ROANOKE, Va. — The 2013 edition of the Clean Show is now history. I have to follow up with a number of vendors on several key projects that I have been investigating.
I enjoy thoroughly losing myself in Clean. Over the 40 years I have been actively involved in the laundry industry, I have attended 17 of the 19 Clean Shows.
Each show has had its own flavor and sense of adventure. I will remember this year’s show in New Orleans as the year of the textile revolution. I was shown two competing systems that offered the laundry and end-users various benefits.
The first system I will discuss is one presented by MIP. The company engineered a line of bed linen that is designed to resist stains, reduce drying times, eliminate the ironing and folding for a number of items (sheets, pillowcases, patient gowns), reduce required processing labor, reduce lint and increase linen life expectancy. Such claims require further investigation, and I willingly sat through a half-hour presentation during the show.
I can see the system working real well in a small in-house hospital laundry or nursing home. The fact that the system virtually eliminates the need for an ironer can be a real advantage for this type of facility. The polyester linen reduces drying time, which would be a real advantage for most nursing homes that lack adequate dryer capacity.
Regarding a large central laundry, the need to produce large quantities of linen and bulk-deliver them to customers would make the system less practical. In my case, it would require all my customers to accept the change in order for me to reap maximum rewards from the program. Trying to run a traditional linen system and the MIP system through the same laundry at the same time would be most complicated, I believe.
The other system that caught my eye was a therapeutic bedding technology presented by Standard Textile. The company’s literature indicates that it is a “new family of specially designed antimicrobial fabrics for bed linens and patient apparel, which are cleaner, drier and smoother. These therapeutic fabrics address the microclimate surrounding the patient, with the purpose of minimizing friction, shear, moisture and heat – all are important factors in proper skin care.” A flat sheet, contour sheet, pillowcase, bed pad and two sizes of patient gowns are being marketed.
A number of hospitals in my immediate market area are trying out this linen. Preliminary results indicate instances of pressure ulcers have dropped dramatically and hospital stays have been shortened. The white material looks and feels much like the yellow reusable barrier isolation gown material but is designed to absorb and wick moisture away from the patient.
Processing and packaging this therapeutic fabric is a challenge. The lightweight material will not hold a cake and therefore is not a good candidate to be processed in a tunnel washer. The nature of the fabric will reduce moisture retention and make it possible to go directly from the washers to the flatwork finishing section of the laundry. The pads and gowns will dry faster than their traditional counterparts. The product’s “slick” nature will require additional packaging in order to be properly handled through the linen distribution system.
I found both of these systems interesting, and there should be ample applications for both in the healthcare laundry industry.