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FAQs

Thank you for taking the time to review our FAQ section. We know that by your eagerness to learn more about our industry, you will also benefit others through the knowledge you gain. Just like you, we at Matthews Cremation Division are committed to serving the cremation industry not only through the equipment we design and manufacture but just as importantly, through our commitment to informing and educating those who work in the cremation field.

Cremation - General

Are more people choosing cremation today?

Yes. As of 2010, the number of cremations in the USA as a percentage of total deaths is around 40% with a projection that it will reach almost 60% by 2025. Its rise in popularity can be attributed to ecological and economical factors as well as the variety of choices available to plan funeral or memorial services around the deceased's interests and hobbies. It is recommended that families visit the funeral home and cemetery to learn more about their options. The family should consult together ahead of time to decide on the most appropriate way to memorialize the deceased and to avoid making difficult decisions during a time of grief.

Isn't cremation typically minimal and restrictive to the family?

Cremation can be as simple or as elaborate as the family chooses. In fact, many families choose cremation because it is flexible and offers so many choices. Services, gathering and products can be selected to fit the family's needs as well as the wishes of the deceased.

How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?

A cremation service doesn't have to be any different from a traditional burial service, or it can be very different. Families may choose as much formality or as little as they feel is appropriate. Generally, there are more options when cremation is chosen. Funeral professionals can help families create services that are meaningful and special to celebrate the life of the deceased.

What types of services are available with cremation?

Cremation allows for a variety of services to meet the needs of family, friends and guests. Many choose to have a "traditional" funeral service prior to the cremation, giving family and friends an opportunity to view the deceased and pay their respects. Memorial services, also popular with families choosing cremation, can be held in addition to the funeral service or as a single event in lieu of the traditional funeral. These services are usually held after the cremation either with or without the cremated remains present. Informal gatherings can be held before or after the traditional or memorial service and often include food and refreshment. The process of scattering or placement of the remains in a columbarium or niche also provides an opportunity for loved ones to gather for support and closure.

Isn't cremation an end in itself?

Some people may regard it as such, but most families feel that cremated remains of a loved one should be afforded a resting place that can be identified by a name and dates. This is memorialization. Most families find that a memorial, regardless of its size, serves a basic human need to remember and to be remembered.

What about scattering cremated remains?

This may be legally done in most areas, but it is always best to check the local laws and get permission from the property owner before scattering. When scattering is performed, it is important to remember that it could eliminate the opportunity for other family members and future generations to pay their respects, especially if the scattering site is later developed or sold. It is recommended that some remains be kept and memorialized to allow family members and friends the opportunity to visit their loved ones. Cemeteries and some crematories provide scattering gardens within their dedicated property, often with the option of personal memorials. The use of dedicated property assures the site chosen will not be developed for other use at some future time.

What choices of memorialization are available?

There are a variety of final resting places for cremated remains. The family may choose from a wide variety of urns for permanent containment. The urns may be placed in a building or structure called a columbarium, where single niche space or family units can be selected. Niches are recessed compartments enclosed by either glass protecting the engraved urn or ornamental fronts upon which the name and dates are featured. Of course, family lots may be used and cemeteries often permit the interment of more than one person in an adult space if cremation has occurred. In many cemeteries there are also specially designed areas for this purpose called urn gardens. There are numerous ways families can memorialize the life of their loved ones and Funeral Directors and Cemeterians can help families choose something that is meaningful and special.

Are human remains cremated in caskets or containers?

Yes. A container to enclose the remains is always used. The family may select an appropriate casket or container for the service. This will also serve as the container used for transport to the crematory. Some funeral home will also rent casket for the funeral or memorial service. This type of casket is actually a shell with an inner container to hold the body. After the service, the inner container holding the body is removed and then transported to the crematorium.

Is a casket required for cremation?

No, but if a casket is not selected by the family, the deceased must be placed in a proper container. It is required in order to protect the health and safety of the operator and also to provide proper covering for the body and meet moral codes of respect and dignity. Some crematories will accept metal caskets but most require that the casket or container be made of a combustible material. The body is cremated in the same container it arrives in at the crematory.

What types of caskets/containers are used for cremation?

The same type of caskets used for burials can also be used for cremation provided they are rigid, leak-proof and made from a combustible material. In addition, there are cremation-friendly caskets that are specifically made for that purpose. Plastic and fiberglass caskets or containers may not be used.

What happens to the casket in cremation?

The casket is consumed during the cremation process and comprises part of the cremated remains (ashes) that are returned to the family.

How is cremation accomplished?

