Ask the Cremation Doctor


The Problem With Pouches
October 22, 2010, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Cremation Technology, Green Cremation

For various reasons, bodies sometime arrive at the crematorium in a plastic pouch. This can be problematic for the operator as the high BTU content in plastic can release a lot of energy, causing excess heat and smoke. Now normally, these pouches are 2–4 mils thick (roughly the thickness of a balloon) and because of the low volume of the material, it usually won’t require any special precautions. The case can be cremated with the same settings as those used for a cardboard container.

Thicker pouches of 4 mils or more, such as those used by the military, are an exception. Heavy pouches cremate at an unusually fast rate due to the high BTU content of the pouch itself. Therefore, it is necessary to cremate a heavy pouch the same way you would a large body, even if the body itself is of an average size. Use the timer settings and operating sequence outlined for large bodies. Following this general rule of thumb will help to keep your retorts running clean and efficiently.

One way to take much of the guesswork out of any case is to equip your retort with intuitive logic controls (IPC). Matthews Cremation Division offers the M-Pyre Advanced Control Panel. All you need to do is provide answers to the following questions:

  1. What kind of container are you using?
  2. What is the weight of the body?
  3. What is the gender?
  4. What is the case number of the day?

Based on these parameters, it will set up your retort for the cleanest and most efficient burn. Additionally, it performs a continuous self-diagnostics and will alert the operator if any corrective action is needed. For further information, please visit our M-Pyre page.