Automatic sterilisation process
Microcontroller brings greater accuracy and savings
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    331 Medical and Hospital Equipment
Automatic sterilisation process.

Microcontroller brings greater accuracy and savings. A.J.Costa (Irmãos), Lda., a manufacturer of medical and hospital stainless steel utensils, also specialised in medical sterilisation process, has developed a microcontroller board for an autoclave over an 11 months project with a total budget of 51.700 EUR.

The main company markets are Hospitals, Clinics, and Laboratories for sterilisation equipment and stainless steel utensils; and food, plastic, paper, chemical and pharmaceutical industries for stainless steel utensils. A.J.COSTA is market leader in Portugal in its area of business. 40% of revenue comes from trading of imported products.

The product to be improved was a vertical autoclave series "UNICLAVE" designed for sterilisation of surgical instruments, liquids, rubber, laboratory materials and others.

The old technology was based on electromechanical controllers for generic industrial applications in measurement and control of physical parameters, achieving a semi-automatic process cycle.

The new adopted technology based on a microcontroller using SMD's and discrete components was designed by A.J.Costa (IRMÃOS), LDA., to handle all functional requirements including input/output lines and communication channels, providing the development of an automatic process cycle with an accuracy from 1.5ºC to 0.5ºC in parameter control and allow process registration.

The most significant benefits are the added value carried to the product, represented by:
· additional hand work not required, due to automatic operation
· protection of investment by using of the most updated technology
· process cost saving

This translates in a better product at a lower cost, which in turn means new market opportunities.
The return on investment period was estimated in 2 years with a ROI of 648%.
The application experiment is of interest for applications that require control of physical parameters during automatic process cycle, i.e. equipment manufacturers.
2735 CACÉM

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided A J COSTA (IRMÃOS), LDA. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
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