DEVICE FOR TRACKING NUMBER OF TEMPERATURE CYCLES UNDERGONE BY A PART
Publication Date: 2019-Jan-18
The IP.com Prior Art Database
The invention proposes devices and methods for detecting and tracking the number of sterilization cycles that a component of a system undergoes during reprocessing. A sterilization cycle count tracking device includes a bimetallic coil made of two metals of different thermal coefficients of expansion connected to an extended limb to move a wheel integrated with a mechanical counter. The method of tracking the number of sterilization counts involves incrementing the mechanical counter using the pointer connected to the bimetallic coil when the device is subjected to cycling in a specified temperature range. The resultant count indicates to the end user the number of cycles completed. The method provides a means of notifying the user about the potential degradation of a sterilized part and for planning early replacements. The device and method can be used across industries as the device can be mounted onto any part undergoing thermal cycling.
The invention pertains to temperature sensors and in particular sensors for sensing and tracking sterilization cycles undergone by a part. Tracking sterilization cycles of parts becomes important for medical devices, and the same can be extended to any other application that requires sterilized parts to eliminate contamination, like in the chemical industry or protein extraction industry. Parts of any system that need to undergo sterilization are subjected to high temperatures typically 18 minutes at 121°C or 4 minutes at 132°C or 3 minutes at 134°C, based on the steam sterilization equipment.
Bimetallic coils are used in applications like thermostat to disconnect further heating after a set temperature has been reached by connecting to electronics via a switch. The electronics related to the detection and monitoring in such systems are placed outside the heated areas as the temperatures can potentially cause irreversible damage to the electronic components. So generally it is preferred to not subject the electronics to high temperatures. Parts that are subjected to such sterilization cycles have a limited life and there is no simple mechanism that can track the number of such sterilization cycles that a part has actually undergone.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention discloses a device for detecting and tracking the number of sterilization cycles undergone by a part, in which:
FIG. 1A shows the side view of tracking device.
FIG. 1B shows the front view of tracking device.
FIG. 1C depicts the mechanism to reset the tracking device.
The invention proposes devices and methods for detecting and tracking the number of sterilization cycles that a component undergoes during processing. A sterilization cycle count tracking device is disclosed that includes a bimetallic coil made of two metals of different thermal coefficients of expansion (e.g. steel and brass), formed in the shape of a coil and connected to an extended limb to move a wheel, as shown in the FIG.1A. The device further has a mechanical counter that is incremented every time the bimetallic coil is subjected to a specified temperature range depending on the type of sterilization equipment implemented.
The method of tracking the number of sterilization counts includes incrementing the mechanical counter using the arm connected to the bimetallic coil when the coil is subjected to a predetermined temperature range. Rotation of the wheel changes a display of the number of cycles of sterilization, which indicates to the end user the number of cycles completed. An additional indication by means of colour may also notify the users if the number of cycles is reaching the manufacturer determined limit. The angular rotation of the coil may place constraints on the size and in such cases a design specific to a particular temperature may also be implemented. The centre or “eye” of the bi...