We are happy to announce that Inwatec is now among the three last companies in the battle for DIRA Automationsprisen 2018 (The Automation Prize from the Danish Industrial Robot Association). Initially, 15 companies were nominated.
“It is a great satisfaction every time we hear from our customers reporting better work environment and higher efficiency with our machines. Robot technology and automation are especially useful at the industrial laundries where the machines can take over some really tough jobs, and obviously, that is our primary goal – to remove the dirty work. But this nomination is also a well-deserved recognition to everyone in Inwatec because they work hard and creatively to improve our solutions every day,” says CEO Mads Andresen.
An excerpt from the nomination:
Inwatec: For its robots, which allows removing manual processes in the laundries. It creates greater security for the employees and significantly increases productivity, as the robots and automation processes are optimal for the many heavy and repetitive processes that take place in the production at the laundries.
The other two contestants in the final are Inrotech and Linak, and the winner will be announced on September 11th at the Automation Fair in Brøndby, Denmark.
Robot technology, lots of automation and innovative use of all state-of-the-art technology in the market. Those are the ingredients in the recipe, which has secured the family-owned Vraa Dampvaskeri a position as one of the leading industrial laundries in Denmark. The headquarters locates in the northernmost part of Denmark in the town Vrå, but with branches in Aarhus, Fredericia, and Køge, Vraa Dampvaskeri services customers throughout the country as well as northern Germany and the southern part of Sweden.
According to CEO Jørgen Rasmussen, much of the explanation for the success of the company is that since the establishment in 1956, there has always been a strong will to invest in new technologies to make production as efficient as possible.
“Innovation and automation are in our blood at Vraa Dampvaskeri. For example, we have had our clothing tagged with chips since 1991, and in 1997 we took our automated sorting system into use. We have always been looking for improvements to our production line in general and especially in the field of automation,” says Jørgen Rasmussen, who recently invested in an Inwatec system, which will further improve the handling of the dirty laundry.
“The new automation options with a robot and an X-ray scanner have made us able to reduce the number of employees in the soiled site sorting, and it has enabled us to release some hands that we can use for something else. Regardless of how much we have automated over time, we have just become more people – now it’s just some other tasks they perform, “says Jørgen Rasmussen, who runs the family business with his two sons Thomas and Martin Rasmussen as well as daughter Stina Rasmussen who is CSR-manager.
Empty pockets a requirement in the food industry
With the new Inwatec-setup that connects to the existing sorting system, a robot separates the garments piece by piece before an X-ray machine checks for foreign elements hidden in the garments. If anything is found, the garment is automatically rejected for further inspection. This solution contributes to the fact that Vraa Dampvaskeri can also maintain its position as Denmark’s largest supplier of clothing to the food industry.
“We have a lot of customers in the food industry, where there is a strong focus on avoiding foreign objects in the clothes, and in this context, it was obvious for us to invest in an X-ray system that will enable us to meet that demand,” says Jørgen Rasmussen, who also has other gains by avoiding foreign elements in the laundry.
“When using the X-ray solution, we can reduce the administrative costs that come when undiscovered pens and the like ruins clothes. At the same time, it is important for our working environment to minimize the contact with the laundry, “explains the director about the solution.
Future solutions require data
Jørgen Rasmussen and his sons in Vraa Dampvaskeri are far from finished with the development. One of the next steps will be to utilize the possibilities for tracking the individual piece of laundry.
“Recently, we have started working on UHF-chipping the garments, which we do to get as much data as we can in the clothes cycle, and because it helps us to keep track of our inventory. This way we only need to invest in what we need,” says Jørgen Rasmussen, who see that the tracking gives further economic opportunities.
“Concerning the economy, collection and use of data is also an important part of the future laundry. When we make agreements with the customers that they should roll down the sleeves and empty their pockets, it is not always they remember it. When we track the individual piece of clothing, we can detect who’s forgetting this and, for example, send them a message that they’ll have to do better if they don’t want to pay for this service,” Jørgen Rasmussen adds.
On Thursday, 3rd of May 2018, we will attend the 'Praktik og Projektdag', also called PPdag, at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. The event is specially made for companies to meet talented engineering students who are searching for internships, in-company periods, project collaborations, or student jobs.