The enclosed body is placed in the cremation chamber where through heat and evaporation, it is reduced to its basic elements. These basic elements make up what is known as the cremated remains. After the cremation process is complete (usually around two hours) the cremated remains are processed and either placed in a permanent urn or in a temporary container suitable for delivery to funeral home or family.

What is left after a cremation?

It may surprise many to learn that ashes are not the final result since cremated remains have neither the appearance nor the chemical properties of ash. They are actually bone fragments. Human remains with the container contain approximately 5% (by weight) non-combustible material so depending upon the size of the body, there are normally three to nine pounds of fragments.

What is "processing" of the remains after cremation?

"Processing" is a procedure of taking the cremated human remains (bone fragments) and container ash, removing metallic particles, and reducing them in a specially designed processor to a sand or powder-like consistency. This is done to reduce the volume of the remains and give them a simple appearance suitable for scattering if the family chooses.

Is embalming necessary?

Not necessarily, but factors of time, health and possible legal regulations and religious beliefs might make embalming prior to cremation either appropriate or necessary.

Is a funeral director necessary?

Some governmental jurisdictions require a licensed person to transport a body, obtain the necessary permits and perform the cremation service. Funeral Directors are among those so licensed and are the only ones permitted to perform such services in these jurisdictions. Normally, the funeral director performs the same professional functions for cremation as for any other service.

What does a cremation cost?

Basic crematory charges average around $250.00 per cremation. Most crematories perform their services for funeral directors and handle approximately 425 cases per year.

How does the cost of cremation compare with burial or entombment?

Most families do not select cremation based on costs. It is often chosen for ecological reasons, religious beliefs, simplicity, and because of the many memorialization options available. While the basic charge for cremation is somewhat less than traditional burial, with so many different types of services available to the family, it's not possible to make an accurate comparison.

Is there any element in human remains that would be harmful to the environment as a result of cremation?

USEPA has conducted comprehensive testing of cremators and decided to exempt them from Federal regulations. State environmental agencies are responsible for regulating crematories and have established stringent design, operation and performance standards to ensure the protection of the environment.

Does the EPA regulate human crematories?

As a result of the Clean Air Act of 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency first classified crematories as medical waste incinerators, then later as OSW ("Other Solid Waste") incinerators. In collaboration with USEPA, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) conducted an intensive, costly and aggressive testing project in 1999 on crematories. Testing covered most types of emissions, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide and mercury. As a result of the low emission levels, USEPA decided to exempt human and animal crematories from Federal regulations.

Should human remains embalmed with formaldehyde and then cremated be a concern?

No. Embalming fluids containing formaldehyde react chemically when introduced into the human body thereby eliminating formaldehyde as a remaining component.

What if the formaldehyde did not react with human tissues?

If formaldehyde somehow survives the embalming process and chemical reaction, it would be completely decomposed once subjected to the operating temperatures of the cremator. The decomposition would result in only carbon dioxide and water vapor.

Is there any danger to the environment or the crematory operator when a deceased has been treated with nuclear medicine?

There does not appear to be any risk to the environment or operator under normal conditions when cremating someone who has been treated with radiation therapy. Radioactive implants are usually removed prior to the cremation. Cremation of radio-nuclides, or radioactive "seeds," that might remain in a body doesn't pose a problem due to their relatively short half-life. When performing any cremation, "universal precautions" should always be followed to protect crematory personnel.

What is the typical retention time of cremation equipment?

Retention time refers to the amount of time emissions are held inside the secondary chamber and exposed to the flame of the afterburner for re-burning or "cleaning". Not including the stack that is never used in calculating retention time, most modern and well-designed cremators will have at least a 1.0 second retention time at 1600˚F (870˚C). Higher capacity cremators have a longer retention time due to the increased secondary chamber volume. This allows them to process cases faster.

What is the typical temperature of the secondary chamber in cremation equipment?

Environmental authorities establish specific design, emission and operating standards for cremators, including secondary temperature. Standards require the secondary chamber be preheated to approximately 1400˚F (760˚C). Once the cremation starts, it operates at 1600˚F (870˚C). Existing stack test results clearly demonstrate that this is the optimum temperature to ensure proper combustion of emissions.

What is the optimum temperature for the secondary chamber in order to accomplish the total combustion of smoke and odor?

Most cremation equipment is designed to operate at the optimum temperature of 1400˚F - 1600˚F (760˚C - 870˚C) in the secondary chamber. Stack test results confirm that pollution control efficiency is ideal at this temperature range.

How many cremations are performed in a cremation chamber at a time?

One cremation is completed in each cremation chamber. The remains are swept out before the next one is introduced.

How are the cremated remains retrieved from the cremation chamber?

The cremated remains are raked or swept out of the cremation chamber into a collection pan. Great care is taken to retrieve as much of the cremated remains as is practical. High temperature vacuums are also used in some crematories.

