(19)
(11)EP 3 889 344 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
06.10.2021 Bulletin 2021/40

(21)Application number: 20020201.8

(22)Date of filing:  28.04.2020
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
D06F 95/00(2006.01)
(52)Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC):
D06F 95/004; D06F 95/006
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 31.03.2020 HR 20200526

(71)Applicant: Vuplast d.o.o.
40 000 Cakovec (HR)

(72)Inventor:
  • Marcius, Ivan
    40000 Cakovec (HR)

(74)Representative: Strniscak, Tomislav 
Patent Projekt Ltd. Zagrebtower Gorcica 10, Senkovec
40000 Cakovec
40000 Cakovec (HR)

  


(54)LAUNDRY BAG FOR CONTAMINATED CLOTHING AND OTHER OBJECTS AND WASHING PROCEDURE FOR CONTAMINATED CLOTHING AND OTHER OBJECTS


(57) The laundry bag for contaminated clothing and objects presented here is made of high- or low-density polyethylene or a combination of these, it is waterproof and has at least one soluble seam (100) or more, which open when the laundry bag and the objects it is filled with come in contact with water in the washer. These seamed bags (84) are intended to be placed directly in the washing machine to minimize human contact with contaminated/infectious laundry.
This seamed bag (84) is usually 70 x 110 cm, but it is possible to extrude any size; the thickness of the bag is typically 50 to 60 microns.
The seam (100) on the bag is made with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) thread, and the best results are achieved if the bag on the side where the seam is is folded twice before sewing. Such a sewn bag is so much easier to open in the washing machine than the bag sewn along one side without overlapping.




Description

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION



[0001] This invention relates to bags for the disposal of clothing, footwear, bedding or any type of fabric or other objects to be washed and the process of washing clothing, footwear, bedding or any type of fabric or other objects, especially if it is contaminated objects and clothing.

TECHNICAL PROBLEM



[0002] In view of the increasing demands for the protection of health of the persons handling contaminated clothing and objects, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia has adopted the Croatian National Standard of Washing and Maintenance of Laundry in Clinical and Hospital Health Institutions, which is especially evident in the current fight against the corona virus epidemic. Contaminated or contagious laundry is considered to be any laundry used by a person who has been confirmed or suspected to have an infectious disease, and the laundry contaminated with blood or other body fluids, secretions and/or faeces. This standard prescribes the use of water-soluble bags into which contaminated clothing and objects are disposed when delivered for washing. The problem that arises is that such clothing or objects are wet or moist, and the bag in which such laundry is deposited disintegrates, which creates the possibility of infecting the persons who manipulate the laundry or creates a risk of environmental contamination.
The inventor considered how to design a bag that would store contaminated laundry, clothing and objects that would be moisture resistant and not harmed by wet things that would be placed in such a bag so that it would not disintegrate because of wet or damp objects, laundry and clothing that would be placed in it, while on the other hand such a bag would once break apart when it was put in the washing machine, and the laundry, clothing and objects that would be found in such a bag could be washed.
PVA bags cannot be made in dimensions larger than 60 litres, nor can they be flexo-printed, especially if they are ecological water-based paints. With this invention, the inventor also solved the issue of making a print on the bags used for the disposal of contaminated objects and clothing, which can be put together with these things in a washing machine, and also solved the problem of making a larger volume bag (120 litres or more) in which contaminated objects can be disposed of in a way that the entire bag with all its contents is loaded into the washing machine when washing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0003] The basic standards for laundry washing in the European Union are the RABCs that are in use throughout the healthcare facilities in Europe under EN 14065 RABC standard. The washing standard in question describes the steps that must be taken to minimize the risk of transmission and spread of laundry infection. It is common knowledge that providing clean laundry is a basic requirement for patient care. Namely, laundry from health care institutions that come into direct or indirect contact with people is a possible carrier of infectious diseases, and therefore appropriate procedures should be provided for handling such laundry, as inappropriate laundry operations may put the risk of infection on the staff handling the laundry and washing it.

[0004] Commonly used and contaminated/contagious laundry is stored at the point of occurrence in water-soluble bags and undergoes a washing process in the laundry room to obtain clean laundry. According to existing solutions, contaminated/contagious laundry is stored in a red bag of soluble alginate fibres (made of natural polymers), inside a transparent plastic laundry bag. A water-soluble bag is placed directly in the washing machine to minimize contact and prevent transmission of infection to laundry staff or to prevent contamination of the environment. In the prior art, only the existence of completely water-soluble bags was found, but the inventor has not found any patents similar to the invention disclosed by searching the GOOGL PATENTS, ESPACENET and PATENTOSCOPE patent bases.

