It hosts 124 stations (every nursing unit has its own); 141 transfer units, 99 inter-zone connectors and 29 blowers. To help alert employees to the arrival of containers, the system has more than three dozen different combinations of chiming tones. [...]
But the technology endures -- and thrives -- in hospitals, thanks in part to more recent improvements in the delivery system. Originally, the tubes would arrive with a thud, a hard landing that could damage sensitive lab samples. Then in the late 1980s engineers figured out a way to control airflow to slow down the containers for a soft landing at their destination station. [...]
Depending on the diameter of a tube, cylinders can reach speeds of up to 25 feet per second, about 18 miles per hour, far faster than any human could ever manage.
Stanford Hospital's Pneumatic Tube Messaging System
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