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Hospital Laundry Services

Sidharth Sathpathy, R.K. Sharma, D.K. S

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Planning considerations:

At the time of deciding to go in for tunnel washing systems it is important to first get the process specification correctly made; then assess the comparative steam, water and detergent usage, It is best to look for the simplest way of meeting your demands, which depends upon the quantity and type of soiled linen that needs to be processed. Each and every tunnel washing system should be primarily planned and designed to process the most difficult and most heavily soiled work.

3 – Washing process of tunnel washing systems: The laundry is washed in batches, with reversing action through a 300 degree arc. Curing the washing the laundry is in constant “tumbling” motion without invert swells which characterize the conventional washing machines. During the course of washing motion, the angled pitch of the Archimedian screw causes additional cleaning by continuous alternate horizontal movement of laundry in each direction. At the end of each cycle, the washing cylinder caries out a complete rotation of 360 degrees which constitutes the transportation stroke. The water used is less as a result of a “divided counter flow” technique which provides entirely separate baths in each of the following" Zones" of the tunnel washers i.e. pre wash zone. main wash zone and rinse zone. Water in the tunnel is circulated in accordance with the integrated water and heat recovery systems.

Other distinct advantages of this system include:

  1. Controlled thermal/chemical disinfection or combination of both.
  2. Automatic “thermo stop” mechanism prevents further transportation of lines when the disinfection temperature is not reached.
  3. Central core of the archimedia has disinfection device.
  4. the possibility of bacteria development in the upper area between inner and outer drum in the rinsing zone, is negligible because of one drum principle.

A variety of models are available in any required size from five to twenty two compartments with a batch size 24/36/48/60 kilograms(11)

4 – Finishing Systems

With the rise in the levels of education and awareness of the patients, they are becoming increasingly quality oriented about their “hospitality” aspects including linen service. Rather than the actual process of linen collection, transportation and washing, they are more concerned with the finishing quality and costs incurred. Keeping this in mind, today it is possible to get modular finishing machines with automatic feeders, ironers, folders and stackers, which are specially designed for large flat work namely bed sheets, draw sheets etc. (12) The objective of all finishing systems is to have, at a given quality, a high throughput in each hour, besides bringing in considerable savings due to heat/energy recovery systems.

Advancements in technology has reached very high levels of automation and reliability in folders, so that nurses save time while bed making. These folders fold like an “M” which can be unfolded by one nurse thus saving time and manpower. Electronic cameras have replaced human eyes in quality control, because the speed at which the linen passes through an ironer makes it impossible and tiresome for the human eye to detect holes/stains in linen. These are ergonomically designed so as to drastically reduce the number of working hours per employee. These are also available as separate machines, which can be adapted to other laundry equipments. The continuous updating and upgrading of existing health care facilities is the ultimate challenge facing health and hospital administrators of the present time (13).


The goal of state of the art laundry technology is the achieve high production for each machine and each operator, keeping in mind the stringent requirements of quality control in each piece of linen that is used in the hospital. It is strongly felt that hospitals should evolve appropriately in synchronization with changing technologies; so as to keep pace with the times.


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  7. Jain Committee Report, In, Study group on Hospitals, New Delhi 196. Report no. F. 22-57/64-H; 195-200.
  8. Satpathy S, Sharma D.K. Equipment planning considerations for hospital laundry. Journal of Academy of Hospital Administration, 8(2) July 1996, and 9(1) Jan 1997; 63-66.
  9. Nielsen S. Laundry design and operation Hospital Management International 1989: 279-80.
  10. Bowe Passat. A laundry po trait. Hospital Management International, 1990; 491-2.
  11. Bowe Passat. What are Tunnel washing systems Paper presented at Australian Laundry Managers conference ’96.
  12. Jensen and Sons. First in finishing systems, Product catalogue, 1996; DK-3700, Renne, Denmark.
  13. Del Nord R. Upgrading and updating facilities. Hospital Management International 1997; 74.

Sidharth Sathpathy1 , R.K. Sharma2 , D.K. S3

1 Asstt. Prof. Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi.
2 Addl. Prof. & Head Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi
3 Assoc. Prof. Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi.

*Sidharth Sathpathy1 , R.K. Sharma2 , D.K. S3* 1 Asstt. Prof. Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi.
2 Addl. Prof. & Head Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi
3 Assoc. Prof. Deptt. of Hospital Admn. AIIMS, New Delhi.

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