BRIEF DECRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0005] The laundry bag for contaminated clothing and other objects presented here is made of high or low density polyethylene or a combination of them, it is waterproof and has at least one soluble seam at one end of the bag or at several ends of the bag, which are dissolved and the bag opens when the filled bag in question comes in contact with the water in the washing machine. These bags are intended to be placed directly with contaminated clothing and objects in the washing machine to minimize human contact with contaminated/infectious laundry.
The bag is usually 70 x 110 cm in size, but it is possible to extrude any size; the thickness of the bag is typically 50 to 60 microns, however other thicknesses are possible as well.
The bag is usually made of polyethylene hose and is sewn with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) thread, and best results are obtained if the bag is folded twice on the sewing side before sewing. The sewn bag in this way opens much faster in the washing machine than the bag sewn along one side without overlapping.
This bag is used to dispose of clothing, footwear, bedding, other objects or any type of fabric that must be washed. After putting it in the bag, close the bag with a plastic strap and place it in the washing machine. Since there is water in the washing machine, the PVA thread is melted in contact with water and the contents of the bag inside the washing machine are dropped when spinning and/or turning the drum. The contents of the bag can thus be washed along with the bag. After the washing process, the rest of the bag is removed from the washing machine and placed in the bag intended for disposal (it is disposed of in the waste), while the already washed laundry, clothes and other objects are further dried, ironed, stacked, etc.
The bag presented here is much better than the bags used now and are made entirely of PVA material because the PVA bag in contact with wet or damp clothing automatically begins to dissolve while the PE-LD or PE-HD bag with a PVA seam presented here is much more resistant when wet textiles are added. The PE-LD or PE-HD material itself is non-degradable in water and the garments can be stored in the bag for more than 2 years.
For example, in hospitals and the epidemiological situation with the coronary virus, the clothing of the police, military, doctors, nurses, patients and all others who are infected or exposed to the contamination area may be put in the bag and in such a way prevent the contact of the virus with the environment. During transport, potentially contaminated clothing does not come in contact with the environment, which prevents the virus from spreading further.
Another version of this bag is a white printed bag used in the tourism sector. Namely, an elegant white bag sewn with PVA thread and a plastic strap is waiting for the guest in the room. The guest can put his clothes in that bag and close it so that none of the hotel staff can see what the guest has put in his laundry. This protects the guest's intimacy. No one has to see what dirty clothes (blood, faeces, etc.) a guest puts in a bag. This not only protects the privacy of the guest, but also the staff in the laundry room who can never know whether the guest's clothes are truly contaminated. So, in the laundry room the complete closed bag is put in the washing machine and after washing clean and disinfected clothes can be removed. In any case, the laundry bags presented here may also be made of other materials suitable for the intended purpose, they should be in good condition and free from defects such as holes or broken parts and must be capable of being properly closed, i.e. have a closing mechanism to ensure that the contents remain in the bag.
The laundry bag for contaminated clothing and other objects displayed here has at least one soluble seam at one end of the bag. Usually such a seam is made with a thread made of polyvinyl alcohol. In the production process, at least one end of the bag that is sewn with polyvinyl alcohol thread is folded before sewing at least once and can be folded twice or more. Common raw materials used to make this bag are mixtures comprising a low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) base and/or high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) to which antistatic, UV stabilizer and yellow or red or white master can be added in varying proportions. The soluble seam can be made on the bottom of the bag or on one side of the bag or on the bottom of the bag and on one side of the bag or on both sides of the bag and on both sides of the bag and on the top of the bag.
The method of washing contaminated laundry, clothing and other objects protected by the present invention is specific in the way that the contaminated clothing and other objects, together with the seamed bag presented are to be washed in a washing (or other type) machine.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0006] The accompanying drawings which are included in the description and which form part of the description of the invention, illustrate the best way to implement the invention so far discussed and help to explain the basic principle of the invention.

Figure 1 Outline of the polyethylene hose fabrication process

Figure 2 Polyethylene sleeve folded in half

Figure 3 Polyethylene sleeve folded into a quarter

Figure 4 View of the bottom of the seamed bag

Figure 5 View of the laundry bag for contaminated clothing

Figure 6 View of the bag with a seam at the bottom of the bag

Figure 7 View of the bag with a seam on one of the longer sides of the bag

Figure 8 View of the bag with a seam on both longer sides of the bag

Figure 9 View of the bag with a seam at the bottom of the bag and on both longer sides of the bag

Figure 10 View of the bag with a seam at the top of the bag and on both longer sides of the bag

Figure 11 View of the bag with a seam at the bottom of the bag and on the right longer side of the bag

Figure 12 View of the bag with a seam at the bottom of the bag and on the left longer side of the bag

Figure 13 View of the disposal bag for the laundry bag for contaminated clothing

Figure 14 View of a polyethylene sleeve folded into a quarter before sewing

Figure 15 Seamed bag after sewing

Figure 16 A polyethylene sleeve of dimensions A and B and a sleeve width folded in half C and into a quarter D

