Posted on February 10, 2016
Nowadays nursing homes, hospitals, clean rooms and healthcare environments are faced with an ever-increasing risk of exposure to microbiological contamination. The threat of HAIs (hospital-acquired infections) or "nosocomial infection" - in medical terminology - can also have a direct effect on laundry processing.
While being treated in hospital, patients have more contact with linens such as sheets, blankets and gowns than anything else. HAIs are a very serious threat, so the separation of soiled, possibly contaminated, linen from clean linen is essential to avoid cross contamination.
How does re-contamination of linens take place? When sheets are removed from the patient's bed, they are put into a contaminated-linens container. The sheets are then bagged and taken to the hospital laundry where an operative – who should be wearing protective gloves to avoid personal contamination - puts them into the washer. The machine door is closed, the wash cycle selected and the start button activated.
While the operative is protected from germs by wearing gloves nothing, however, protects the machine. During loading, the contaminated linens will have been in contact with the washer pocket rim, the machine's handle and operating switchgear. Other surfaces the operative may have touched will also have been exposed to germs.
Many installations spray these areas with disinfectant to try and sanitize the surfaces and it is critical that this disinfecting process is performed correctly.
The following questions should be asked:
► Was the proper amount of disinfectant used?
► Was the disinfectant strong enough?
► Were all contaminated surfaces treated?
When the wash cycle is finished, the operative moves the clean goods to the dryer. Contact is made, again, with the machine's handle before dragging the clean linens back over the washer pocket rim to put them into the laundry cart.
The correct washing chemicals, water temperature and mechanical action are vital in ensuring linens are laundered properly, but cross-contamination in nursing home, hospital, clean room and healthcare laundries can be avoided by using a barrier type washer-extractor. These machines are designed to keep soiled and clean goods physically separated during the wash process.
EDRO's DynaWash® Barrier Type PassThru for Clean Rooms washer-extractor - available in 100 (45 kg), 150 (68 kg), 200 (91 kg), 300 (136 kg) and 400 (182 kg) pound rigid mount (DW_PT) and soft mount (DW_PTSM) models - is a specialized machine used to prevent cross contamination.
The washer is loaded from a soiled side and unloaded from the clean room side physically separated by a barrier wall (see diagram above). The machine is attached to the barrier wall by the "Clean Seal" sealing system. This exclusive system provides a physical barrier and positive air flow between the clean and soiled operating sides.
Built flush against the sides of the Clean Seal, the design provides total separation of loading and unloading operations with better and easier installation. An uninterrupted flow of positive make-up air from the clean room side to the soiled room side is continually flowed through the machine while in operation - thus preventing airborne cross-contamination of the load.
An interlocking door system prevents both doors from being opened at the same time so when an operative loads dirty laundry on the soiled side, the door cannot be opened on the clean side allowing germs to contaminate the clean room.
A smart control system prevents simultaneous soiled room and clean room operation of the machine. The washer's control is located on the washroom (loading) side. Forward and reverse jog controls, as well as signal and emergency stop switches are located on the unloading side.
A further aid to the sanitization of linens is the use of an ozone system. EDRO's DynOzone - DynaWash® Ozone System is a standard feature on all PassThru machines. It combines a built-in, onboard ozone generator with a high-speed machine to produce a safe, disinfected and sanitized air stream which is injected into the wash wheel for markedly improved washroom efficiency.
PassThru for Clean Rooms washer-extractors have all the outstanding features that make EDRO washer-extractors extraordinary machines in design, construction and performance.
The machines are equipped with a state-of-the art DynaTrol HMi Touch Screen Control. Coupled with the programmability of the HMi/PLC, these washer-extractors are able to deliver exacting cylinder RPMs for the best wash results from wash speeds through high extract.
Multiple parameter settings allow high torque wash speeds with steep slope starts and stops and elongated slopes for even load distribution and acceleration to high extract.
High slip braking allows braking torque in excess of 100% of full load motor torque by controlling the deceleration from high speed to make the motor operate as a very efficient induction generator. The advantage of this method is no additional parts are required to stop the machine.
The machines also feature an inverter with single motor variable speed drive with high slip & positioning brake system. Inverter with single motor drive technology is a tremendous advance in machine speed control. The design has significantly fewer parts than conventional multiple-motor set-ups with single-speed motors, clutches and gearboxes, while delivering more speed selections and greater energy efficiency.
The patented "3-D" basket design assures an ideal wash action for outstanding laundering results. Stainless steel is used for the basket, shaft and shell wrap to guarantee long component life.
Typical installations for Barrier Type PassThru for Clean Rooms washer-extractors include hospitals, nursing homes, and clean room laundries. With the increasing demand of computer components, EDRO has also installed machines in clean room laundries of microprocessor and semi-conductor production plants.