You mean pneumatic tube transport is still a thing?
Of course it is! Its application may have changed over the years, but pneumatic tube systems are still an essential component in many industrial businesses and – for larger hospitals in particular – a hallmark of quality.
In the past, a vast majority of documents were sent within one building, such as x-rays and patient documents in a hospital; because of increasing digitalisation, this application of pneumatic tube dispatch is now completely centred on the transport of samples, medicines, and other items. And even though digitalisation has generally made things a lot easier for people, transporting blood samples from the station to the laboratory is still a task that no computer can perform as of yet.
Fast and reliable transport increases the efficiency of the transport routes, making the workload considerably lighter.
Although pneumatic dispatch has been around for more than 150 years, its simplicity has made it an established and essential fixture in intralogistics in a wide variety of industries today.
Where are pneumatic tube systems used?
There are many applications for pneumatic delivery systems today. The most obvious area of application is the hospital. There is still no other way to transport tissue samples directly from, say, an operating room to a laboratory that is located three floors up and 500 metres away. Of course, someone can physically bring it there, but this is time-consuming and ties up manpower that is needed more urgently elsewhere.
The pneumatic delivery system is also used in steelworks and other industrial operations. Since production involves large quantities of liquid steel, steel samples must be tested in the laboratory to ensure they are in perfect condition, and a rapid laboratory sample result is pivotal for progressing to the next production stage; a great deal of money is at stake, and reducing production time is absolutely crucial.
Speaking of money – a smaller version of the pneumatic delivery system is used in supermarkets and petrol stations – one that is cleverly installed and concealed under the counter. The personnel can put the cash into a small pneumatic carrier that is transported directly to a remote secure area or safe. This ensures that there is never excessive cash in the cash register and also boosts employee safety.
How much does a pneumatic delivery system cost?
As a rule, the costs for a pneumatic delivery system have to be calculated and determined on a case by case basis. The number of different parameters to consider here can almost make your head spin. But we have been active in this sector for over 25 years and, in the process, we’ve acquired so much expertise that we have no reason to shy away from major projects.
For smaller installations with just a handful of stations in one building, or for larger systems that connect several buildings and have a great number of receiving and transmitting stations, sensible planning is required in order to bring the transport matrix into line with the planned transmitting and receiving stations. Of course, our systems also offer some fantastic options, just like when you’re buying a car. For the calculation, it is also imperative to know whether the pneumatic delivery system is to be integrated into an existing building or whether it is being taken into account during the construction planning phase. That’s why a definitive answer isn’t possible without this kind of added information.
We would be happy to prepare an individual quotation for you that takes all your needs into account.
Is the pneumatic delivery system secure?
Security is a top priority everywhere and is one of the primary reasons for installing a pneumatic delivery system. The pneumatic delivery system is one of the most secure and reliable means of transport in use. In companies with high cash turnover such as supermarkets and petrol stations, the system offers even greater security: employees have access to the dispatching station, so they can put the cash from the cash register into a carrier and send it off, but they have no access to the vault in which the carriers are directly deposited. The POS system reports any amount above 1,000 EUR to the employee so that the money can be removed. In the event of a robbery, only the limited amount of cash on hand can be stolen.
There are also a number of possibilities in intralogistics that can be utilised to protect shipped goods, samples, or medicines from unauthorised access. Using transponder technology (RFID), you can track exactly where each carrier is, who sent it where, when it was received, and even who received it. This adds up to seamless traceability and, consequently, the highest possible security level.
How does a pneumatic tube system work?
The workings of a pneumatic delivery system can be explained very simply: A blower, also known as a side channel compressor, is required for the air pressure or air suction (overpressure and negative pressure), along with pipelines, transmitting and receiving stations and, of course, the transport containers – so-called pneumatic dispatch carriers. The pneumatic delivery tubes are connected to the blower and the stations, and that’s all it takes to send a wide spectrum of objects back and forth. Of course, it’s not quite that straightforward, because there are countless additional mechanical and electrical components that have to be taken into account.
The heart of the pneumatic tube system is the control system. We use computer control via a PC with a Windows interface.
You can compare the pneumatic tube network to a tree with a lot of branches going out in every direction. The branches symbolise the pipes, and the blower with the airflow reverser are the roots.
Additional branch points are installed at some locations in the system to transport or divert the carriers in the desired direction.
At the sending and receiving station, all you have to do is enter the number of the destination station, insert the pneumatic carrier, and press send. The carrier then starts its journey – at approximately 7 metres per second – and ends up at the receiving station where the personnel can collect it.