Sharp finishing15 October 2020
Automation, on a grand scale and across all sectors, is the key word in feeding and folding technology, as Kathy Bowry finds out.
Automation is the buzzword for large textile rental laundries in all sectors and great steps forward have been made in fine honing technology at the end of the laundry process. Feeders and folders have been engineered and digitised to the nth degree as manufacturers become ever more inventive in this area.
According to Girbau’s feeders and folders product owner Marc Vilar Rosanas: “We are all living globally, rather than nationally, in a weird year full of unexpected issues but, at Girbau, we have been working hard on many new projects despite the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Rosanas explains that Girbau’s R&D department has been designing and developing a new range of feeders with a couple of them soon to be released to the market in the fourth quarter of 2020. “We are talking about the new DRE and DRC models that will join our current portfolio of machines, DRM+, DRBS and DRF.”
He explains that both DRE and DRC models are automatic feeders designed to widen the company’s feeder portfolio range, adding new performances. “It’s important to highlight, in particular, our new patented cornerless feeding system, which brings new cutting-edge technology that will allow our customers to improve production with the lowest operational cost.
“Like any of our products, Girbau has designed and built new DRE and DRC based on four main pillars: Safety, Reliability, Productivity and Technology.
“Our commitment to safety goes beyond the machine design; we want our customers and users to have a good working experience with our machines and at the same time not have to worry about operational safety. Our machines will take care of them, that’s why our machines are the safest in the market. Girbau machinery is synonymous with reliability and productivity; they are the foundation of our company and the reason why many customers believe in and chose our products to start, grow or improve their laundry businesses. The new DRE and DRC are the perfect example of it,” says Rosanas. “Girbau will present great innovations in feeders and folders during the coming months of 2020 and during 2021. We encourage you all to keep an eye out!”
Fintec, manufacturer and supplier of the Vario Fold range of folders explains that the company has embraced digitalisation in a big way (see page 35). For example, the VarioFold TR 45 handles all the timeconsuming operations of folding, sorting and de-stacking of dry laundered items in various formats (bath sheets, sauna towels, hand towels, woollen blankets, nappies, laundry bags, and so on.).
Fintec’s Ann-Kathrin Henkel explains: “Another big advantage in the field of user friendliness is that the area of the cross folding is visible through the windowed frame. Our machine works exclusively with blade/sword folding, not with air. The reason for that is, that air is more cost intensive even though the quality of sword folding is much higher.”
The fan on the inlet sucks in the lint, which gets transported through a tube into a box. This can easily be emptied by opening it like a drawer under the inlet table.
Both, the Vario F 85 and the TR 45, have a feature for thickness compensation, which enables the processing of really thin items as well as really thick ones. On the TR 45 this also helps to process, for example, laundry bags with cords and cord stoppers without problems. If the customer already uses machines from another manufacturer with a common conveyor belt, the machines can communicate with the existing system and can therefore be integrated easily.
If an item gets stuck, it is possible to control the discharging of this item via the terminal, which is important to us to meet high safety standards. Therefor opening the machine to get it out by hand is only necessary in very rare exceptional cases.
“To optimise the user friendliness and minimise downtimes we are currently developing the localization of occurring problems in more detail by for example using visual signals and better illustration in the terminal display. In addition, we are improving our preventive maintenance system which also works with visualization and notifications. As we already do know, we work with visual language to simplify the operation for this too.”
Meanwhile, Bianca Budde, marketing manager for Jensen Germany has a story to tell about the new Jensen Katana, which was presented at the Clean Show in New Orleans last year. The kit has been installed at the family-run Sicking laundry in Munster where it has been operating at full speed since February. Brothers Moritz and Alexander Wildschütz who run the laundry admit to being impressed and delighted with the folding quality.
The laundry’s main clients include top end hotels, followed by retirement homes and nursing facilities, as well as large industry and small workshops. The business, which has been going since 1923, is one of the leading laundries in Münster and North Rhine-Westphalia and was keen to grow as Moritz Wildschütz explains. “In 2008 we wanted to continue our healthy expansion. Then last year we bought a new larger and more modern facility near our laundry to expand our state-of-the-art plant. This places us in an optimal position for the future and allows us to continue to offer our customers the absolute highest quality and reliability, using the very latest technology.”
The Katana, with five inline stackers and a crossfold station, is part of a complete finishing line with the equally new Jensen KliQ feeder and a Jensen EXPress ironer. “It is a compact solution that will pay for itself quickly,” says Budde, “thanks to reduced labour costs for sorting. This folder takes up far less space than a conventional folder with several stackers arranged on the side. Thanks to the speed and simplicity of the system, the laundry can process 350 additional pieces of linen in the existing finishing line every day at no additional cost, based on 1000 pieces per hour in two shifts. The results for hotel and restaurant linen are astonishing.”
