Major hospitals with central kitchens prepare a large number of dishes every day, which often differ for each patient. As the specific diet of each patient must be meticulously and faultlessly followed, reliable labelling systems are vital.
With a capacity of 2,000 beds, the Rennes University Hospital Centre in France needed to update its individual dish labelling system and turned to SATO for a reliable solution. With its own dish processing lines, the hospital’s central kitchens are responsible for correctly labelling each individual tray that is sent to patients. The labels must contain several text fields, including the name of the dish with its code, the production date, the expiry date, the storage temperature and the country of origin of the food.
The hospital’s labelling system was improved significantly using the SATO printing technology, which offers a complete solution by integrating its networked LG3 software, a PC Panel, a labelling server, the SATO GL408 table printers and the COMPACT Lt automatic print and apply equipment with conveyor system. SATO supplied its printing system on two different processing lines, one line for hot products that are handled at ambient temperature and one line for cold dishes (also called cook-chill products) that must be processed at a temperature of +5°C.
The LG3 software that monitors and controls the equipment has provided valuable gains in terms of flexibility and ease of use for the person who is responsible for filling containers. With a touch-sensitive screen, the user can select a dish by simply entering a digit code. The name associated with this code is displayed on the screen. This code is then used to display all the indications for the dish on the screen, which significantly reduces labelling errors, as the user immediately has the illustration in front of them ready to be printed. In terms of flexibility, the central kitchen manager has the option of modifying the label font, i.e. changing the text fields if required. This enhanced feature offers greater freedom when creating tray labels and defining their contents. This new system has also allowed labels to be customised by adding a more human touch, which is an appealing option in a hospital environment. The user can add an input field by writing a message intended for the patient, for example, "enjoy your meal" or even "Merry Christmas".
SATO’s new comprehensive labelling solution has drastically improved the service provided in the central kitchens in the Rennes University Hospital Centre. As a result of implementing the easy to use system, there has been a decrease in labelling errors, an increase in flexibility when entering text to be printed and faster dish selection. Also, since installing the new printing system, the tray labelling rate has doubled compared with the former system, which has enabled the kitchen to operate more efficiently. Furthermore, the reliable SATO components and equipment have resulted in cheaper maintenance costs with a lower and more cost effective part replacement rate.