- Created on Wednesday, 03 December 2003 03:08
- Written by Juliana Moss
For nearly a century, the Memorial Hermann Hospital System has been a leading healthcare provider for the greater Houston and southeast Texas communities --as well as one of the largest in the country. Its facilities have grown to include nine acute care hospitals, two long-term acute care hospitals, a retirement and nursing center, three managed acute care facilities, four specialty care facilities, totaling 3,171 beds throughout the system.
Recent statistics show 339,712 emergency visits and 18,276 deliveries yearly for this busy healthcare system with more than 12,000 employees.
Memorial Hermann Hospital System facilities generate about 21 million pounds worth of health care goods, including patient linens, towels, gowns and sheets yearly. And the numbers are growing. A $420-million expansion program, adding patient towers, surgical suites, and labor and delivery beds, is projected to add nearly 3 million pounds of laundry to the in-house facility's yearly poundage.
The Memorial Hermann Hospital System now accounts for about 13 million pounds, and outside clinics account for about eight million pounds. Once the current expansion is complete, poundage will be an estimated total of 23.5 million.
The expansion monies include $3.5 million to update the existing laundry. During the past three years, $500,000 has been spent on building renovations. The $250,000 earmarked to update the laundry's processing / finishing equipment has increased flatwork production by over 30 percent via the purchase of a Kannegiesser HPM Heating Band Ironer and a Kannegiesser Model CFM Folder.
"We're replacing older equipment with more automated and advanced equipment," said Earl Smith, director of linen services for Memorial Hermann linen services. "The new equipment which has increased the average of 650-700 pieces per hour to approximately 1,000 pieces per hour has so far increased the overall productivity of the laundry by 7 percent." Smith adds that his investment will reach payback in 1.2 years.
Memorial Hermann subsequently added a Kannegiesser PU-12 Sheet Separator to save labor, and enhance their large piece production. "Since we started using the HPM Ironer, we have been able to eliminate our sheet conditioning time completely," Smith says. "We had to condition them for 9-11 minutes before - a real waste of energy. All we do now is bring them over to the picker for separation."
With 101 employees working one-and-three-quarter shifts, six days a week, production now averages 91 pounds per operator per hour. Citing another production benefit Smith adds, "By taking the sheets directly from the press extractor to the finishing line, the batch dryers gain approximately three loads of full-dry capacity per shift.”
The Memorial Hermann laundry presently consists of 2 Milnor tunnels with 7 Milnor pass-thru dryers, a Kannegiesser 300-pound washer and 2 Milnor 125-pound and 2 Milnor 75-pound washer/extractors. It's finishing department has a Kannegiesser HPM ironer, 1 American Hypro ironer, 1 American Super Silon ironer, one Chicago SP4 folder, 2 Chicago Edge sheet feeders, 2 Kannegiesser CFM 4-lane folder, 1 Kannegiesser small piece folder, 3 Chicago small piece folders (2-Air-Chicago and one Chicago XL,) 1 Chicago Skyline blanket folder, and 1 Kannegeisser PU-12 linen separator. The laundry uses a Kemco heat reclamation system, and a Waste Water Resource water recycling system saves $50,000 a year.
Later this year, Smith plans to add a new Kannegiesser tunnel, sheet ironer and folder and a Clean End Sol overhead rail system to keep the goods moving swiftly through the facility. He also plans to re-modify the dry duct system for better airflow. The 18-year old, 33,000 square foot existing facility, currently housed in an energy dispatch building, is scheduled to gain another 2,000 square feet to accommodate the planned changes. And Memorial Hermann may add one or two vehicles to its seven existing delivery tractor trailers. But, Smith says, "We haven't ironed that out yet.".
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