How are the remains identified while in the cremation chamber?

Paper documentation, log books and a stainless steel identification disc with control number are typically used to ensure proper identification. The disc accompanies the remains throughout the process including in the cremation chamber. A more modern method of identification and tracking is to use an electronic bar code scanning system. Similar to tracking Federal Express packages, this offers the highest level of security and protection since every step and process is date and time-stamped with the name of the person performing each part of the process. This ensures proper identification of the deceased prior to cremation or burial.

Does body size have any effect on the cremation process?

Yes, cases larger than 300 lbs. (136 kg) or with a high fat content can create an abnormally high combustion rate and cause visible emissions. This can be controlled by starting with a cool cremation chamber, heating the secondary chamber to 1400˚F - 1600˚F (760˚C - 870˚C), then briefly igniting the human remains and container to allow the body to cremate on its own. Once the energy from the case has been released, normal operating procedures can be resumed.

What is the pounds-per-hour capacity of a crematory?

Human cremators are "batch" units with a typical capacity of 100-150 lbs. (45-68 kg) per hour. Some specialized human cremators may be designed for as much as 250 lbs. (113 kg) per hour. A typical cremation cycle time is two (2) hours.

Can body pouches be cremated?

Yes, however the thickness of the pouch can affect the rate at which combustion occurs due to the high BTU (energy) content of plastic. Thin pouches can be cremated without any change in operating procedure. Thick pouches (4 mil or more) should be cremated using the same procedures for cremating a large body.

Can plastics be cremated?

Because of their high BTU content, plastics burn too rapidly and can cause visible emissions. Small amounts of plastic are generally not a problem for the after-chamber to handle, but all unnecessary plastics should be removed before cremation.

Do crematory owners perform services for others?

Almost 75% of crematories perform services for other funeral homes or cremation societies.

Who operates cremation equipment?

Cremation equipment is operated by trained personnel at the affiliated business (funeral home, cemetery, cremation society, and other industry service providers). Some cremator personnel undergo additional advanced training and are certified operators.

How are the operators trained?

Typically, operators are trained by the equipment manufacturer's personnel. Some states require crematory personnel to be certified and these seminars are available through Matthews, CANA and ICCFA. Please see our latest schedule of classes at http://www.matthewscremation.com/education/operator-certification.aspx

How many cremation units are there at each location?

Approximately 53% of all crematories have more than one cremation unit at their location.

Do crematories cremate/incinerate items other than human remains and their containers?

Crematories should never cremate anything other than human remains and an appropriate casket or container. There are also laws prohibiting crematoriums from doing so by the given environmental or licensing agency.

What are "viewing areas" in crematories?

Viewing areas provide a comfortable and warm place where a family can witness the placement of their loved into the cremator. Over 65% of crematories provide this option to their families.

Who purchases and owns cremation equipment?

Most cremation equipment is associated with businesses such as a funeral homes, cemeteries, burial vault companies or cremation societies. Many of these are privately owned, small businesses or operate as a non-profit.

What is the typical cost of a human crematory?

There are different costs associated with a crematory installation above and beyond the equipment including the installation and applicable sales tax. Taking into consideration all the aspects of a project, a fully equipped, modern and well-designed crematory is about $100,000.

Equipment

How large of an area do I need to accommodate an MCD Cremator?

We recommend a minimum area of 16' x 25' with a 9'-10' ceiling, but consideration should be given to future growth and expansion as well. We can provide assistance in crematory floor plan layouts.

How simple is it for one person to operate an MCD Cremator?

It is one of the simplest units on the market to operate. Our units are equipped with the M-pyre Advanced Intuitive Logic Operating Control System. Once an operator enters their identification code, M-pyre will guide the operator through set-up by asking four basic questions regarding the case. By answering the questions using drop-down menus on the high definition color touch screen, the system automatically sets the appropriate cycle time.

What permits and approvals will I need?

You will need local planning and zoning approval. We offer the most comprehensive support and experience supporting our customers when zoning approvals are needed. Additionally, you will need building and environmental permits. We will provide the appropriate environmental application forms for your area, complete with engineering calculations and an emissions test summary on the unit purchased. We can also direct you to the appropriate office to obtain the permit or acceptance which we guarantee. Lastly, you may need a professional license to operate a crematory. Check with you state regulators for licensing requirements.

What about noise? Will the operation of the cremator interfere if a service is being held nearby?

No. Noise or decibel levels are largely influenced by the construction materials that comprise the operations area. We incorporate our exclusive "Whisper Shield" Blower Motor Enclosure for maximum reduction of noise, regardless of the room construction. We are the only manufacture to have our equipment's noise emissions tested by an independent testing laboratory under actual conditions. The decibels recorded were one half of OSHA's permissible noise levels for 8 hours of continuous exposure.