The event will take place from 12:00 until 15:30.
Why do we attend PPdag?
We think that a combination of high-level education and practical experience leads to the best outcome for both students as well as companies. We see it as our obligation to support young talents to gather practical experience and use their skills in the real life.
Inwatec has grown from 12 to 35 employees in the past two years, and we are not done yet - we know that we will need lots of new talented employees in future. And, we hope to find them at the University of Southern Denmark as well.
Actually, many of our Laundrynerds started their career at SDU in engineering. Just to name two: one completed her Ph.D. in Robotics and joined our team afterwards, another software engineer began working at Inwatec as one of our first student workers about 4.5 years ago and then moved into a full-time job directly after graduating. Of course, we could not be more proud that we managed to inspire great talents to use their knowledge even after graduation.
Could you be our next Laundrynerd? Come talk to us at PPdag!
In the video, Simon Scheel Kaltoft, Project Manager at Inwatec, gives an overview of Inwatec’s Mat Rolling machine, called HURRICANE. It is the best performer compared to mat rollers on the market. The clean mats are loaded on the front side while getting the rolled ones out on the backside of the machine. Depending on the mat size and the experience of the operator, up to 450 mats can be rolled per hour.
The advantage of having a big inlet table on Hurricane is that the whole mat will be lying on top of the table. This ensures the possibility to see dust, dirty spots or holes in the mat. By pressing a button the mat can be rolled back to the operator to solve these issues. The Hurricane is designed with two belts on top. These are necessary to turn around the mats and to prevent coning. The cone correction feature is highly valuable as there is limited space in the transport truck.
The standard Hurricane can be upgraded due to several add-ons. Adding either an RFID antenna or a with sensor bar to the roll machine, makes it possible to automatically sort mats. Depending on the customers’ data are based it can be sorted either according to the length or width of the mats. Further, it is possible to add a binding machine. It wraps foil around the mat to keep them tight and well rolled. The binding machine can be extended by using a printer. Barcodes, text, logos or whatever could be benefitting from the certain laundry can then be printed on the foil.
The Hurricane allows an easy and safe use for the operator. Height adjustable legs make working on the machine more ergonomic. Every mat laundry can benefit from the Hurricane. Manual work will be reduced due to more efficiency while the mats are rolled in better quality.
At the beginning of May, we celebrated that Inwatec’s VORTEX number 100 left the workshop.
When Inwatec was established in 2009, leading focus was on how to make the most efficient and employee-friendly mat rolling machine on the market.
Until 2016 our products were large, high-capacity mat rolling machines with front loading and off-loading on the back. The design was simple, efficient and produced in a way that made maintenance easy for the customer. The machines were unique in the way that they used brushes instead of belts to roll the mats, but apart from that, they still looked pretty much as mat rollers from other brands used to do.
That changed in 2016 with the introduction of the VORTEX Mat Roller.
The VORTEX is characterized by a remarkably small footprint in relation to the production capacity. Because of the patented roll-over-feature, the machine is loaded from the front, where the mat also is returned, rolled, and the design supports efficient one man-maneuvering.
Average of 220 mats per hour
“Of course, I’m incredibly proud that the solution was received so well. We have finetuned the machine a bit, but basically, machine number 100 is the same as the first one we delivered. It makes me no less proud that the first machine still steadily rolls 220 mats per hour on average today,” says CEO Mads Andresen on the anniversary.
Today the VORTEX is represented worldwide – and the distance to Denmark is apparently no issue to the owners.
“Obviously there are quite a few units in Denmark and Scandinavia, but most of the VORTEX’ is currently shipped to the United States, where the model is our most popular mat roller. The distance does not matter to the customers; it’s plug-and-play, the machine is built mainly with standard components, so it is easy for the customer to fix mechanical failures quickly,” says Mads Andresen.
“Changes in the laundry business do not occur overnight, but we see that our VORTEX mat rollers are very well known today. The lead time is getting shorter, and today we often have pretty big orders, when a laundry chain needs new machines,” Mads Andresen explains.
Meet the two newest members of our Laundrynerd-family: Henrik and Benjamin!
Henrik Østergaard Pedersen is 34 years old and started at Inwatec’s project department in mechanical construction at the beginning of April 2018.
