. For example, European countries should avoid ASME certified autoclaves.
Compare working pressure:
Always compare the working pressure of the autoclave with the value on the manufacturer's plate. You do not want to acquire an autoclave that cannot meet the pressure you need.
Check for rust and contamination:
If a renewed autoclave has been in use for many years, there may be rust and contaminants on its inner surface. Ensure that the steel surface is cleaned and polished. Do not purchase an autoclave if there are any dents due to rust.
Hydrostatic test on cleaned and polished autoclaves:
Autoclaves with cleaned and polished steel surfaces must undergo a hydrostatic test. This test involves filling the autoclave with water to check if it maintains the desired pressure. This test is crucial to demonstrate the integrity of the autoclave.
Ultrasonic thickness test for body and door:
Verify the corrosion tolerance of the autoclave's body and door by conducting an ultrasonic thickness test. Compare the thickness values in the initial documents with those given at the time of purchase. If the thickness exceeds the tolerable level, never operate the autoclave at maximum working pressure.
Ensure replacement of valves, gaskets and piping:
Confirm that the valves, gaskets and piping system used in the autoclave have been replaced. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures may cause these parts to deform and lead to problems.
Verify alignment of loading rails:
Check whether the rails inside the autoclave match the loading rails of the lifting vehicles used in your company. Mismatch may result in additional costs.
Ensure material weight does not exceed capacity:
Make sure that the weight of the material you intend to load in one cycle does not exceed the maximum weight the autoclave can bear.
Calibration of relevant components and alignment of materials:
Calibration of relevant components and alignment of materials, such as the door, should be checked.
Automation is crucial:
The automation of the autoclave is a critical aspect of the inspection. Ensure that the automation of the refurbished autoclaves operates smoothly. An outdated or complicated control system can cause difficulties.
Advantages that may be considered:
- Existing part and labor warranty for the autoclave is a significant advantage.
- Check if the manufacturer provides services in your country with expert technicians.
- Updating the control system, by consulting with the manufacturer, will enhance the ease of use of the autoclave.
While you might think of saving by purchasing a used or renewed autoclave, challenges may arise due to regulations and rules related to pressure vessels in various countries. In this case, acquiring a new autoclave, designed according to your needs and subjected to all necessary tests, would be more sensible.