How safe are MCD cremation units?

Each unit currently manufactured by MCD has earned the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing for safety. Every model has been thoroughly tested to meet the most stringent standards set for this type of equipment. MCD understands the concerns of our clients and has taken every precaution to insure the safety of the equipment, facility and the operator. MCD takes pride that our equipment incorporates many safety features beyond the UL requirements.

How difficult is it to install an MCD Cremator?

Our equipment is very easy to install. We provide detailed, easy-to-follow installation instructions and a custom checklist for your contractor(s) use. Your unit will be constructed to your exacting requirements based on this checklist. If there are any issues during installation, our teams of production professionals are always available to answer any questions your installers may have.

Where do I receive training to operate and maintain my MCD cremation unit?

Once your unit has been installed, MCD will send a factory-trained technician to your location to help you start up operations. The technician will inspect the unit for proper installation, make recommendations and instruct you and your staff on the proper operation of the unit. Our highly trained technician will teach your personnel by processing your first cremation(s) with them so that any operational questions can be answered during start up. After that, your personnel can utilize our 24-hour service line at (800) 327-2831 for any questions that may come up after their initial training. Training seminars are held several times per year at our MCD training facility, as well as throughout North America. Click here to consult our schedule.

What materials are used in the construction of your stacks?

The outer shell is constructed of 12 gauge stainless steel. The inside is lined with a 4.5" thick, high-temperature insulating refractory castable. This means longer life, greater thermal efficiencies and safety. Most other manufactures use a black iron, carbon steel outer casing with only 2"-3" of lining which will require additional maintenance. These types of stacks are also known for a shorter life span and tend to be considerably less safe and thermally efficient.

Do you use 6" Firebrick?

We do not, and for a good reason. The thickness of a brick is only a part of the equation when constructing a unit. We incorporate a 4 ½" high-temperature, first-run firebrick. The firebrick is backed by up to 6" of insulating refractory which is encased in a circulated air-cooling chamber. The total thickness of the wall is 12". This results in greater thermal efficiencies and longer refractory life. The outside skins of our units are cool to the touch, whether it is the first cremation of the day or fourth. This keeps the area cooler and increases fuel efficiency. A 6" firebrick will not release enough of the absorb energy between cremations. This results in the unit running hotter and in some cases causing back-pressure problems.

People today are getting bigger. Can I cremate large bodies?

Absolutely, our large cremation chamber will accommodate large or obese remains. Certain procedures should be followed when handling a case like this to ensure that the cremation will take place in a safe and efficient manner. We recommend that you consult one of our experienced technicians and they will be happy to walk you through the process. This service is available any time of the day, 365 days a year, just call (800) 327-2831.

What about your service?

We currently have seven service centers strategically located throughout North America and sixteen factory-trained service technicians. All technicians have been cross-trained and are able to perform a wide spectrum of services, from diagnostics to refractory repairs. This eliminates the need for two separate groups of individuals to perform service and repair, saving you time and money.

How are fluids controlled?

All of our models are constructed with a "Hot Hearth" cremation chamber floor. This simply means the cremation chamber floor is also the roof of our large secondary chamber. The underside of the floor is heated by the re-burning or cleansing of the products of combustion in the secondary chamber, eliminating the potential of grease or fluid runoff.

How efficient are your units?

Our equipment is very efficient and there are several reasons why. New technologies, such as our M-pyre Intuitive Logic Operating Control System automatically establishes settings for the most efficient production cycle. Our superior temperature control system has a high temperature limit, preventing the equipment from overheating. Additionally, we've spent 30 years perfecting our refractory design and selecting the right materials, making MCD the leader in cremation equipment.

Service & Repair

Does MCD provide a warranty with all repair work?

Yes, MCD provides a one-year warranty against workmanship and material defects, F.O.B. Orlando.

How often should I have my cremation equipment serviced and inspected?

Refer to your owner's manual to perform the weekly, monthly and quarterly items listed in the preventative maintenance schedule. We recommend an annual service and inspection by our factory-trained technicians as well. Your case volume and equipment age will determine the frequency.

What does a service and inspection of my equipment include?

Service and inspection include a 33-point mechanical check, complete refractory inspection, calibration of fuel & air ratios to each burner, primary component adjustments and/or cleaning, door chain and hydraulic inspection and review of operating procedures. To schedule an appointment, please call (800) 327-2831.

What is refractory?

Refractory is the material used to construct the interior of the cremation equipment. It consists of various high temperature brick, castables, mortars and insulation.

