Weighing The Issue of Weight

09 Jul

It’s Time to Reduce the Weight and Assess the Need

It’s July when new doctors come into service bringing fresh ideas, new technology, and requests for more instrumentation. Considering the issue of clutter and weight it might also be the right time to review the sets and reduce unnecessary items. Some sets need to be lightened, inventory needs review, sets broken down, and some devices put out to pasture. Here in the US many folks are obsessed about their weight during summer months, and in healthcare what they are particularly concerned about is the weight of the trays they need to process, transport, and lift.


The main reason for a 25- pound weight limit, established years ago in an AAMI working group, was not for sterilization, rather it was for ergonomics, staff safety.  I recall being in a teaching hospital doing an assessment for the facility’s orthopedic team. I went to take a basic ortho set down from the shelf that was so heavy that once I lifted it, I could not put it back or put it down.  It was so heavy I called for help. Two staff members came to the rescue. We all agreed to review the contents of the set and remove scores of unnecessary instruments accumulated over the years. When new residents begin their term, they may contribute their favorite devices to an already overloaded tray.


It's Science or Fake News

There are several container systems on the market with claims of substantial equivalence to our SteriTite container. Some claim terminal sterilization but have wet loads after processing that are not safe for storage or future use. Others say that their containers are lighter in weight.  Some say theirs are universal, but they are not. Their containers may be anodized for steam, and their other models for low temperature sterilization may not be anodized or have a surface seal at all. These can work for a while but show degradation and discoloration after only a few uses. The surface seal of containers is important for corrosion resistance, but there are other considerations when deciding to purchase sterilization containers and those include sterility maintenance, durability, and total weight. Some containment devices use materials of construction that can affect use life and even how they are used. Some say theirs are light weight or lighter in weight than others, including ours, but in fact can be considerably heavier. What matters is the system weight of the sterilization container and the inner tray, as well as the contents.

It's Science

At times, competitors circle back by saying that our containers are heavy, when theirs may weigh more. In fact, our SteriTite container with only a slightly thicker shell is not only more durable but has a lower profile with more internal space and less metal mass than the other brand. This means by design ours are lighter in weight. The competitor’s containers require an extra 1 inch or more of head space to sterilize the same contents. Taking into consideration, the extra height (metal mass) plus a stainless-steel basket, now the set (container and tray) is substantially heavier than ours with an anodized aluminum basket or tray. Stainless steel is by weight 65% heavier than aluminum.  Aluminum is not only lighter, but also about 15 times more thermo-conductive and considered the “green” metal as 75% of all aluminum we use today has been recycled for future generations.



At Case Medical, we are proud to offer universally compatible sustainable containers that are equivalent or lighter in weight than the competitor’s. Further they are ideal for standardization, anodized and passivated for corrosion resistance. Importantly, the same container can be used in all current sterilization modalities and with all devices that can be sterilized. The SteriTite container can be stacked externally and internally, too. Further, the trays or baskets can be stacked in layers within the container taking the 25 lb. weight limit into consideration. So, if you are looking for a lighter weight sterilization container and the added value we bring with assessment and installation services, digital visualization, customization, and weight reduction give us a call.

Visit us anytime at www.casemed.com to learn more about our products and services. We are here to help. Case Medical is a U.S. EPA SAFER CHOICE Partner or the Year for Manufacturer Formulator and recognized in NJ as Innovative Manufacturer of the Year.

Kindest Regards,

Marcia Frieze and the Case Medical team

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