Unlock your potential – seamlessly25 January 2023
Laundries can get on top of efficiencies and rising costs as well as increasing production by using intelligent laundry management systems to integrate their line-up of wash floor machinery. Kathy Bowry reports
There a lot going on in the world of integrated laundries and, in fact, any laundry that isn’t up to speed in this area is missing a trick or two. Integration can make laundry operation virtually seamless and intelligent as ‘smart’ software not only takes the drudgery out of everyday tasks - more important than ever as laundry businesses struggle to attract and keep good staff - but also acts a monitor and fault-finder through the whole network of machines. And integration keeps a brake on costly utilities use and aids sustainability.
For operators with an existing line, which maybe has a variety of different equipment brands of varying age, fear not; just about every piece of modern equipment can be drawn in and managed efficiently.
HAPPY DAYS: Since an Alsco Atlanta site adopted Spindle for its laundry management system the company has become the company’s Number 1 laundry in the region
So what is available? While Clean Show was on in Atlanta in the summer of 2022, the author visited laundries courtesy of a trip organised by the TRSA, the North America linen rental association, where Spindle was the preferred choice for management systems. Spindle also serves the European market.
Spindle captures the productivity data on every process within the facility to provide a holistic view of the plant so the management team can view real-time performance by department, classification, equipment, or employee.
All the data collected is connected to the cloud, meaning you can access and analyse your plant data from anywhere.
One of the laundries visited was Alsco Uniform in Atlanta. Alsco is a fifthgeneration family-owned and operated uniform company founded in 1889 and recognised by the prestigious Hohenstein Institute for having invented the uniform rental industry. Covering the healthcare, automotive, industrial and hospitality industries. With more than 180 locations and 20,000 employees, Alsco Uniforms provides laundry rental services to over 355,000 customers in 14 countries, which makes Alsco Uniforms the largest uniform company in the world.
However, its Atlanta laundry was not scoring highly on productivity against other units in the area, so something needed to be done to turn things around. The plant’s management team pre- Covid, was spending more than 30 hours each week week manually collecting and reporting on efficiency numbers from around the plant. Management was consistently confused and frustrated with the low load completion percentage, despite reporting high efficiency numbers. This eventually led the management to question the accuracy of the reports. The plant had the worst pounds-per-operator hour (PPOH) out of eight Alsco Uniform plants in the region.
So in came Spindle. By automating the data collection around the plant, the team freed up >30 hours a week of supervisor time. Armed with reliable data, the team was able to quickly identify areas for improvement. By embracing the hard facts and fixing the areas around the plant that needed help, the team not only consistently ranks at the top of its region in PPOH and load completion percentage, but also the entire company.
Spindle actually claims that within one year of installation it can achieve, on average, these numbers:
10% increase in capacity 14% increase in productivity 30% increase in employee engagement
“I remember trying to complete loads and being puzzled. I asked myself, how are we still not completing these loads? I’ve got 17 ironers working nine hours a day and the efficiency numbers the supervisors were turning in were in the 90s and 100s,” says Matt Chambers, the plant manager. “It just didn’t make sense.” The team had four supervisors that would each spend over an hour a day collecting and inputting data into their system.
“The reported numbers showed our plant was operating near 100%, but it felt like we were closer to 65%. We even had some groups reported over 120% and after watching them operate it seemed impossible for them to hit those numbers,” says George Hoyos, the plant’s assistant general manager.
Spindle was scheduled to be installed in April 2020 but then Covid-19 stuck its oar in and the plant went into survival mode, dropping from over 200 employees to 30. As employees came back to work the team was trained on how to use Spindle. Initially, they didn’t trust the Spindle numbers. Before Spindle, the numbers showed they were working at 100% and now they are at 70%, explained Hoyos. “We would feed 200 napkins with them and show how the counts were in fact accurate. It was our old numbers that weren’t correct.
“We went from eighth in our region to No. 1. In fact, our PPOH is now consistently among the highest in the entire company. Our completion of loads and our throughput have improved greatly as well,” Hoyos says.
“In the darkest of our days, we were lucky to have our builds for tomorrow be 70% complete. Today with Spindle (Monday), we are already at 80% complete for Wednesday,” says Chambers. The ROI on the project took around six to eight months from installation.
