At the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a new medical gas plant developed by SHJ Medical Gas Specialists has ‘addressed areas of energy inefficiency, vastly increased the system’s productivity, resilience, and reliability’, and aided carbon emission reduction.
Within the Estates Department at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a major trauma centre in north-east England, the COVID pandemic placed significant pressure on engineering services, highlighting the need to maintain and improve the resilience and reliability of all key M&E plant. Now, in 2022, the new medical gas plant, developed by SHJ Medical Gas Specialists, has ‘addressed areas of energy inefficiency, vastly increased the system’s productivity, resilience, and reliability’, and aided carbon emission reduction. Ben Slawinski, Plant Development manager, and Katrina Robson, Marketing manager, report.
During a risk-based backlog maintenance assessment on the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s medical and industrial air plant, Ian Clayton, RVI’s senior specialist engineering officer, and his team identified both a need to replace the existing plant, and the key risks and areas of improvement they should look for when installing the replacement equipment – namely reliability, critical spares availability, air quality, and plant downtime. In line with Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s own target of achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2030, the team was also looking for plant that would address issues of energy inefficiency and carbon emission reduction.
After looking at potential suppliers, RVI partnered with SHJ due to the two organisations’ shared vision on postCOVID resilience and innovation. RVI’s original system for air delivery to the site (medical, surgical, and industrial) was broken up into completely separate plants, separate dryers, and distribution networks, that were linked. Four compressors with a total motor drive output of 165 kW (comprising a 55 kW and Triplex 37 kW medical air system) were potentially running at any one time, which was both costly and energyinefficient. SHJ’s solution was to create a system that can operate both as an individual system, supplying the industrial and medical side as two individual plants, but also in a ‘global mode’ that links the two plants together, allowing for optimisation of energy efficiency at any individual point.
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