How do I decide if my equipment is in need of refractory repairs?

Review your owner's manual to see if the condition of your refractory is described. If there is further concern or questions, contact your regional service & repair representative to discuss the condition. Photographs of the area in question may be requested. It may also be recommended that a qualified technician inspect the equipment in person. Based on the information given, we will provide a complete report with recommendations.

How much money should I allocate for future maintenance, service and repair?

We recommend budgeting $14.00 per cremation.

Should I keep spare parts on hand?

Yes. Having spare parts on-hand will minimize valuable downtime. Contact your regional service & repair representative to determine what parts are recommended for your make and model.

Where are your technicians and service centers located?

MCD's networks of service centers with qualified technicians are located throughout North America. Call your MCD service representative at (800) 327-2831 for the location nearest you.

Are there any upgrades or current modifications for my cremation equipment that will improve its performance and safety?

Yes. Our engineers and research/development teams are continuously developing new products and features for cremation equipment. Our most recent improvements and developments include: Sentry door lock system, door chain and sprocket modification and upgrade, throat and hearth air control upgrade, digital panel timer upgrade and digital temperature control upgrade. Contact your regional service and repair representative to determine what options may be available for your make and model.

Are your factory technicians qualified to service & repair any make or model cremation equipment?

Yes, we cross train all of our technicians to service and repair every make and model before going out on the road to service our customers. Each technician must attend and graduate from our in-house "MCD University". These courses consist of a combination of classroom instruction, troubleshooting and travel with a senior technician. This is followed up with annual service meetings that provide each technician with the latest information on new components and technology.

Supplies

What will my freight cost?

Freight costs are determined by size, weight and zip code. With this, we can provide a quote within several hours.

Can we drop ship?

Yes. We can ship to one address and bill another.

What is the face shield cover made from?

The face shield is made from scratch resistant, lightweight clear polycarbonate. The shield is covered with a thin layer of gold that reflects over 99% of infrared and ultra-violet radiation.

How fast can I receive identification discs?

You must be very careful NOT to run low on this item. Because of customizing, these items are only printed TWICE a month. You MUST allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. Keep track of how many you use in a week and mark your calendar four weeks before you estimate that you will run out. Call and place your order with your representative at that time.

How often should you change the filter in the ventless processing station (VPS-1)?

Remains or residue that collects on the filter should be "tapped" out and placed into the urn after each use. Filters should be replaced after approximately 30 uses with a new factory filter.

Does MCD have any other emblems that aren't listed in the catalog?

Yes, we have a wide variety of available emblems. If you don't see what you are looking for, ask your representative.

Can I personalize an urn with a picture?

Yes, we have several urns that can be laser engraved with a photographic likeness.

I need a professional way to display my urn assortment. Does MCD have any suggestions?

Yes, we offer a free-standing, lighted display tower that requires only 4' of space. We also have a slat-wall display in maple melamine in 48" x 45" sections. Both can be easily shipped and assembled.

How quick can I expect my urn order to arrive?

You can expect up to five business days depending on your geographical location and which urn(s) you order. We have four warehouses that stock permanent and temporary urns and ship via FedEx Ground. We can also ship FedEx 2-day or FedEx overnight if requested. Shipping charges will be added to the order amount.

Do you have the urn in stock?

We make every attempt to maintain a full stock of urns.

Do you engrave urns?

Yes, allow a minimum of 72 hours.

Technical Support

My burners will not fire. What can I do?

All safe operation conditions must be present before the burners will fire. Try the following steps in order.

Check the temperature on the temperature controller's digital readout. If it is too high, the Safe Run light goes off while the unit cycles the burners off automatically. If this is the case, no action is necessary. If not, make sure the front door is fully closed.

Clean the air proving switch. There is a small hole in this switch where dirt can collect and shut the light off.

The cremation (or afterburner) burner will not fire, and the burner's Reset light is illuminated. What do I do?

An illuminated reset light indicates that the burner tried to light, but failed.

First, try to re-ignite the burner by opening the control cabinet and pressing the reset button on the failed burner's control.

If the burner still will not light it's possibly due to a dirty flame sensing device. Clean the ultraviolet sensor or flame rod and try to re-ignite the burner.

If the burner again does not light, clean and reset the burner's spark plug.

If the problem continues, call us at (800) 327-2831 and we will be happy to walk you through the procedure of swapping combustion controls.

The burner's Reset light is not lit and the cremation burner will not fire. Is something wrong?

Check the Pollution Alarm light. If it is illuminated, the Pollution Control System has shut down the burner temporarily while it corrects the high opacity in the exhaust. The PCS will allow the burner to re-ignite automatically once the pollution condition is over. No action is necessary. Note: An alarm buzzer may also accompany the Pollution Alarm light.