The company is now back up to above 80% of their pre-Covid revenues, with just over half the labour that was previously needed.
The process control software perfectly integrates the entire range of Kannegiesser equipment it was developed by Kannegiesser ETECH in Minneapolis, USA.
One stop shops
For a new install laundry, the big-name equipment manufacturers can sort out a full layout and tie it all into their own laundry management systems; through soiled intake, the wash, chemicals delivery, dryers, on to feeding and folding and ready to dispatch.
Domus’ Gemma Colomer at ExpoDetergo in Milan in October said of the company’s showing there that visitors to the stand were very interested in Domus Connect technology. “We are seeing visitors from all sectors of the industry,” said Colomer.
“This is the largest range of washers and dryers, all sizes, and all with connectivity as standard. Domus Connect IoT is free on all products with Touch Control. There is no licence to buy, it is all part of the package. Operators can see the dashboard full of controls and review remotely from wherever they are, at home or in the office.
For example, they can easily check on business, price plans, adjust detergents as effectively as if they were standing in front of the machine. Everything can be done from a laptop and exported to the machines,” said Colomer.
“Domus’ new generation IoT enables all of the company’s machines, whether washing machines, tumble dryers or ironing machines, to be connected, managed and maintained remotely. All of this is possible in our second generation of Touch controls.”
Girbau’s Sapphire laundry management system has been developed for OPL and vended laundries and also provides a Covid19 disinfection monitoring package. The main features, according to Girbau, are:
1. Monitor: View the status of your Girbau machines or read your production and consumptions in order to understand everything that happens in your business
2. Alarms: Know in real-time when your business needs your immediate attention to reduce down time
3. Efficiency & time improvements: Be more efficient and improve your timings by using Sapphire features in your dayto- day work.
Jensen is a one-stop-shop supplier to the heavy duty laundry industry, Jensen- Group has a longstanding tradition of integrating sustainability aspects in the machine development and in the way it is doing business. We aim at increasing the competitiveness of our customers, and at the same time, their sustainability, says the company.
The objective of the Jensen CleanTech concept is to increase the efficiency of the primary energy and to reduce its use with gas-operated laundry machines. When developing laundry machines, the Jensen- Group concentrates on achieving high performance and minimum energy and water consumption. In addition to direct gas operation, this involves the integration of internal energy and water recovery systems. When our machines achieve higher process temperatures, the drying and finishing times are dramatically shortened, which increases productivity.
It claims record figures in CleanTech laundries using:
Tunnel washer Senking Universal consuming 1.6 l/kg or 0.2 gal/lb water WR Dryers: 0.95 kWh/l resp. 1,474 btu’s/lb Jenfeed Express: 1800 pcs/h. More througput, higher availability: 0.8 kWh/kg resp. 1.76 kWh/lbs of linen Jensen uses Globe by Gotli Labs, and says it can prove its statements with transparent figures.
eVue by Kannegiesser is the key to controlling a compete laundry from soil intake to goods out, says Kannegiesser. eVue is a web-based single control interface for the entire laundry operation. The reliable and intuitive system, says Kannegiesser, offers full transparency and control over the production process. It ensures laundry operations at maximum capacity using high-developed diagnostic functions, optimised productions routing and tracking, and real time reports on production performance.
eVue is the most advanced web-based process control software for modern laundry operations. The intuitive system enables a continuous optimization of the laundry, avoids lengthy searches for certain batches of laundry and enables rapid intervention in the event of malfunctions. Operating eVue is very simple and quick to learn. Also, there is no language barrier, because the interface language adapts to the respective loggedin user. You can read more on eVue in our cover story on pages 8-9.
The process control software integrates the entire range of Kannegiesser equipment and was developed by Kannegiesser ETECH in Minneapolis, USA.
Milnor’s trademarked MilTouch-EX touchscreen control utilises resistive touch screen technology and full VGA resolution. The clear and informative display shows current machine status info including total formula time and time elapsed. With complete programming flexibility, MilTouch-EX touch screen control formulas can be developed on a PC, saved to USB external memory and uploaded with a screen touch. The control has intuitive fault diagnosis and relevant troubleshooting suggestions, which streamlines employee training and eliminates operator guesswork. The MilTouch-EX™ control can be interfaced with specialised options such as metered water and integrated re-use tanks.