This is a dish rack design made for Odense State University Hospital.
Odense State University invested in a new dish wash operation plant. The investment was a part of a bigger step where the hospital would raise the working environment and remove all mutual repeating work.
Everything in the dish wash facility was automated, from the emptying of dirty racks from trolleys, the dish wash, to the filling of racks in trolleys again. Alle the processes in the dish wash were implemented in a big fully automated dish was plant.
Unfortunately there was an important and time-consuming process which wasn’t automated: The turning of cups and glassware. The hospital tried for a longer period to solve the problem by upbringing the staff and technical solutions but had to give up because of economical problems.
Definition of problems:
- Glasses and cups are mixed in the racks when they return to the kitchen from the wards. They has to be sorted before washing because they are being washed differently in machines. It has showed that it is impossible to educate the staff not to mix the tableware. Especially in hospitals where visitors and patients as well is handling the tableware.
- Used glasses and cups are standing with the opening upward and must be turned around to be washed.
- In big industry kitchens the noise level is very high and reduces the standard of the working environment. The turning of glasses and cups takes a big majority of this noise problem.
- A large number of glasses and cups break into pieces in the turning process.
- Fulltime employees are doing mutual repeatable when turning glasses and cups which reduces the work environment.
- The manual repeatable turning can more likely than not result in getting degenerative joint diseases in their wrists.
- It is not possible to check dishracks for dirty glasses and cups unless the entire contents is turned around again after washing
The project team made a full analysis of the racks, the dish washing facility and a video analysis of the operation cycle. It was clear from the Hospital that they weren’t interested in new and expensive fully automated machinery to solve the problem. There were several reasons for this. Odense University Hospital had bad experience with fully-automatic machines and weren’t interested in any more errors in their system which they had paid 1.5 million dollars for. A fully-automatic turning machine would also increase the noise level and the amount of breakage.
The project team decided to work with the racks and developed throughout a long process a new rack design that solved their problem. It was important that the solution was flexible and adjustable and could be integrated in
existing industry ware-washing machines.
Today Odense University Hospital has 2 full-time employees in the staff only to turn glasses and cups. With this rack concept they can remove this workstation and save around 55.000 dollars yearly.
The solution lives up to the Hospitals high standards concerning hygiene and user friendliness. The rack design is a cheap and effective solution which also solves other problems than the turning issue.