Interview with Andrew Hall from SLD Technology
SLD Technology is a specialist in the manufacturing of modular laminar flow air distribution systems that include full integration of ceiling infrastructure, including air delivery, ambient lighting, and structural mounts for all the ceiling-hung equipment.
SLD Technology’s Philosophy: Designed for Zero
For the past year and a half, SLD Technology has been campaigning for its Designed for Zero (D4Z) initiative, aiming toward zero infections and zero harm in healthcare. The key initiative for SLD strives to establish and provide consistent air quality standards for operating rooms.
Andrew Hall, the Vice President of Sales at SLD Technology, explains, “The Designed for Zero initiative is bringing to light that healthcare needs help. When working in a critical environment that deals with cross-contamination, pathogens, and infections, you have to control that environment.” He continues, “The current system is antiquated. Many facilities haven’t updated their systems in 30 years.”
Over the last ten years, SLD Technology has moved Designed for Zero innovations for healthcare to the forefront of the industry. It has applied best practices to a range of spaces, from cleanrooms to operating room environments.
Hall states, “As a company, our philosophy is to spread the Design for Zero initiative and get consultants, vendors, architects, owners, and all the stakeholders to understand our message and to help us all improve the as-built environment. Our goal is to raise the bar and elevate the standards and guidelines to improve the health outcomes in operating rooms.”
AirFRAME Makes Installation Quick and Easy
AirFRAME is an air manifold that is a crucial component in the SLD approach that starts with a single large diffuser. It delivers low turbulence airflow. AirFRAME is about 18 inches in depth and comes in small, manageable modules that can be installed on-site with very little labor. SLD builds these air manifolds in their factory so that the modular product can be assembled on-site in hours versus weeks.
“Traditionally, operating room ceilings are built with more than ten trades or vendors, all working independently and coordinating out in the field on scaffolds and ladders,” Hall explains. “They’re up in the air building these systems in parts and pieces, which we call stick-built construction.”
He continues, “We transfer this work into the factory, where it’s in a controlled environment. We can build it under quality control standards and then put anything we want in it fully integrated, fully assembled. Then our product can be installed in a few hours without conflicts.”
AirTUNNEL Allows for Direct and Accurate Air Control
SLD’s AirTUNNEL is designed to be a direct-coupled air management system for AirFRAME. It allows doctors to regulate the environmental conditions within the operating room at a touch of a button.
A direct air handler coupled to AirFRAME gives SLD the ability to include a control panel in the space to adjust the temperature, humidity levels, and airflow quantity so operators can ramp up the airflow if needed for longer surgeries or orthopedic procedures.
Hall explains, “AirTUNNEL is a way to introduce direct control into the environment. You can set your own personal preferences for that room.”
He adds, “A fetal care doctor explained to me that when he was performing heart transplants for babies, he had no way, with the air system that he was using, to monitor or to change the temperature in the room without a significant delay.”
“That doctor said, ‘I have this little, tiny beating heart in my hand. I’ve got a very small patient that can go into hypothermia, and I can’t get my air handler system to react fast enough.’”
Hall continues, “So when you utilize a product like AirTUNNEL you can get an instant response that can potentially save the patient’s life.”
Additionally, a clinical advantage that comes with AirTUNNEL is the avoidance of cross-contamination between different operating rooms. Each air “tunnel” features a self-contained air handler, so there’s no chance of a pathogen or a contagious disease moving from one room to the other via a central air handler.
Indigo-Clean™ as a Replacement for UV Technology
Indigo-Clean™ is a continuous environmental disinfection technology that uses LED visible light. It emits a frequency that creates an indigo blue color at a 405-nanometer frequency.
This technology can be used in place of UV technology, commonly used in hostile environments. The problem with UV technology is the danger it poses to humans, surfaces, and materials. It is so dangerous that everyone must exit a room before it is used. Conversely, Indigo-Clean operates safely, very close to the UV spectrum, or near-UV.
Hall describes how Indigo-Clean is used, saying, “While people are in the room, it has two functions: The white mode and the indigo blue mode. In white mode, it’s continuously cleaning directly over the surgical site, 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even with a patient on the table. This mode is used during procedures and in between procedures to clean the room.”
“Then, it automatically turns to the indigo blue light in the unoccupied state, which is what we call full dosing or high power, which provides deep cleaning,” Hall explains.
Indigo-Clean has been clinically proven to reduce surgical site infections by up to 73%. SLD Technology has exclusive rights to Indigo-Clean through Kenall, and it is the only company that can integrate it into a modular ceiling system.
Constantly Looking to Learn and Improve
SLD Technology leads the industry when it comes to investing in research and development for healthcare because “healthcare is all we do,” Hall emphasizes.
“We constantly look to learn from all our vendor partners that make modular stainless-steel walls and surgical equipment manufacturers,” Hall explains. “SLD is vendor-neutral, which gives us the advantage to work with all these vendors equally.”
SLD’s competitors mainly work on innovations internally, so developing product advancements can be a very slow process. Conversely, SLD actively learns from all stakeholders in the industry, including vendors, designers, and owners, and uses that information to improve its products constantly. “We are not just custom fabricators,” Hall adds, “but also consultants who become partners with our customers in the united effort to reduce healthcare harm.”
2021 D4Z Healthcare Summit
On December 1, 2021, SLD Technology held the D4Z Healthcare Summit in Portland, Oregon. These SLD summits provide a full day of education, including a panel with leaders in healthcare, design, construction, and the management of operating rooms. Hall says, “everybody had a chance to learn and share anecdotal stories, concepts, and ideas collectively. We are just very proud to be the leader in bringing people together to envision a positive and improved future in the healthcare world.”
Want to Learn More About SLD Technology?
Coward Environmental Systems, Inc. is proud to represent SLD Technology in the Philadelphia region, Central PA, Delaware, and Maryland. Contact us today to discover how SLD Technology can be a part of your next project.