The blower will not come on and the machine will not start. What is wrong?

Check the main circuit breaker to see if it needs resetting.

If this is not the problem, open the control cabinet and press the reset button on the blower motor starter.

If there is still no power, use a voltmeter and check the voltage coming into the control cabinet and at the blower motor starter. Call us at (800) 327-2831 and ask for Technical Services if you need help with this procedure.

The door will not go up, but the pump motor is working. How do I get the door up?

If the pump is subjected to cold temperatures, the fluid in the hydraulic line thickens and will need to be heated. Put a space heater or drop light near the hydraulic pump. Also, check the fluid level in the hydraulic motor reservoir; it should be filled to within 3/4" of the top. Use any clean hydraulic oil with a viscosity range of 150-300 SSU at 100˚F (38˚C). There could be dirt in the "door down" solenoid. Press and hold door down button while pressing up button to try and clean debris.

The digital temperature readout shows 2424 degrees and IN1 Rang, IN1 Fail or SN SR. What do I do?

The thermocouple, the "thermometer" for the interior of the cremator, could need repair or replacement. Follow this procedure and check after each step to see if the problem is solved.

Check the wiring from the thermocouple to the digital temperature controller. Make sure all connections are tight, and that no wires are touching — this grounds out the thermocouple and displays 2424° or 'SN SR' on the temperature controller.

Loosen, but do not remove the two screws on the thermocouple cap and remove the cap. Check that the yellow wire is connected to the positive terminal and the red wire is connected to the negative terminal just inside the cap. A + sign is etched into the insert for the yellow wire.

Remove and inspect the thermocouple assembly. Disconnect yellow and red wires, then disconnect the conduit and pull back yellow and red wires.

While wearing gloves, inspect the white casing of the thermocouple for ruptures or cracks. Check that the rounded end is not burnt or damaged. Replace if damaged.

With your gloves still on, remove the thermocouple insert by loosening the retaining screw. Look for broken beads on the insert, but pay particular attention to where the two rods twist and join at the end just past the beads. Look for cracking or separation points between the two rods. If the rods are split or burnt apart, the insert needs to be replaced.

The Pollution Control System has activated, but there are no visible emissions. Why?

It is probably dirty or misaligned and is picking up a "false" pollution condition. Using a clean, dry cloth, carefully clean the transmitter bulb (spotlight) and the receiver lens. Also clean the 3" square filter which is hanging from a chain from the transmitter. You may use cleaning liquids to clean this filter. To adjust the PCS, have the cremator running, but DO NOT perform a cremation! Hold the clean square filter in front of the hole in the stack and turn the knob on the back of the transmitter counterclockwise, dimming the light until the buzzer sounds or the pollution alarm indicator light illuminates. Then slowly turn the knob clockwise until the buzzing stops. The PCS should now be set for 15% opacity.

If you have a Omron H2C pollution timer, it will be located inside the control panel. Set the timer to zero and turn the power and pollution switch to the on position. The pollution transmitter light should be on even though the blower is not. Hold the clean square filter in front of the hole in the stack and turn the knob on the back of the transmitter counterclockwise, dimming the light until the buzzer sounds or the pollution alarm indicator light illuminates. Then slowly turn the knob clockwise until the buzzing stops. The PCS should now be set for 15% opacity. Go back to the control panel and reset the pollution timer to three minutes.

How do I cremate an infant or stillborn case?

We recommend the use of an infant cremation pan. Offset the pan so that the full force of the cremation burner does not scatter the remains throughout the chamber. If your machine is so equipped, try to perform this cremation using only the ignition burner or low fire mode of the cremation burner.

How do I cremate an overweight case?

For detailed instructions, refer to your owner's manual or call the factory. The principal to remember when cremating an overweight case is that the body itself, with its high BTU content, contains much of the fuel required for the cremation. Therefore, use of the cremation burner can be somewhat curtailed and once ignited; the case will generally support its own combustion. The cremation chamber should be cool before cremating an overweight case. It should be the first cremation of the day or the first case within 12 hours. The goal is to not overfire with the cremation burner, especially at the beginning of the cremation. Once the case has ignited, the cremation burner should be shut off.

When do I need to replace the blades on my ECP-200?

There are 5" between the center of the vertical shaft and the end of the ECP-200 blade. The final 1" of the blade turns upward. If the blades are worn past this 1" mark or only a bit of the blade that turns upward is remaining, you should probably replace the blades. Another method of judging when to replace the blades is by how much time it takes to process the remains. With new blades you need to run the ECP-200 only 15-20 seconds for a full process. As the blades wear, additional time is needed for a full process. When the blades have worn down to the point where it takes one minute to process the remains, you should consider buying a new set.

