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Hospital robots help with everything

They can work 20 hours in a row and transport 3.5 tons of laundry, every day. At the new Karolinska University Hospital building in Solna, up to 30 robots manage all transports. Haben Weldeamanuel is one of the people pulling the strings.

Haben installerer 30 robotter på Karolinska Universitetshospitalets | Coor

The patients rarely see the hospital robots, but down in the culverts under the hospital, humans and machines work side-by-side. If a person walks in front of a robot, it beeps loudly and then says, “You are in the way, please move.”

Robots helping humans

“The hospital robots help us with everything,” says robot technician Haben Weldeamanuel. “This hospital is 330,000 square meters. The carts are heavy to move even when they’re empty – it would have been extremely taxing on the staff to handle all the transports.”

The logistics base is in the Technology Building, where the robots automatically retrieve cargo carts destined for the hospital. The robots have specially dedicated elevators and deposit their cargo in the right location on the right floor, before going back down to the culverts under the hospital.
“In addition to being very efficient, the hospital robots also reduce the risk of infection for patients,” Haben points out. “Without them, there would have been a lot more movement through the wards.”

In the course of a day, up to 1,600 transports occur – of medicines, employee uniforms, consumables and food. Haben and his coworkers make sure that everything runs smoothly.
“For me, it was the technology and the vision of the project that caught my fancy. The hospital has a 40-year plan. Plus, I love logistics – and this is world-class logistics.”

Haben wanted a job that makes a difference

But he also has a personal relationship to the hospital environment.
“When I was little, I got really sick all of a sudden. By the time we got to the hospital I was half-paralyzed, and they admitted me right away for Lyme disease that had spread to my nervous system. I was there for three months.
“That’s why I applied to work at Karolinska University Hospital. I wanted a job that makes a difference – and I know better than anyone how important it is that everything works at hospitals,” Haben says.

Haben Weldeamanuel

Born: 1983.
Occupation: AGV operator at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna. AGV stands for Automated Guided Vehicles.
Background: Previously worked in retail and at Statistics Sweden. Works in logistics for Coor since spring 2017.