Autoclave Maintenance: How to Adjust the Door Hydraulic Pump Settings

How to adjust door hydraulic pump settings

  1. Check the autoclave’s door pump pressure
  2. Adjust the door lock/unlock ring handle pressure
  3. Adjust the door’s hydraulic control valves
  4. Follow recommended pressure settings

Your autoclave door hydraulic pump settings play an important role in helping you meet your revenue goals.

But they need to be adjusted on a regular schedule to keep production running smoothly and prevent costly downtime.

However, it’s crucial that the tasks only be performed by trained maintenance personnel.

Make sure these autoclave maintenance procedures are followed closely to keep your machinery working efficiently. 

Why is autoclave maintenance important?

Autoclave maintenance is crucial for keeping your systems running smoothly, avoiding downtime, improving efficiency and keeping employees and other equipment safe.

1. Adjust the autoclave door pump pressure

This is the safe and proper procedure a trained maintenance technician will follow to adjust your autoclave’s door pump pressure.

  1. Turn the pump on.
  2. The pump is outfitted with a pressure relief valve. To increase the pump’s output pressure, turn the valve’s screw set in a clockwise direction. To decrease the pump’s pressure, turn the screw in a counterclockwise direction.
  3. The maintenance technician will watch the pump’s pressure gauge while adjusting the screw to get the correct pump pressure.

2. Adjust the door lock/unlock ring handle pressure

If the area your technician is focusing on is the door lock/unlock ring handle, these are the steps he’ll follow during this autoclave maintenance procedure.

  1. Turn the pump on.
  2. The handle has an adjustable pressure relief valve. It’s usually found on the top or bottom part of the handle that regulates the locking ring’s motion. The cap nut will need to be removed from the valve.
  3. If the handle has a lock nut, it can be loosened with an open-end wrench.
  4. Using a hex wrench, the hex screw needs to be turned ¼ turn clockwise to increase the relief pressure, or ¼ turn counterclockwise to decrease pressure.
  5. While the door’s head is in the open position, move the locking ring’s handle so the ring moves in the lock direction. The pump’s pressure gauge will denote the adjusted lock handle’s pressure once the locking ring’s rams get to their full motion.
  6. The locking ring should be moved into the unlock position.
  7. Close the door’s head. If the door head is not equipped with an open/close hydraulic ram, the technician will hold the door closed.
  8. Secure the locking ring and look at the locking ring’s wedges. They should be fully interlocked before the handle’s pressure relief valve stops the locking ring’s motion.
  9. If the wedges are NOT fully engaged, repeat steps 4-7 to increase the output pressure coming from the handle.Safety note: If the wedges start moving past the point of full engagement, release the handle immediately to stop the locking ring from moving. Repeat steps 4-7 to decrease the handle’s output pressure.The wedges will wear out over time. This may cause the wedges to move past full engagement to seal the door. If this is the situation, the handle’s output pressure will need to be increased (as described above). The wedge engagement should NEVER be allowed to move more than 25% past full engagement. If the door won’t seal without the wedges being that far past full engagement, they’ll need to be replaced.
  10. Once the adjustment process is done, tighten the screw’s lock nut, if it has one.
  11. Replace the relief valve’s cap nut.

3. Adjust the door’s hydraulic control valves

If your autoclave’s door has a power swing ram, the hydraulic piping that’s connected to the ram will have flow control valves installed.

These valves allow you to manage the rate at which the door’s head will open or close.

This is how the door’s hydraulic control valves are adjusted correctly.

  1. Turn on the hydraulic pump.
  2. Unlock the door’s locking ring.
  3. To set the opening speed:
    1. Locate the flow control valve in the hydraulic line that leads to the swing cylinder’s ram inlet port.
    2. Turn the valve to the half-open position.
    3. Open the door and slowly open the valve until the door swings smoothly.
  4. To set the closing speed:
    1. Locate the flow control valve in the hydraulic line that leads to the swing cylinder’s ram outlet port.
    2. Turn the valve to a half-open position.
    3. Close the door and slowly open the valve until the door swings smoothly.

4. Follow recommended pressure settings 

If the hydraulic system has too much pressure, you could be looking at mechanical failures and hazardous conditions. 

The operator, other employees or equipment can be damaged.

It’s important to understand the recommended pressure settings as a part of your overall autoclave maintenance process.

Door pump

The door pump should have a maximum output of:

  • Refer to the original manufacturer’s manual for the proper pressure setting.
  • Usually, this pressure will be in the range of 1200 to 1500 psi.

Locking ring lock/unlock handle

The psi for locking and unlocking is:

  • To lock:

Refer to the original manufacturer’s manual for the proper pressure setting.

Usually, this pressure can range from 500 to 1500 psi. Incorrectly adjusting this pressure can result in damage to the door.

  • To unlock:

This doesn’t require any adjustment. It is usually whatever the pump’s pressure is set at. However, some systems will have a pressure relief valve for adjusting this pressure. If yours does, refer to your manufacturer’s manual for the proper setting. 

Door open/close handle (If equipped)

No adjustment is needed here. The door will open and close according to the pump’s output pressure.

Autoclave maintenance is the key to efficiency

The steps to adjust your autoclave door’s hydraulic pump pressure settings must be followed to the letter to prevent a dangerous situation for you, other employees, and your equipment.

This type of autoclave maintenance should only be performed by a trained technician who is familiar with the intricacies of each of these steps.

Doing so will ensure you get the most out of your autoclave and it keeps working efficiently to meet your revenue goals.

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