Gothenburg gets ‘world’s first’ optical linen sorting technology
Östra Sjukhuset in Gothenburg, one of four sites that form Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden’s largest university hospital, claims to be ‘setting the global standard in sustainable hospital waste and linen management’ after appointing Envac to install its optical linen sorting technology as part of a major modernisation programme.
Envac says this is the first instance worldwide of optical sorting technology being used to manage soiled linen in a hospital environment, adding that its use – following a successful procurement bid – will significantly reduce time spent manually sorting soiled linen at the hospital’s offsite laundry.
Envac’s pneumatic waste collection system will collect bagged waste in ‘inlets’ before transporting it, via vacuum technology, along a pipe network installed within the hospital’s walls. The pipe network will replace the hospital’s existing automatic transportation system infrastructure, which has served it since the 1960s. When the inlets are full, the colour-coded bags of used linen – with each colour denoting a specific linen stream – will be transported to a purpose-built collection station housed within the basement and automatically placed on conveyor belts. As the bagged linen moves along the belts, it is scanned by optical colour readers that determine where each bag belongs, with the bags automatically directed to the correct cart before being sent to the laundry facility.
The installation is scheduled to start this year, and expected to be completed by 2028. During this period, the hospital will continue to develop new buildings in and around the site. On completion, the pipe network hidden within the hospital will be 2,463 metres long, serve 129 waste inlets, and manage one general waste stream and two linen streams, which include staff and patient linen.
Magnus Sjöstrand, Senior Sales manager and Healthcare Solutions specialist at Envac, said: “Envac has always been in the vanguard when it comes to developing innovative hospital waste solutions. Indeed, it was originally launched in 1961 specifically for hospitals. So, while I’m not surprised that it is our technology that is, once again, spearheading change within a hospital environment, I am incredibly proud. The decision will make the hospital’s environment safer and cleaner for staff and patients. This is a huge step forward for one of Sweden’s biggest hospitals, and one that will certainly showcase the possibilities now open to hospitals around the world.”
Other innovative technologies selected by the hospital as part of its modernisation programme include self-driving trucks, and an updated and expanded pipe mailing system, which will continue to quickly and efficiently transport drugs around the hospital.