The importance of washability
Case story

The importance of washability

For the Danish manufacturer of hospital and care beds, KR Hospitalsudstyr, the washability level of their products is essential for being able to fulfil the tender requirements from municipalities and regions. LINAK has introduced a new washing standard, IPX6 Washable DURA™, which is, according to KR, an important step of the way in increasing focus on washing requirements.

Washability of hospital and care equipment has not always been a requirement. In fact, it is only during the past 10 years that it has become a general market requirement, and where we have become aware of the benefits of being able to use specialised machine washing to clean beds in hospitals and in the care sector. Since then, machine washing has become standard in many places and is widely used. However, the rest of the world has not quite followed suit yet, making the Nordic countries the first-movers in this area.

Washability as a requirement
Today, all tenders for hospital beds and homecare beds include an absolute requirement regarding washability. KR Hospitaludstyr is well equipped to meet these requirements:

”KR has been involved from the start and has developed with the market and the washing solutions. We also require our subcontractors to supply products that are able to fulfil these washing requirements. It is of no use if only certain parts of the bed can be washed”, says Liv-Janne F. Hansen, Sales Director at KR Hospitalsudstyr, and continues:
”All constiuent parts must be able to withstand the high temperatures and strong detergents used in machine washing. So we are extremely glad that LINAK has raised the bar even higher in relation to washing with their IPX6 Washable DURA™ standard”.

There are several reasons why focus on washability has become so prevalent in recent years. The first and most obvious reason is hygiene. Many patients contract new infections when hospitalised, simply because the hygiene conditions are not optimal. Having washing machines in hospitals and in care homes also gives employees an improved working environment because they avoid having to do repetitive work with manual cleaning of, for example, beds. 

Strong collaboration
KR Hospitalsudstyr and LINAK have a long-standing business relationship based on mutual trust and good partnership:

”I think we can almost celebrate our Silver Jubilee with LINAK. This has become a reality because they deliver high quality products, stay innovative and follow the market's developments. It adds tremendous value for us that the products we buy from them are now labelled IPX6 Washable DURA It means that we can present approved washing tests to our customers and that we can guarantee the actuator systems in our products can withstand at least 250 cycles of machine washing”, says Liv-Janne and explains: 
”The actuator system is a very important part of our beds. If the electronics can handle machine washing, we can also request increased washability from our other suppliers. This applies, for example, to surface treatments, tubes, wheels and brake systems.” 

The future of washability

Although Liv-Janne F. Hansen is very positive about the increased focus on washability, she also believes that there is a greater need for more dialogue about the requirements:    

”I certainly believe that the requirements for washability will continue to increase in the future. However, there is a tendency for the requirements to be based on the capability of the washing machines and not so much on what the products to be washed can actually withstand. However, I sense that both the authorities and the manufacturers of washing systems have become more aware not to destroy what they are washing”, says Liv-Janne and continues: 
There is, in fact, a need for a general awareness that though equipment washed in a machine becomes clean, it doesn't become sterile. This is a theme we intend to put on the agenda in the near future.”

At LINAK focus on keeping up with market demands continally increases too. This also includes developing features able to collect data on how many times a bed has actually been washed.

”We look forward to continue collaboration with LINAK and we are ready to meet future washability requirements together. Together, we stand stronger and more competent when advising municipalities and regions about the future of bed washing”, concludes Liv-Janne.

Read more about KR and their products for hospital and the care sector.