What suggestions can you give me to ensure the longest life of my Power-Vac system and clean out brushes?

Cooling down the unit to 500˚F-700˚F (260˚C - 371˚C) between cases is the most important thing you can do. These items are heat-resistant, but not indestructible.

What are the typical stack emissions from a cremation system?

The emissions from cremation equipment are not much different than any other fuel-burning device. The two most common pollutants from the cremation process are particulates and carbon monoxide (CO). Particulates are tiny particles of dust, soot and ash resulting from combustion of the human remains, container and fuel. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the combustion. The typical quantity of particulates captured from an entire cremation would be the size of a deck of cards. One of the more stringent emission standards for CO is 100ppm. A well-designed and operated cremation system averages less than 15ppm. So, as with any equipment, regular maintenance and proper operations are critical to minimizing our environmental footprint.

What is the impact of PVC from a bone donor's body being cremated? Are there allowable limits on the amount that can be present before unwanted emissions become a problem?

PVC is a chlorinated plastic material which, when cremated, adds to the formation of hydrogen chloride, a pollutant that contributes to acid rain. All chlorinated plastics including PVC should be avoided. Caution should be exercised when knowingly cremating plastics so these cases can be processed as the first of the day, much like an oversized body. Federal standards do not address chlorinated plastic in cremation and few states regulate it. A rule of thumb would be that the plastic content should not exceed more than 5% of the total charge weight.

What are the proper disposal methods for implants, joints and other items such as artificial limbs, various implants and pacemakers?

Some devices may be donated before the cremation by the family or authorizing agent to organizations that can re-use or recycle them. These may include artificial limbs, pacemakers and other prosthesis. Post-cremation, some artificial joints made from special alloys may have value to a recycling agency. Any remaining and unwanted post-cremation prosthetic debris will be most effectively disposed of by using a licensed disposal company. All other metallic debris can usually be disposed of through the normal waste stream of the business. It is strongly recommended that you check with the regulating agencies for crematories in your state as the final authority.

What should a crematory operator do in order to properly prepare for a cremation?

Some practical steps to consider in preparing for a cremation:

Confirm that all authorizations and paperwork are complete.

Using your internal identification system, confirm that the identity of the remains is correct.

Review the authorization for indication of any implants and how you plan to accommodate them.

Confirm that the final disposition of the cremated remains has been selected by the family.

Confirm that the required waiting time has been achieved.

Evaluate the actions you are about to take to be sure you are utilizing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Confirm that the ash pan has been emptied from the previous cremation.

Confirm that the cremation chamber has been swept clean from the previous cremation.

Top 10 reasons that cremation should be considered environmentally friendly and "green".

Cremated remains occupy little, if any, permanent ground space.

Cremation requires little or no fertilizer or pesticides.

Cremation does not impact ground water.

The process of cremation eliminates diseases.

Cremation requires lower maintenance resulting in less environmental impact.

Cremation families choose more "tree-friendly" green containers for cremation.

Cremation families choose cremation containers that utilize less paints and solvents.

Cremation containers require less industrial resources to produce.

Cremation systems utilize internal heat recovery to maximize the energy usage for the process.

Cremation systems by design are very efficient, being low emissions producers.
Is there any way to convert my lift table from a pump to battery operated?

Many of our newer models can be upgraded. This can easily be installed by our technician during a scheduled visit for a nominal charge. Ask your service representative for further information.

Is "retort" the correct term to use when referring to cremation equipment?

Most cremation equipment falls into one of two types: In-Line or Retort. "Retort" is the correct term for a specific type of cremation equipment, also called a "hot hearth." If you are unsure, an easy way to determine the design is to look at the loading height. "In-Line" designs have lower loading heights that are 24 to 28 inches from floor level and are usually "cold hearths." This means that the exhaust gases do not flow back beneath the hearth where the body is placed. Retort designs usually have higher loading levels to make room for the exhaust gasses that flow back underneath the hearth. These "retort" designs typically have lower fuel usage, quicker cremation times and better environmental performances.

During the winter, do I really need the fresh air louvers in the wall of the building open while the equipment is operating? It can get really cold.

In a word, yes. Cremation equipment is a combustion device that requires a lot of fresh air to operate properly. Air is required for the combustion process as well as for the cleansing of the by-products of combustion (aka smoke). Fresh air is also necessary for the cooling functions of the cremation equipment. Most crematories are designed with fresh air louvers in the side wall so the equipment can "pull" air from the outside and into a central fan unit that distributes it to the various burners and air nozzles, helping them to operate properly. During the cooler months, operators are often tempted to close these louvers or set something in front of them to keep the cold air from entering the room. This may make the room more comfortable, but a lack of fresh air can slow the cremation process, increase fuel usage and create smoking conditions during operation. Depending on the installation, it is possible to direct-duct the air from the outside to the fan inlet without it impacting the temperature of the room. Not only does this keep the workspace more comfortable but it tends to quiet the fans as well. Contact your equipment manufacturer to go over your options. In the meantime, keep those louvers open and don't stack anything in front of them that would impede the flow of air.

