- Created on Thursday, 03 April 2008 03:25
- Written by Staff
RFID Tags Save Major Norwegian Hospital Time, Money and Storage Space
St. Olavs University Hospital, of Trondheim, Norway, has more than 7,500 employees, 1,200 beds and treats approximately 50,000 patients each year. This translates into more than 130,000 garments, including operating gowns, robes and pants, which need to be collected, laundered and stored.
St. Olavs needed a real-time method to keep track of its inventory and re-order garments when necessary so staff always had the right uniforms on hand.
Hospital garments are traditionally supplied on bulky, difficult-to-handle hangers that require expensive storage space. In addition, with its previous system, stock could run low, or run out altogether, causing unnecessary work disruptions while St. Olavs staff tried to find the correct garment in the right size.
Working with Texi AS, also of Trondheim, St. Olavs installed a complete garment logistics management system that uses both “intelligent” RFID closets and tags. The rugged overmolded RFID tags from Texas Instruments, supplied by distributor Electrona-Sievert AB of Stockholm, Sweden, are sewn into each garment and are designed to withstand the harsh laundry process. The high-frequency tags are pre-programmed with a unique identification number which is linked to a database holding information on the garment’s type and size. Clean garments from the laundry are placed in rows of specially designed closets equipped with built-in RFID antennas. The intelligent closets automatically “read” the tags, register the closet’s contents (i.e. 35 robes size M, 59 slacks size M, etc.), and detect when garments are added or removed. Inventory is continuously updated on the main hospital database in real-time. If inventory falls below pre-set levels, orders are automatically sent over the network to ensure items are always available in the correct types and sizes.
To collect garments, staff members access the closets using their ID cards and remove the required items which are immediately and automatically registered to that employee and corresponding department. Each cabinet is clearly labeled with the types of garments it contains so staff can quickly find the required items. After use, staff members simply return their garments to any number of storage bins in the hospital where the RFID tags are automatically read, and the garments correctly credited to the appropriate department.
Using a PC connected to the hospital’s server in conjunction with Texi’s management software, the operations staff has visibility at all times to garment inventory in the more than 100 closets and 10 storage rooms around the hospital. The system’s reporting capabilities provide usage trends so St. Olavs can more effectively plan and allocate future garment and logistics tracking investments.
St. Olavs expects more than $6 million in space savings alone. They also project ongoing operational savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars due to more efficient data collection, improved logistics management, automated ordering and a reduction in staff time to find the correct garment. The hospital staff has found that garments in the right sizes are available when they need them and the time-consuming paper forms they had to complete before getting their uniforms are a thing of the past.
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.
“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”
“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”
Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.
“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”