Originally, Henrik grew up near Viborg, in Midtjylland, Denmark. He worked at JENSEN Denmark for the last two and a half years in mechanical construction and now joined our team at Inwatec in Odense. Currently, during his first days, he is getting to know the product portfolio by reviewing recent big projects for laundries all around the world.
Henrik took his education as a ‘produktionsteknolog’ and ‘teknisk designer’, a production technician and technical designer. Before Henrik started the position in mechanical construction at JENSEN Denmark in Bornholm, he worked at Steens Furniture in product development.
At Jensen Denmark, Henrik also got to know more about Inwatec, as on January 1, 2018, JENSEN-GROUP, one of the world’s leading companies in the laundry industry, acquired 30% of the ownership of Inwatec ApS. Read more about it here.
With Henrik’s knowledge about the laundry business and his motivation, he is a real Laundrynerd from the beginning – a perfect match for Inwatec!
“So far, it has been great to work here. Everyone is very kind, helpful and easy going”, Henrik describes his first days at the office of Inwatec. “I am looking forward to getting assigned to a project and to be more introduced to the system.”
In his spare time, Henrik enjoys spending time with his family, cooking and playing music.
Welcome to Inwatec, Henrik. We are glad to have you on our team!
Benjamin Ejlebæk Enggaard, 21 years old, joined our workshop team as a student worker after Easter 2018. However, until his studies in engineering begin in September, he will support our workshop team full time.
Benjamin lives on a farm called Billeholm, which is located between the cities of Odense and Assens. He has been working on his father’s farm ‘ever since he could walk’, where he also extensively worked with farm machinery. Benjamin finished high school in summer of 2016 and afterwards traveled and did his conscription as a firefighter in the Danish civil protection. He also assisted in a car workshop for some time. Now, Benjamin aimed to gather relevant professional experience before he starts to study in the next winter semester and also wishes to continue working at Inwatec during his education.
Benjamin is currently supporting the workshop team on assembling five VORTEX mat rollers: “I have been doing service on farm machines of different kinds, but assembling new machines is new to me. It’s loads of fun though – kind of LEGO for adults”, Benjamin explains.
“Everyone is very kind to me. There is a very positive vibe at Inwatec, so though getting up at 5:20 am to start work at 6 is kind of rough, I’m looking very much forward to every working day.”
In his free time, Benjamin works on his father’s farm, likes to go hunting in fall and winter and is a great fan of Formula 1. When the Formula 1 season begins, he tries to follow the races closely.
In future, Benjamin wishes to also help to develop the machines. He is especially happy to be part of a “new, modern and fast growing company”.
That is great to hear, Benjamin. Welcome to the Laundrynerds!
Do you wish to be a Laundrynerd as well? Apply now!
“The awareness of sustainability is steadily increasing in the industry in general, and in the laundry industry in particular.
It has long been one of our significant milestones in Inwatec that our technology in all ways to help laundries worldwide so that we can achieve a greener future together.
Therefore, to highlight our green focus, we have decided that all machines in the future will be green.
“Green is the new green. In today’s world, if you want to be green, the only way is to make things green. Therefore we change the colour of all products from grey to green, and we are ready to take orders deliver the machines from today, April 1st, 2018,” Mads Andresen CEO of Inwatec tells.
Apart from the colour change, the Inwatec-series will soon be available in solar or pedal powered editions for laundries which are ready to go even greener.
You can see examples of the design of our new equipment on the pictures below. We do have some of the former Vortex-models in stock, and they can be acquired at a favorable price at a first come, first served basis. – Please contact us by mail/telephone and have your credit card handy.
Meet Allan Schmeltz, who is one of our new Laundrynerds: He works as a technician at Inwatec since the beginning of March 2018. Allan has a versatile working background, which makes him a perfect expansion of our workshop team.
Allan explains: “In my career I have worked with mechanical fitting, troubleshooting, electrical and pneumatic fitting, and construction. So, I think I gathered great experience for the field I am working in now at Inwatec.”
Allan is 59 years old and was born in Odense, but grew up in Aalborg afterwards. At Aalborg Shipyard, Allan took his basic technical education and was then called to the Danish Royal Navy, where he stayed for a couple of years. Together with his wife, he moved back to Fyn in 1980.
