Postgraduate Research_Sterilisation TRay

The Auckland Hospital Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD) processes over 10,000 surgical instruments per day; washing, packing, and sterilising them in preparation for surgical use. During processing, instruments are contained within trays of varying design. While at face value these trays are no more than basic vessels, their design is subject to a multitude of complex technical demands. These demands come into play at different stages of processing, and are at times in direct contradiction of one another.


On a basic functional level, current designs meet requirements to varying degrees. They tend to be suitable for either washing or sterilisation, however no single holistic approach has been achieved. Furthermore, many existing designs incorporate features, like raised feet or exposed, sharp edges. Such features risk damaging the Kimguard sterile wrap that encases the trays during and after autoclaving to ensure sterility. If the Kimguard is damaged, the instruments must be reprocessed, resulting in delayed surgeries. This makes poor tray design a costly issue. There is a valuable opportunity for a tray design that mitigates the risk of damaging Kimguard while balancing the technical requirements of both washing and sterilisation.

The design generated in response to this opportunity takes a nuanced approach, working within tight technical constraints to generate small but meaningful design interventions that combine to create an elegant and holistically considered outcome.