A smart vacuum is smart business

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2011-06-01
Issue 6

A heightened awareness of the waste created by dental processes continues to grow within dentistry. In response, increasing numbers of dental offices are exploring green initiatives. They’re adopting new behaviors and looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and waste.

A heightened awareness of the waste created by dental processes continues to grow within dentistry. In response, increasing numbers of dental offices are exploring green initiatives. They’re adopting new behaviors and looking for ways to reduce energy consumption and waste.

The Eco-Dentistry Association (EDA) cites four processes-referring to them as the big four-that are responsible for most dental practice waste. They are: infection control methods, mercury-containing dental material, x-ray systems and conventional vacuum systems.

Manufacturers are responding with green-friendly equipment innovations. The new maintenance-free, PowerVac G® is a prime example.

It combines energy-saving intelligence with the power of a positive displacement vacuum producer. By using an intelligent energy management system, the PowerVac G is a leading go-green solution for dental offices.

It operates differently than other dental vacuums. The PowerVac G uses an intelligent energy management system to power-up and power down on demand, delivering up to 83 percent energy savings. It’s a triumph in engineering that applies a common-sense approach to energy and waste conservation.

How dental vacuums work

Standard vacuums run at full speed all day long continuously generating pressure. Only a small percentage of the pressure that’s been produced is actually used. Throughout the working day, pressure that isn’t used is relieved through the vacuum relief valve (VRV).

It’s an inefficient process with tangible side effects. Running at full speed all day consumes a high level of energy while generating a lot of heat and a lot of noise. The heat creates excessive wear on the equipment, compromising reliability and increasing maintenance calls. Plus, additional energy is consumed cooling the equipment room.

The PowerVac G only produces the pressure that’s needed, when it’s needed. That means dentists are buying vacuum pressure on demand. To say the savings are significant is an understatement. The savings on utility costs are remarkable.

How it works

The PowerVac G is programmable up to 18 inches of Mercury and allows the user to define the optimal vacuum level. A pressure transducer monitors the demand for suction. The 3-horsepower, 3-phase motor powers a rotary claw pump. A variable frequency drive (VFD) adjusts the run speed of the motor to maintain the predefined vacuum level. The smallest single unit accommodates up to 5 users and can be upgraded to serve up to 10 users. Dual systems are available and will serve up to 20 users.

The PowerVac G’s computer control provides the intelligence to create just the right amount of suction at the time it’s needed. By controlling the power it provides, the vacuum system reduces a practice’s energy consumption and reduces wear on the system.

The estimated savings generated by the PowerVac G were confirmed in onsite testing with amazing results. The PowerVac G delivered an annual utility savings of more than $3,400 for HealthPark Dentistry, an office with five dentists in Tipp City, Ohio.

“I’m thrilled with the cost savings, thanks to the PowerVac G,” Practice Administrator Jill Nesbitt said. “We cut our electric usage by 30 percent, water usage by 50 percent and sewer cost was down 40 percent. This entire savings and no reduction of suction performance in any of our 13 operatories.

“We expect water and electric costs to continue to rise in the future and feel well prepared to keep our costs manageable. We also see this as an excellent step toward becoming more environmentally friendly.”

Favorable comparisons

When compared to a dual 2-horsepower wet-ring vacuum system, savings with the PowerVac G can reach 83 percent. Those savings would stretch a long way. The water saved in such a comparison could add up to 240,000 gallons a year, or enough to fill an average backyard swimming pool 12 times. The energy savings in this scenario would be enough to power a 47-inch LED television for 76.6 years.

Of course savings statistics vary depending on an office’s current vacuum system, so to take guesswork out of figuring what the PowerVac G might save a practice, Midmark has an interactive savings calculator on the company’s website at bit.ly/PowerVacG. After entering water, sewer and electricity rates and the details of a practice’s current vacuum system the calculator shows operating costs-up to 10 years-for four different types of vacuum systems. The site also features an interactive demonstration of the system’s low volume operation while powering up, powering down and operating.

As dental practices explore the benefits of going green, they want processes that are good for the patient, the environment and the business. The PowerVac G excels on all fronts by delivering optimal performance while remaining environmentally friendly and business smart through reduced energy costs.

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