HPC compressors meet the challenge of delivering medical quality compressed air at Hillingdon Hospital.
Compressed air is a clean and reliable source of power sometimes referred to as the ‘fourth utility’, a term which underlines its importance to the overall performance and success of numerous processes. Whilst compressed air is essential to a wide range of industries there are some highly specialised applications where it is a particularly critical resource, such as medical gas systems. A good example of this is a project at Hillingdon Hospital in North West London where a medical air plant, incorporating a package of equipment from HPC Compressed Air Systems, has been installed to supply medical quality compressed air to European Pharmacopeia standards. The company responsible for this innovative containerised system is SHJ Hospital Pipelines Ltd, a specialist distributor for HPC and acknowledged as a leading designer, supplier and installer of piped medical gas systems with over 40 years of experience of working with NHS Hospital Trusts and the private sector across the UK.
Hillingdon Hospital is an acute and specialist services provider in close proximity to Heathrow Airport for which it is the emergency receiving hospital. It operates a busy Accident and Emergency department, in-patient day surgery and out-patient clinics. Providing the majority of services for the NHS Foundation Trust, Hillingdon is the only acute hospital in this part of London and (with Mount Vernon Hospital) has an annual budget of over £169 million and employs over 2,400 members of staff to deliver high quality healthcare to the residents of the London Borough of Hillingdon and those living in the surrounding areas. In this catchment area there are over 350,000 people.
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Critical areas of Hillingdon Hospital depend on a reliable source of medical quality compressed air for a range of specialist applications including driving ventilators and operating pneumatic surgical tools. The hospital needed to eliminate, or at the very least, minimise the single point of failure risks which could occur due to the unreliability of ageing plant. An added complication was that the existing medical air plant needed to remain in-situ and fully operational, unable to be shut-down or decommissioned until a new system was in-place and capable of providing full redundancy.
It was also important to improve system resilience and increase capacity arising from the likelihood of future development with increased air demand and the new system needed to comply with both the current and future legislation requirements governing medical air plant whilst conforming to current HTM standards.
Having acknowledged the need to improve and replace the existing medical gas system, Hillingdon Hospital consulted SHJ Hospital Pipelines Ltd for their specialist capabilities, experience and expertise. Following consultations with the Hospital Trust Projects and Estates Department, SHJ recommended a new containerised plant room system comprising a package of HPC compressed air equipment.
The specification was for a total of four energy efficient HPC rotary screw compressors including a variable frequency SM12SFC (7.5kW) unit and three SK22 (11 kW) units, a compressor control management system, large air storage vessels and an air treatment system to remove all moisture and contaminants from the supply. This compact, containerised package is fully soundproofed and includes ducting which incorporates dampers to re-heat the container as required during the colder months. An advantage of this new, self contained system is the ability to relocate or reposition it if required whilst it also provides ample space and ease of access to conduct routine checks, service and maintenance.
Commenting on the performance of the HPC compressors, Kevin Witt at SHJ Medical Hospital Pipelines said, “HPC compressed air equipment is both reliable and very efficient, allowing us to provide all of our customers with an excellent return on their investment. HPC provide good technical back-up and support whilst the HPC variable speed drive compressors are an energy-efficient solution that is ideal for the variable demands of Hillingdon Hospital’s medical gas supply”.
The technically challenging and highly specialised nature of SHJ Hospital Pipelines specification for the new containerised plant room package at Hillingdon Hospital is another example of HPC’s ability to provide the best solutions for all aspects of compressed air technology, whether it be for the most complex, high volume bespoke systems, or smaller low pressure systems.