The Ultimate Industrial Autoclave Guide

What is an industrial autoclave?

An industrial autoclave is a hollow, cylindrical vessel with a door at one end. It uses high temperature, high pressure, vacuum and heat to process a wide variety of materials, including wood and rubber.

There’s a lot to understand about how an industrial autoclave functions. 

But it’s important if you want to make the best decisions for your business.

You want an autoclave that will perform whatever task you need effectively, efficiently and without delays or unnecessary downtime.

Here’s what you need to know about what an industrial autoclave is, how it works and what products can be processed with one.

Let’s dive in.

What is an industrial autoclave?

An industrial autoclave is a hollow, cylindrical vessel with a quick-opening door at one end. 

It uses high temperatures, levels of pressure – and often vacuum – to cure and process a wide range of materials.

The tube-like shape is optimal for reaching the high pressures often required.

How does an industrial autoclave work?

The exact process is dependent on the material being processed, but in general, items are placed inside the industrial autoclave, subjecting them to high amounts of pressure, vacuum and/or temperature.

This results in the item being “processed.”

To go a little deeper, sometimes additional additives are introduced into the autoclave during the process, such as water, chemicals or steam.

A vacuum is created inside an autoclave using either a pump or an eductor. It is usually used to remove the existing air inside the autoclave before an additional additive is introduced into the autoclave. 

Sometimes vacuum is also used as the final step in the process to clean or dry the material before it is removed from the autoclave.

Pressure is created inside an autoclave using either a pump or steam. A pump is usually used to “press” an additive into the material being processed. Steam is used to raise the pressure inside the autoclave and increase the temperature inside the autoclave. 

This option is normally used when the material processed is either being cured or dried inside the autoclave. 

These conditions are maintained inside the industrial autoclave for a set time period to get the desired results.  Once the process is complete, the autoclave door is opened, and the newly processed materials are removed.

How do industrial autoclaves function as part of a larger system?

What are the components of an industrial autoclave system?

The components of an industrial autoclave system are:

  • Piping.
  • Pumps.
  • Valves.
  • Boilers.
  • Material handling system.
  • Automation equipment.

Now that you understand what an industrial autoclave is and how it functions, let’s look at how it works as part of a larger system.

An autoclave can’t work on its own and the other components involved are what make up the “system.”

This includes elements like piping, pumps, valves, boilers (if steam is being used), material handling systems (how items are placed in and removed from the vessel) and automation equipment.

What products are processed in an industrial autoclave?

What are industrial autoclaves used for?

Industrial autoclaves are used for:

  • Sterilizing medical and dental equipment.
  • Treating lumber.
  • Vulcanizing rubber.
  • Creating aerated concrete.
  • Producing fiber cement.

An industrial autoclave can be used to process many different types of industrial products such as:

  • Pressure treated lumber. There are a variety of products made from pressure-treated wood. From the boards that make up your back deck to the railroad ties that cross the country.
  • Vulcanizing rubber. Untreated rubber is useless. After it’s treated, it’s used for many purposes, like tires, hoses, shoe soles, toys, bowling balls, hockey pucks, and numerous other items.
  • Creating aerated concrete. Aerated concrete is a common building material for walls, floors, and roofs. It is processed inside of an autoclave to create the air pockets within the concrete item. This is what makes the concrete block so light in weight and a great sound insulator.
  • Producing fiber cement. Fiber cement is a composite material used on the exterior of commercial and residential buildings.

Industrial autoclaves aren’t created equally

Industrial autoclaves are used in a wide variety of industries to perform many different purposes.

Whether it’s being used to treat wood, vulcanize rubber, or create fiber cement and aerated concrete, one thing is certain: The quality of your industrial autoclave matters.

Resolve to purchase from a company that pays attention and gets to the root of your industry’s unique needs. A company that will not only supply you with the industrial autoclave but all the additional equipment that makes your autoclave a functioning system. 

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