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Rush Foundation Hospital

Boilers provide efficient, dependable steam for multi-use, critical-care needs






Boilers provide efficient, dependable steam for multi-use, critical-care needs

Throughout its more than 100-year history, Rush Health Systems has expanded its services to address the growth in its community and the needs of the families they serve to become one of the largest caregivers and employers in the East Mississippi and West Alabama regions.

Today, Rush is comprised of seven hospitals and over 30 clinics, historically noteworthy among them being Rush Foundation Hospital, a 215-bed, acute- care facility founded in 1915 that formed the beginnings of Rush Health Systems.

So, when Rush Foundation Hospital, in Meridian, Mississippi, decided it needed to expand its operations in 2012, it fell upon Fred Rogers, Vice President, Chief Resource Officer and Facility Manager for Rush, to address the need for new heating equipment.

The two Fulton VMP-150 boilers that were added to Rush Foundation's boiler room.

Room to Grow

Rush’s new heating construction and renovation was done over a four-year period when Fred began the equipment selection process with the assistance of Ernie Strahan from Delta Thermal Solutions, Inc., Fulton’s authorized representative in Mississippi. Ernie provided initial specifications, testing and staff training for the new boilers, and Perry Atherton of Edmonds Engineers designed the system upgrades.

Commented Fred, “I had originally been looking at other equipment, but when Ernie and Perry introduced me to the Fulton product line, I was very impressed at how they were put together and tested. Fulton also won out when it came to cost as well as efficiency.”

But for Fred, the challenge of installing new boilers had only just begun, as space limitations in the boiler room were so extreme that Rush hospital was required to petition its local city council to purchase a part of the city’s right of way (sidewalk) so that they could extend their boiler room out to the street.

Then Rush hospital had to close their sidewalk, get a foundation put in, and perform a large additional amount of piping, pump replacement, and electrical and mechanical cabinetry work. This was done while needing to keep the old boilers running until the new Fulton boilers could be installed and brought on-line—boilers that saved on space because they were vertical in size and smaller than most other horizontal options.

Speaking of Boilers

The two Fulton VMP-150 (Vertical Multi Port) boilers installed are dual-fired to burn diesel fuel as backup (required by code for redundancy) if natural gas is not available.

The following equipment was Included to help the VMP boilers operate at their maximum possible efficiency:

  • Synex Controls ModSync® sequencing system – In addition to providing a touchscreen interface to important status information, minimizes boiler cycling and maintains even operational usage across the equipment, thus increasing energy savings and boiler life expectancy.
  • Condensate return and feedwater system – Returns the residual heat energy of the condensate (spent steam) to the boiler tank so that less energy is needed to heat the boiler feed-water.

Fred sized the boiler system so that the hospital would have enough capacity for not just now but the next 15 years as far as new buildings and projects that might come along.

“We had some issues at first,” said Fred, “but the Fulton people worked with us, Ernie worked with us and, right now, we’re very happy with them. The units are easy to access for troubleshooting if needed, and training time for my maintenance guys is short— they’re easily guided through it.”

Fred also swaps the boilers every day (runs one on one day, the other on the next day) to ensure that any issues that arise with one are quickly identified and resolved while still being backed up by the other. He also has them configured so that, if a high demand exists such that one can’t fulfill the needs of the facility, the other one automatically fires up.

It's basically maintenance-free ... The new Fulton boilers have also reduced gas consumption and produce better steam.

Fred Rogers Vice President, Chief Resource Officer

“As far as redundancy,” said Ernie, “they’ve never lost a load or had an outage crisis. One Fulton boiler backs up the other while maintaining high efficiencies through [the] use of a ModSync® control system that allows the boilers to communicate with each other. And there’s three pumps, so there’s always been a backup pump.”

“It’s basically maintenance-free right now,” says Fred, “other than checking to make sure the water level is correct, especially after having put in new pumps to feed the boilers and adding a whole new chemical treatment system. The new Fulton boilers have also reduced gas consumption and produce better steam. We don’t have boilers going down when we need steam.”

Rush Foundation's (Fulton) boiler condensate return and feedwater system.

High-Quality Steam

Like most hospitals, Rush Foundation Hospital transfers its boiler-generated steam via a piping system to distribution points used for central heating, hot water heating, laundry, food service, autoclaves, and other steam sterilizers in the surgery area used for cleaning instruments prior to reuse—a critically important function.

The Fulton boilers at Rush Hospital also supply high-pressure steam to the labs where technicians autoclave (sterilize) agar plates (Petri dishes containing growth medium) before using them to test for staph and other contagious organisms that could cause infections —another critically important function of boiler steam and part of the strict quality control procedures put in place at Rush Hospital.

So, what does quality mean at Rush? According to Rush Health Systems’ charter, “Quality is continually improving our service to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of our patients, physicians, employees, and other customers that we serve.”

Fulton is honored to be part of the Rush Health Systems’ story.

Coming Clean on Steam

Besides being nontoxic and relatively inexpensive to produce, steam heat (as opposed to dry air) is used for critical sterilization procedures in hospitals because water vapor transfers heat much more efficiently than dry air. This type of steam is also called “saturated steam” because the space which it occupies contains the maximum amount of gaseous water (moisture) it can hold without producing liquid condensate. No bacteria or other living microorganism can survive direct exposure to saturated steam at 250°F (120°C) for longer than 15-20 minutes.

Fulton Steam Solutions Inc.

Fulton Steam Solutions is part of The Fulton Companies, an American multi-national group of companies headquartered in Pulaski, NY. Backed by over 60 years of research, innovation and experience, Fulton designs and manufactures complex heat transfer equipment for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications.

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