Figure 17 View of the seams that can be made on the bag


A LIST OF REFERENCE SIGNS USED IN THE DRAWINGS



[0007] 

10-material

20-extruder

30-balloon

40-aluminium roller

50-polyethylene hose

60-bomber

70-polyethylene hose reel

80-polyethylene sleeve

81-polyethylene sleeve folded in half

82-quarter-folded polyethylene sleeve

83-bottom of a bag

84-seamed bag

85-bag for disposal of the laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing

90-sewing machine

100-seam


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AT LEAST ONE OF THE INVENTION METHODS



[0008] Material 10 for manufacturing this bag can be a combination of the following raw materials:
  1. 1. To manufacture PE-LD yellow polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 90% to 95% by weight of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizers and 1% to 4% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)
  2. 2. To manufacture PE-LD red polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 90% to 95% by weight of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizers and 1% to 4% of red master (polyethylene dyes)
  3. 3. To manufacture PE-LD transparent polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 80% to 85% by weight of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), from 5% to 15% of high-density polyethylene, from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents and from 0.1% to 2% of UV stabilizers
  4. 4. To manufacture PE-LD red polyethylene with the addition of high-density polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: approx. 5% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), approx. 12% of high-density polyethylene and approx. 3% of red master (polyethylene dyes)
  5. 5. To manufacture PE-LD yellow polyethylene with the addition of high-density polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: approx. 85% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), approx. 12% of high-density polyethylene and approx. 3% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)
  6. 6. To manufacture PE-LD yellow polyethylene without additives, the following recipe shall be used: approx. 97% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) and approx. 3% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)
  7. 7. To manufacture PE-HD yellow polyethylene without additives, the following recipe shall be used: from 95% to 97% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) and from 1% to 5% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)
  8. 8. To manufacture PE-HD red polyethylene without additives, the following recipe shall be used: 95% to 97% of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) and 1% to 5% of red master (polyethylene dyes)
  9. 9. To manufacture PE-HD yellow polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 95% to 97% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), from 0.1% to 1% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 2% of UV stabilizers and 1% to 2% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)
  10. 10.To manufacture PE-HD white polyethylene without UV stabilization, the following recipe shall be used: 95% to 97% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents and 1% to 3% of white master (polyethylene dyes)
  11. 11.To manufacture PE-HD white polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 90% to 95% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizers and 1% to 4% of white master (polyethylene dyes)
  12. 12.To manufacture PE-HD yellow polyethylene the following recipe shall be used: from 90% to 95% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents and from 1% to 3% of yellow master (polyethylene dyes)