Finnishing his job at the Danish Royal Navy, he worked as a mechanical fitter in a smaller family company until 1983, where he studied to become a ship engineer. After his graduation, Allan went to sea as a chief engineer on a small coaster and traveled all around the world. However, for the sake of his family, he went ashore again after a couple of years and started a position as a repairman at Rynkeby Foods. In his new job, he was mainly doing troubleshooting but also worked on the optimization of existing plants and stayed at Rynkeby Foods for 13 years.
Yet, Allan wanted to learn more and decided to do a degree in mechanical engineering, which he finished in 2000. For the following ten years, he worked in construction and project leading in various companies, until he started as a repairman again at his old employer Rynkeby Foods in 2011. Now, in 2018, Inwatec could draw Allan’s interest and so he applied for the position as a technician in our workshop.
First impressions at Inwatec
“I saw the job at Jobindex which I found interesting and therefore I directly sent an application. It went very fast. A week after sending the application, the decision was already made!”, Allan describes the application process.
Being a Laundrynerd for the first few days, Allan got to know many processes at Inwatec: “Compared to my previous job, there is a big difference. In the last couple of years I have worked a lot with troubleshooting. At Inwatec, we start from the bottom and after some time we can see a complete plant on the floor. I have done this kind of work before, but it is still very interesting for me and it is really what I like to do!”
Currently, Allan is working on the assembly of a linen storage for a Norwegian textile services company. Allan is looking forward to use his diversified skills at Inwatec. Especially towards working within development, pneumatic and electrical controls. In the future, he would also like to go to machine-installations at the customer’s plants.
In his spare time, Allan likes to spend time on his three hobbies: bowling, sailing, and speedway racing. Since he was 13, Allan played bowling and is still passionate about it. However, his favourite sports is sailing. He owns a boat in which he loves to spend most of the weekends and holidays together with his family. In addition, Allan is a great fan of speedway and especially the Team Fjelsted. He is a member of the Team Fjelsted Supporters and travels all over the country to see the races of his favorite team.
We are happy to welcome you to our Laundrynerd Team. It is great to have you!
In the 126-year-old company Huebsch Services, located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA, ongoing efforts are being made to update the processes to ensure satisfied customers. In this interest, President and CEO Jim Vaudreuil visited Inwatec in Denmark.
“I think the technology is accelerating and creating a lot of opportunities. I see a lot of the problems that we face today can be solved with the technology that’s available: The UHF RF-chips are promising. I’m looking at one of the new mat rollers that we already have, and we’re going to be modifying it with UHF readers so that we can do additional sorting,” Jim Vaudreuil says.
Huebsch Services already uses tracking in several ways, and for that reason, the implementation of an advanced chip reader-system is high on the priority list:
“We track every garment as a unique asset. We use the chip to keep track of our inventory; we use it to ensure the quality that we’re promising. Is the customer getting exactly what they’re supposed to get, and when? And it helps us keep track of our costs,” he explains.
Continuously aiming for improvements
Even though Huebsch Services has a long history and a lot of clients going decades back in time, Jim Vaudreuil is sure that it is necessary to always keep an eye on the development of the machines used in the production.
“We like to think of ourselves as innovators. I’m not sure that we really are, as much as that we’re never happy with what we have, and we know that we could improve, so we’re continuously trying to improve. I think the innovation is using technologies that are available, and it’s how we use it. Almost all the technologies could be had by every one of our competitors, so it’s how do you use it that gives you the competitive advantage,” he continues.
Huebsch Services takes great care of having a high service level, and that is why Jim Vaudreuil visited Denmark; In search of the best ways to support the customers varying needs.
“I think we have certain advantages; we’re a smaller company; we’re very hands-on, and we do most of our development work. I think we have an advantage in that. We’re maybe a little bit closer to the customer and closer to their problem. The company of the future has to be specialised, and I think it has to embrace some of the technologies. That’s why I am here. We’ve been partnering with Inwatec in I don’t know how many years. We really like the Inwatec products, and we are able to partner with a company that’s really leading in the technology – and so what if we’re you know a 10-hour flight away,” he smiles.
Watch the full interview with Jim Vaudreuil:
Find more information on Inwatec’s machines for mat handling here.