Can the outside temperature impact my fuel supply in any way?

Yes, cooler weather can impact both natural and LPG fuel supplies. As outside temperature decreases, the demand for heating fuel increases. As such, if you are on a natural gas supply with relatively low pressures, you may see a further drop in pressure as demand increases. The reduction in pressure will reduce the fuel flow to the burners, resulting in longer cremations, more fuel consumption and potential smoking from the stack during the cremation. Your natural gas supplier can change your supply pressures and regulators, which will help to correct this problem. If your fuel supply is LPG (bottled gas) temperature can have an impact as well. LPG is loaded into the tanks as a liquid. Tanks are only filled about 80%, allowing space inside the tank for the liquid fuel to vaporize. These vapors are what the cremation equipment uses for combustion, so when the air temperature drops, it slows down the vaporization process. This situation results in less fuel for the cremator and the same problems mentioned above for natural gas. Some colder weather LPG installations have "vaporizers" installed. This device, much like a hot water heater takes the liquid LPG and heats it to a vapor without dependence on the "vapor space" inside the tank or outside temperatures. If you suspect you may be experiencing some of these cold weather problems, call your manufacturer and fuel supplier for guidance.

Can I "catch" anything from the cremated remains (ashes)?

Completely cremated remains have been exposed to temperatures in excess of 1600° F (870˚C). In the "Mass Fatality Management for Incidents," a document prepared by the US Army and the Department of Justice, cremation and the destruction of both biological and chemical agents were discussed. It states, "In general, highly infectious remains should be handled as little as possible, packaged and cremated, as cremation is the only option that completely mitigates any further spread of the biological agent." They go on to say, "Cremation is the only option whereby remains are considered free from contamination and can be safely returned to the family with no additional constraints." As such, properly cremated human remains pose no biological threats to operators. This does not eliminate the need for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). Even without concerns of biological contamination, operators still need to protect themselves from potential respiratory irritations that dust in cremation process can cause. Operators need to wear an adequate particle mask to protect their nose and mouth from inhalation of dust particles. Wearing gloves will minimize skin contact with the dust and the chance of transferring it from hands to other parts of the operator's body.

What are the current regulations regarding mercury emissions from cremation equipment?

Neither the federal government, nor any of the states have regulations concerning the emissions of mercury from cremation equipment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has confirmed recently (2007) that they do not anticipate revisiting this issue for cremation. Testing and data provided by USEPA confirms that mercury emissions from cremation equipment are viewed as insignificant. Mercury is only released in the cremation process if the mercury is introduced into the cremation container. The most likely source of mercury for cremation equipment would be silver amalgam dental fillings.

Are dental fillings containing mercury of concern at this point in time?

While it was decided there was no need for federal regulations concerning mercury emissions from cremation equipment, we should always strive to be good environmental neighbors. Fortunately, the marketplace is reducing this source of emissions on its own. The use of silver amalgam fillings containing mercury has dropped approximately 30% over the last 10 years. It is believed that the use of this material peaked in 1985 and has steadily declined since. What has driven this favorable trend? In a word: Vanity. Non-mercury dental fillings are more attractive and relatively cost competitive.

What are the environmental people referring to when they discuss "primary and secondary" chambers?

A primary chamber refers to the cremation chamber where the human remains and container are loaded for the cremation process. The cremation is performed using a temperature-controlled burner and air jets that stimulate the cremation process. The secondary chamber is sometimes referred to as the after chamber. This is where the gases from the cremation process, called "products of combustion", are subjected to adequate temperature and turbulence for typically one (1) second or more for cleansing before they are exhausted into atmosphere.

What is Resomation?

Resomation (aka BIO Cremation) is a new term for a process known as alkali hydrolysis. This process involves breaking down organic molecules to their basic components using a combination of a high pH solution, heat and pressure. The final product is a sterile, aqueous fluid and bone fragments that can be dried, pulverized and returned to the bereaved just as with a traditional cremation. The remaining fluid can be neutralized for embalming fluid and other chemicals (such as chemotherapy) to balance the pH before transfer the water treatment facility. This process is the latest in green cremation as it requires much less energy and minimizes emissions admitted into the atmosphere. For further information, please go to http://www.biocremationinfo.com.