[0009] Choosing one of the above recipes determines the desired characteristic of the bag itself, and the raw materials should be mixed in the mixer in proper proportions. The raw materials in granules should be mixed for 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on the amount of the material placed in the mixer. After the material 10 has been mixed, it must be dosed into the container of the extrusion machine 20, depending on the machine settings, to ensure a smooth continuity of material flow through the coil heated at the set temperatures.
Regarding the extrusion of the PE film from which the bag is formed, there are five heating zones on the extrusion machine, adjusting the temperature on the thermostat for each zone. Temperatures range from 180-210°C. During the extrusion process, a balloon 30 of up to 3 meters long is formed. To cool the heated foil aluminium rollers 40 are used. They cool the foil during its journey from the extruder head to the rubberized rollers that form the PE hose by the rolling process. PE hose 50 passes through 10 rollers to cool the hose itself. The total length of the hose is about 10 meters. Towards the end, the hose passes over the bomber 60, which serves as a preparation for polyethylene film for printing. Typically, the width of the hose is 700 millimetres, but there may be some other dimensions.
After the extrusion process, we get the finished bales of polyethylene hoses that are put on the flexographic machine where the desired content with the colours we choose is printed. Once the printing process is complete, we store the bales with a coated polyethylene hose on a Euro pallet.
Figure 1 illustrates a process of making a polyethylene hose 50. The mixed material 10 from which the seamed bag 84 will be made enters the extruder 29 from which a balloon 30 is supplied, which is fed to aluminium rollers 40 which form a polyethylene hose, and is fed by a roller system into the bomber 60, and then a coiled roll of polyethylene hose 70 is formed. The finished formed bag with a seam 84 is shown in Figure 5, while the bottom of the seamed bag 83 is shown in Figure 4. A polyethylene sleeve is placed on the sewing machine 90 folded into a quarter 82, and a seam 100 of polyvinyl alcohol thread is made. Figure 13 shows the disposal bag for laundry bags for contaminated clothing 85.
Figure 16 shows a polyethylene sleeve 80 of indicated dimensions, with A being the length and B the width of the bag. For sewing, it is best to fold the sleeve one time in width before sewing to obtain a polyethylene sleeve folded in half 81 in width C, which is also shown in Figure 2. The polyethylene sleeve folded in half 81 can still be folded so that it is thus possible to fold the same again to obtain a polyethylene sleeve folded into a quarter 82 of width D shown in Figure 3. The polyethylene sleeve 80 can be folded before sewing to form thirds.
The printed bales are placed on a garment machine where in one go the PE hose 50 is cut to 1100 millimetres in length. Considering the fact that in this case the extruded bale is 700 mm wide, we get the following dimension of the polyethylene sleeve 80 - 700x1100 mm, which gives the volume of the future seamed bag 84 of 120 litres. The top and bottom welds are switched off on the bag making machine, which leaves the knife function only. In this way, the bag is not welded to either the bottom or the top, but a polyethylene sleeve 80 is obtained.
After that, the polyethylene sleeves 80 are packed in 10-piece rolls and are fastened with an elastic band. After packing, PE sleeves 80 are removed for sewing where they are repackaged. The entire roll is spread across the table and one by one PE sleeve 80 is repacked as follows:
  1. 1. First, the roll is disassembled to obtain 10 pieces of PE sleeves 80 in total dimensions of 700x1100 millimetres nicely stacked on top of each other.
  2. 2. The PE sleeve 80 is then folded in half in width - (to get 350mm total width of PE sleeve folded in half 81)
  3. 3. Then such folded PE sleeve in half 81 is again folded in width in half (we get 175mm total width of a quarter-folded PE sleeve 82)
Given that we are satisfied with a bag 175mm wide, we fold such a PE sleeve into a quarter 82 to ensure that it remains in position using aids and tools. So, the final result is a quarter-folded PE sleeve 82 1100 millimetres long but 175mm wide. Such quarter-folded PE sleeves 82 are stacked on each other until we have 10 quarter-folded PE sleeves 82 stacked upon one another. The PE sleeves arranged in such a way are then placed on the sewing machine 90.
The sewing machine 90 uses a special polyvinyl alcohol thread (PVOH, PVA, or PVAI). Typically, the thread is 30 to 500 microns in diameter.
The very process of washing contaminated clothing and other objects is carried out in such a way that the contaminated clothing and objects, together with the bag described here, into which they are stored, are put into the washing machine and/or the machine for washing other objects.


Claims

1. A laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects, characterised in that the said laundry bag has at least at one end a soluble seam (100) extending along that end of the bag.
 
2. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to the first patent claim, characterised in that it has at least one soluble seam (100) sewn along one end on the seamed bag (84) by a thread made of polyvinyl alcohol.
 
2. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to the second patent claim, characterised in that it has at least one end of the bag sewn with polyvinyl alcohol thread folded at least once before sewing.
 
3. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to the second patent claim, characterised in that it has at least one end of the bag sewn with polyvinyl alcohol thread folded twice before sewing.
 
4. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to any of the preceding patent claims, characterised in that it is made from the following mixture of raw materials:
bfrom 90% to 95% by weight of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizers and from 1% to 4% of yellow master or from 90% to 95% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agent, 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizer and 1% to 4% of red master, or 80% to 85% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), 5% to 15% of high-density polyethylene, 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agent and 0.1% to 2% of UV stabilizer or approx. 95% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), approx. 12% of high-density polyethylene and approx. 3% of red master or from approx. 85% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD), approx. 12% of high-density polyethylene and approx. 3% of yellow master or from approx. 97% of low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) and approx. 3% of yellow master or 95% to 97% of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) and 1% to 5% of yellow master or 95% to 97% of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) and 1% up to 5% of red master or 95% to 97% of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), 0.1% to 1% of antistatic agent, 0.1% to 2% of UV stabilizer and 1% to 2% of yellow master or 95% to 97% of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, and 1% to 3% of white master or 90% to 95% of high-density polyethylene (PE- HD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents, from 0.1% to 4% of UV stabilizers and from 1% to 4% of white master or from 90% to 95% by weight of high-density polyethylene (PE-HD), from 0.1% to 2% of antistatic agents and 1% to 3% of yellow master.
 
5. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to any of the preceding patent claims, characterised in that the dimension of the said bag is 700x1100 mm.
 
6. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to any of the preceding patent claims, characterised in that it has a soluble seam (100) made on the bottom of the bag or on one side of the bag or on the bottom of the bag and on one side of the bag or both the sides of the bag or on both sides of the bag and on the bottom of the bag or on both sides of the bag and on the top of the bag.
 
7. The laundry bag for washing contaminated clothing and other objects according to any of the preceding claims, characterised in that the said laundry bag thickness ranges from 50 to 60 microns.
 
8. A method of washing contaminated clothing and other objects, wherein the contaminated clothing and objects together with the bag according to any one of the patent claims from 1 to 8 they are disposed in, are put into a washing machine and/or a machine for washing other objects.
 




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