Storage machine converted to hospital cold storage

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Storage machine converted to hospital cold storage

Tampere University Hospital required new cold storage rooms for corpses. The computer-controlled  Tornado automated storage system was up to the task, even though some R&D work was required.

A new building was required, since all forensic autopsies will now be concentrated in Finland's five university hospitals, of which TAYS is one, in the near future. The expansion of operations required additional cold storage room for corpses.

The system, apparently the first of its kind, was adopted at TAYS in June 2013. Two 15-metre, cooled Tornado Sanctis, both of which can house 110 corpses, were installed inside the building. The Tornado Sanctis operate according to the same principle as storage machines in a logistics centre.

Building designed around Tornado Sanctis

A new type of system was required, primarily to make the use of space more efficient, but reasons related to work ergonomics influenced the decision as well.

In fact, the whole design process of the new obduction building in Tampere revolved around the Tornado Sancti. You could say the building was designed around them. The design process was time-consuming and required close cooperation between the various parties.

“The storage towers, Tornado Sancti, were tailored according to space requirements. As the supplier, we had overall responsibility for the project.”, adds Stefan Lindh, Division Manager, Storage Automation Products at Constructor Finland. “The storage space is an elevator in itself. This is one of the system's central innovations. The storage towers have pick points on first and second floor of the building. Through these, corpses can be quickly transferred to the autopsy rooms on the second floor, for example.”

System controlled by building automation

The temperature inside the cool storage units is +5 °C. The cooling fans are linked to the building's automation system, which controls the entire storage solution. The storage space is disinfected each year. The storage machines can be controlled – or user support can be provided – from the premises of Constructor Finland Oy via remote computer connection.

“Based on our experience so far, the system feels good. It is completely different to the one we used to have at TAYS, the old system being based on cabinet-like storage containers”, says Jukka Alanko, a technical support worker at TAYS.

Less time required for work

TAYS obduction preparer Taiju Karonen likes the new system. “First impressions are good – the system is quick and easy to use. We no longer need to pump trolleys up and down and lift them into place. The system has matched our expectations, maybe even surpassed them”, says Karonen, evaluating the system's performance.

“Work ergonomics have also improved dramatically. Now the corpse is always at the same level when it arrives at the pick point. As the pallet is now aligned lengthwise, employees can use both hands to pull it out of the system, which divides the load equally.”

Click to read the whole case story of Tampere University Hospital.