The Miele coral principle: Sustainability in medical technology
Environmental protection and sustainability combined with superb quality have been the cornerstones of Miele's entrepreneurial activities for many years. A reduction in the use of raw materials, energy, water and other assets is always uppermost in the minds of engineers when developing new washer-disinfectors and accessories as part of Miele's contribution towards sustainability in the field of medical technology. Multi-faceted and high-performance corporate structures with many similarities to a coral reef allow Miele to offer clients the best products on the market from a technical, functional and design point of view, in keeping with Miele's long-standing credo of being 'Forever better'.
The life cycle of Miele machines and their impact on the environment begins long before they are taken into operation in a hospital or surgery: It all starts with the production of raw materials and machine components. Assembly is followed by packaging, transportation and, at the end of a product's useful life, disposal: all stages with great environmental relevance. In all, only around 10% of the entire energy required by a product is attributable to the useage stage. Miele's responsibility starts with the sparing use of resources and energy-efficient processes in production and logistics. All Miele production plants have an environmental management system certified according to ISO 14001, which involves regular auditing and recertification. This requires a cross-plant integrated management system covering occupational health and safety, medical products, product liability, quality assurance, social responsibility and environmental protection. Waste avoidance and the involvement in take-back and recycling schemes for discarded appliances, batteries, sales and shipping packaging is taken just as seriously by Miele as its support of the UN's 'Global Compact' initiative, first joined in 2004, and other similar guidelines.
Highly durable materials
Miele washer-disinfectors are built using only choice materials which fully comply with all relevant legislation, standards and guidelines. The plastics used, for example, in valves and gaskets or in the filters of drying units are exceptionally durable and impervious to both temperature and process chemicals. Extended replacement intervals of up to 1000 hours reduce the burden on the environment and minimise machine downtimes.
The best way to avoid waste is to build machines and components to last. All washer-disinfectors are built and tested to withstand 15,000 hours of operation and frequently provide 20 years and more of reliable service. And to ensure that machines remain up-to-date throughout their extended life cycle, programmes can be updated using Miele's proprietary 'Update' function. And the provision of spares and components for older machines is guaranteed – thanks to Miele's promise to stock all functional components for 15 years after the discontinuation of model production.
Low consumption of water, electricity and process chemicals
Miele has achieved considerable improvements in the economy, performance and useability of its products through intensive research and development. All machines use only the amount of water, energy and process chemicals needed to achieve excellent cleaning and disinfection results. Special programmes combining the sparing use of valuable resources with excellent reprocessing results in a wide range of applications vouch for the gentle treatment of expensive surgical instruments: 'OxiVario', for instance, is designed to cope with heavily soiled and challenging instruments, whereas 'Ophthalmology' is tailored to the needs of sensitive, narrow-lumened eye instruments. As water consumption in the various programmes is kept as low as possible, less energy is required for heating. Alongside a standard electrically heated version, Miele also offers steam heating as an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient source of energy for large decontamination units.
To ensure residue-free reprocessing results, all programmes use a conductivity meter to evaluate the purity of rinse water, adding additional rinse cycles as appropriate. These automatic extensions to programme cycles only apply when clients define a minimum conductivity value. This module is a shining example of sustainability: It is completely maintenance-free over its entire life cycle and needs neither adjustment nor calibration.
Efficient after-sales service
Many routine checks, programme updates and intelligent solutions are offered by Miele's Remote Service module, making many a service call-out superfluous. And where a visit by Miele Professional is unavoidable, Miele ensures that repairs are carried out promptly and efficiently, with a network of no less than 220 service engineers in Germany alone.
Sustainability in medical technology is also evidenced by farsightedness and long-termism in product planning. With a washer-disinfector from Miele's new series, customers can rest assured that existing accessories such as baskets, inserts, conveyors and dispenser systems can continue to be used. After all, sustainability aims at creating long-term benefits. At Miele as in a coral reef, each invidual part contributes to the strength of the whole.