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Save Money and Reduce the Risk Of Contamination From Ferrous Hand Tools Used On Sterile Processing Equipment

It adds up to big numbers: the cost of each discarded, unusable carbon steel tool multiplied by the frequency of replacements, factored with the number of production facilities in your company worldwide. Replacing with stainless steel tools can save your company millions of dollars in a short period of time
Millions of dollars a year can be saved by implementing a simple standard into the maintenance procedures of sterile or critical production areas: replacing carbon steel hand tools with stainless steel tools. For many years, the only options available in hand tools used in sterile equipment maintenance were the very same hand tools you'd find in an average hardware store: chrome plated, carbon steel or chrome vanadium tools. These tools were never designed with cleanliness in mind, and never intended for sterilization at all, much less repeated sterilization daily. Designed for general industrial use, they are unsuitable in every way for sterile applications. Using these tools under conditions so in contrast to their design causes rapid deterioration of the various platings and coatings applied to them. When the plating deteriorates, the risk of process contamination from chrome and iron particulate is drastically increased. Production engineers, maintenance mechanics and quality control personnel understand these risks well, and have had to compensate for inappropriate tools by replacing them frequently. As soon as the slightest sign of deterioration showed itself on a tool, the tool would need to be discarded and replaced with a new one. This is a huge waste of money when you factor in the variables:

(cost per tool) x (frequency of replacement) x (number of production facilities worldwide).

This frequent replacement of tools has certainly led more than few forward-thinking equipment operators and maintainers to wonder as they discarded yet another $15 adjustable wrench, at what other point in the manufacturing of FDA regulated products would you use the same equipment that your auto mechanic would use to fix your car?

The cost savings is easily realized by a few simple substitutions in the equation above, using the $15 adjustable wrench as an example. Let's assume that an average chrome plated wrench is put through an autoclave cycle once per day, five days per week, and that it withstands twenty such cycles before showing deterioration. Even with this generous assumption of quality, it is easy to see that the useful life of the wrench will be approximately one month, and by the end of one year the total replacement cost of that one wrench will have been approximately $180.00. In contrast, with a stainless steel wrench designed for autoclaving which costs approximately $125.00, you will will realize your return on investment in the first nine months. The wrench will not have to be discarded, further maximizing your return for years to come. When you consider these simple numbers with an eye on the larger picture, the cost savings expand exponentially. Factoring in the average quantity of tools used over time and the number of manufacturing facilities in a typical organization, the numbers quickly swell to impressive proportions.

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