In hospitals and surgical centers, scrub distribution is serious business. As surgical professionals enter and leave the operating room, they need to properly manage their scrubs. Did the scrubs come from another hospital or health center? Were they taken out of an open cart or laundered at home? These practices affect the surgical facility’s ability to manage the required hygiene, inventory and costs. A leader in surgical scrubs and healthcare linen automation products developed a vending machine to help hospitals set top-quality hygiene standards while managing inventory and distribution. The machine relies on IKO linear rails to provide accurate, reliable motion as it dispenses the scrubs.
How the Surgical Scrub Vending Machine Operates
When a surgeon or nurse requires a scrub, the machine scans their ID card and gives them access to one of eight partitioned drawers, each containing a supply of scrubs of varied size and color. A motorized cable system moves the upper and lower carriages back and forth simultaneously in opposite directions. IKO rails move a manipulator arm that spreads the partitions, and the machine dispenses the scrub in the desired size, color and quantity.
In addition to the rails, the machine manufacturer required precision linear guides that could deliver a long, reliable lifetime with minimal maintenance. The original production vending machine design incorporated plastic guides from a different vendor that required regreasing every six months. In addition, the vendor required the machine builder to order guides far in advance while offering little support.
The manufacturer was impressed by the performance of IKO linear guides used in the prototype machine design. These components exhibited high precision with no rust, wear or corrosion — even after 10 years and 500,000 cycles of operation.
After consulting with a local IKO representative, the vending machine manufacturer implemented our MHT12 for the long, side-to-side axis, as well as the ML15 for the short axis. These ball-type linear guides deliver exceptional rigidity for complex loads and quiet operation. The MHT Series is capable of handling high loads, and the ML linear guides are characterized by their small sizes and light weight. Both linear motion rolling guide series come with C-Lube self-lubricating technology to provide long-lasting, maintenance-free operation. We even modified the ML15 with extra under-carriage seals to keep out dirt and debris. And, our linear motion rolling guides are available locally and off the shelf, enabling the customer to purchase the products when needed.
Precise Linear Motion Improves Inventory Control and Efficiency
The surgical scrub dispensing machine success is a good example of how our ball-type linear motion rolling guides combine rigidity, reliability and maintenance-free operation to satisfy any machine’s positioning requirements. Thanks to MHT and ML Series linear guides, the vending machines dispense the right scrubs to the right personnel with a low contamination risk. The vending machine manufacturer’s surgical facility customers can now control their inventory, all while unlocking greater security, efficiency and cost savings.
For more information about IKO’s ball-type linear motion rolling guides, visit our product page.