Simple diagnostics, hardware aids medical waste disposal

Hospital employees prevent blood-borne infections by disposing of bio-hazardous waste separately. However, this process is increasingly expensive because this waste must be sent to EPA-approved disposal facilities.Industrial networking plays a part in a system developed by KC MediWaste, L.C., (Dallas, Tex.


Hospital employees prevent blood-borne infections by disposing of bio-hazardous waste separately. However, this process is increasingly expensive because this waste must be sent to EPA-approved disposal facilities.

Industrial networking plays a part in a system developed by KC MediWaste, L.C., (Dallas, Tex.), with design, engineering, and manufacturing supplied by Pak/Teem Inc., (Cincinnati, O.). The solution prevents infections and also keeps hospital costs down. The KC MediWaste Medical Waste processor is usually installed outside the hospital building. Waste volume is reduced by 70% and potentially infectious, "red bag" waste is decontaminated. "Red bag" waste is shredded and ground into small particles, and then sterilized with high-velocity, heated air for 4-5 minutes, which means it can now be disposed of along with regular municipal waste at standard landfills.

Controlling disposal

Pak/Teem uses Interbus from Phoenix Contact (Harrisburg, Pa.), to control the KC MediWaste system. The control panel, located in the hospital, is complete with computer running Interbus CMD and Taylor Waltz software, from Total Control Products (Canada). The control cabinet contains Interbus smart terminal blocks and Quint power supplies, which provide power for the signals and the I/O devices in the machine.

Interbus Loop Modules are mounted directly on the machine allowing significant space savings in the panel inside the hospital. The modules control digital and analog sensors and actuators. Interbus Loop uses the power supply—not only to power the I/O devices—but also to transmit network signals to the devices.

Pak/Teem also selected Interbus because of its diagnostics. "Users of the machine are non-technical people. We wanted it to be easy to diagnose and maintain, so the average hospital employee would not be intimidated," says Kevin Jones, senior electrical designer at Pak/Teem.

In addition, Taylor Waltz's program allows hospital employees to see a picture of the machine. If a problem occurs, they can locate the source on the screen. Pak/Teem has standardized Interbus on all future machines.

Because the KC MediWaste machine is located outside without any initial protection, it was necessary to install transient protection. Phoenix Contact also installed its Valvetrab product to provide this protection. Designed for sub-distribution circuit breaker panels and their associated branch circuits, Valvetrab is a two-piece, pluggable, DIN-rail mountable surge arrestor.

Mercy Regional Medical Center (Laredo, Tex.) was the first to install the KC MediWaste processor in its new hospital this past summer. So far, its developers report, the medical community has been extremely receptive to the concept. It is cleaner and easier to use than many alternatives, and it is cheaper to operate and maintain.

For more information about Phoenix Contact, , , and Total Control Products, , visit .

Author Information

Gary Mintchell,

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