MLR System GmbH für Materialfluss- und Logistiksysteme
Big AMT Project in Offenbach
Most hospital patients have other things on their minds than the complex logistics effort involved in running a big hospital. Nonetheless, efficient logistics systems are essential for their health and well-being; errors or delays in the distribution of food and medication are not acceptable and could be fatal. For many years, such risks have been mitigated by increasing reliance on advanced automated material transport systems (AMT) using automated guided vehicles (AGV). MLR System GmbH, headquartered in Germany, has special expertise in AMT systems for hospitals and clinics. Systems that the company built and installed in hospitals as long ago as the 1970s are still in operation – naturally with some modernisation. One recent project, scheduled to be operational by 2010, is an extremely complex system for the Offenbach Clinic (NKO) rebuild. As general contractor for the AMT system, MLR supplied 15 freely navigable, stainless steel underride tractors with maintenance-free, emission-free batteries plus chargers, 55 hospital-type stainless steel containers, a container washing system (CWS), fixed conveyor systems for storing, loading and unloading the containers, a complete pneumatic tube conveyor system, extensive cabling, the control desk and a workshop for servicing the AGVs and containers. The AMT system is designed to move containers with food, laundry, pharmaceutical and medical supplies, sterile items and general supplies to the right place at the right time. The system is key to delivering supplies and removing used materials to and from every diagnostic, treatment and care zone in the whole hospital complex. With so many sources and destinations, it was absolutely essential to choose a control system capable of handling complexity and of operating without a break, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. MLR developed its “LogOS-Hospital“ software, rigorously proven in many applications, for precisely this type of hospital installation. In Offenbach, the software will run in hot-standby mode on two PCs. LogOS-Hospital manages task assignment to the AGVs and regulates their movements – via WLAN – on routes that totalling around 350 metres. It controls the programmable logic controller (PLC) for the conveyor systems and the eight lifts and manages identity information (including the RFID tags for the containers) for all components and equipment. This includes processing data from the fire alarms integrated in the fire-resistant and normal doors, the lifts and the battery chargers. MLR is not only supplying, installing and commissioning the whole complex system, the company has also managed the financing and will be operating the system for the next 15 years. It will thus also be responsible for all repairs and spare parts over this period.