Budde says the new KliQ feeder, specially developed to serve across the healthcare, hospitality, and restaurant linen sectors, ensures a high and uniform finishing quality. “A newly designed transfer beam with a mechanical holding bar replaces the vacuum section, reducing the service requirements for cleaning to a minimum. The new spreading clamp is a masterpiece of operator convenience and greater productivity.”
With the newly designed, superquick vacuum box, the trailing edge of the linen is pulled into the vacuum box faster, shortening the cycle time. “The mechanical holding bar of the KliQ feeder ensures high and uniform feeding quality and reduces the maintenance requirements over time, as it works without vacuum suction,” she says.
Meanwhile, Kannegeisser’s tells LCNi: “Kannegiesser designed the Synchro and the SynchroRemote feeders to be the perfect answers to the rising daily demands of customers. The feeding machines allow textile services to offer high quality and diversity at the same time. The Synchro can process healthcare sheets and heavy bedlinen as well as high-quality tablecloths – and it could not be easier to operate. The special strength of the SynchroRemote is to process large items such as table linen, king sheets and king duvet covers – which it does with high performance and productivity.
As for the Servotronic model, he explains that the core task of a feeding machine is the spreading of laundry items. To allow more dynamic and precise work than ever before, Kannegiesser developed ServoTronic. The combination of servo electronics, servo drive and sensor technology enables high acceleration and a precise approach to the end position, thus shortening cycle times and at the same time providing gentle laundry treatment. In total, ServoTronic increases the machine performance by up to 30% compared with conventional drive systems. It offers simultaneous spreading and measurement, fast acceleration, allowing dynamic workflow, high top speed, offering higher performance and trong deceleration – essential for accuracy.”
Felix Göhner, technical marketing corporate communications executive for Kannegeisser, says the innovative design of the SynchroClamp allows reliable spreading and depositing of a wide variety of articles. The synchronic process of handling the textile articles is the key to quality and process reliability.
Göhner explains that customers are asking for more productivity, as well as uncompromising quality and reliability.” Those demands affect all processes within a modern laundry business. Especially in the healthcare and hospitality sector, they are gaining more importance day by day. Therefore, the market is always looking for machines that can handle big amounts faster than ever before.”
Kannegiesser recommends its partners to consider the whole process. This means that the rising productivity of feeding machines has to be matched by the folding machines. They should be extra fast, always available, and deliver the highest quality for a wide range of different articles. The company developed the CFM folder which is tailored to meet the launderer’s daily needs: to handle especially large amounts of different articles. Requiring less process time than others while offering the best folding quality for single and king-sized items, from polycotton to cotton.
Kannegeisser says the CFM’s secret to achieving reproducible, outstanding folding quality and a consistent workflow is ‘FlowControl’, the combination of many technical key features to ensure the best folding results without interruption through permanent mechanical control of the article. All cross fold stations are equipped with a mechanical folding blade and reversing belts to always ensure an accurate and safe folding result.
Throughout the folding process, the Kannegiesser roller-belt-principle always ensures automatic thickness adaption without the need for any mechanical or pneumatic devices. High folding accuracy is guaranteed due to measuring wheels. In combination with photocells, they always ensure the measuring of the correct item length. Unaligned items coming out of the ironer will be detected by photocells for an automatic reject before the item enters the cross fold section – thereby avoiding any jams. The air blast folding principle provides exact folding results for different articles applying high process speed and supports excellent folding and stacking.
Foltex, which classes its products as ‘Simple, Reliable’ has recently introduced a new machine to the FlexFold family. The FlexFold RO1000 is a small piece folder which can be put behind the ironer or a large piece folder to fold a complete range of small pieces. Beside the possibility of making two lateral folds and two crossfolds, it is also capable of flatstacking items like napkins. The FlexFold RO1000 is a designed to be an addition for full automatic small piece ironing lines.
Jensen is now launching a new concept for feeding garments into the handling and sorting area, which is particularly interesting for laundries processing patient gowns and other healthcare garments. With the new MetriQ feeding station, operators can always feed ‘button-to-the-front’, strongly increasing the PPOH and workplace ergonomics. This new feeding approach allows mixed production and simplifies the washing process – an efficiency improvement that will benefit healthcare laundries in these challenging times. Robotics and laundry automation will remain key for the near future: the automated sorting of garments on the soil side with the Inwatec solutions are on the most advanced ways to protect operators in the reception area against exposure to infected linen. The automatic separation of garments with the Thor robot avoids direct contact of the operator with the linen. Reducing the human interaction to an absolute minimum, results in fewer physical injuries and infections.