Danish fabric innovations draw attention at Texcare

Beirholm

Innovative textiles were in the spotlight at the Texcare International Fair in Frankfurt. A good example of this are the new Beirtex products from Beirholms Væverier in Denmark, and at the Texcare Fair the customer attention to the products was astonishing.
Not least because Beirholm could illustrate the possible savings on investments.

“Everything we invent must be done ultimately to give the laundries and their customers an advantage, and we have done so with Beirtex. In traditional yarns the cotton and polyester is mixed equally, to make the fabrics more durable”, says sales manager Per Nielsen.

With the new Beirtex yarns the company has managed to create fabrics which satisfies the desire for a higher proportion of cotton against the body, as more than 80% of the cotton is on the surface of the product. At the same time BeirTex® 50/50% P/C yarns are the ideal choice of material for the laundry.

Soft and durable

beirholm2“Thanks to the longer service life of the products and their potential to significantly reduce consumption of resources in the production processes. In short, our focus is Market-fit, Operation-fit and Manufacturing-fit products for our customers. If just one of these factors fail, the whole equation goes in zero,” concludes sales manager Per Nielsen, who had a very busy week showing the textiles to potential customers.

According to Per Nielsen, the quality of the new fabrics makes it possible for the laundries to increase the speed at the stations. Or even better: To think about the potential energy savings: 

“Our yarns are designed for high-speed industrial washing processes. Traditional woven flat fabrics can roll at 36 meters per minute, but Beirtex fabrics can run with up to 46 meters per minute if they have the right setup. Though, instead of turning up the speed, we suggest they lower the temperatures, because that way the fabrics last longer and the total energy consumption will be a lot less,” Per Nielsen tells. 

“We listen to our customers, and we challenge them. But we keep our ears open to get the latest information, so we can give them what they need to move their business. Eventually, their success is our success.”

Customers demand quality and long lifespan

beirholm3Judging by the numbers at the large Beirholm booth, where invitingly made beds and nicely set tables in soft nuances drew attention, the time has come for changes in the business, and Per Nielsen’s colleague, Bettina Clausen, confirms that:

“The market has changed because there is now a lot more focus on sustainability. The development has meant that laundries are even more responsive to the improvements than previously. The focus on quality and life span of the textiles are far greater than it has been previously. Whereas previously it was much about the initial cost, focus on product life and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) has become much more significant,” she adds.

Pockets hide all kinds of expensive problems

xray messeAt laundries all over Europe, one of the most expensive returning problems are items left in pockets of the garments. At Texcare International in Frankfurt in June, the X-ray machine from Inwatec drew a lot of attention as a possible solution.

“Pens are always a huge issue, but we keep finding all kinds of different things in the pockets. Scissors, screwdrivers, markers, wallets, phones, glasses and bottles. You name it – we have it,” tells Mathieu Decraene, who is Production Manager at Klaratex in Belgium.

“We have tried a lot of different campaigns where we want our customers to think about it, but in the long run, it doesn’t change a lot, and we still find a bucket full of different objects every day,” he adds.

Mindblowing solution to the problem

In Ilkeston, the UK, Giltbrook Cleaners have the same issues, and here Production Process Manager Ian Filsell concludes that the left objects often harm the business:

“It damages our business strategy when we have an entire batch destroyed because of one single pen we did not find. The replacement cost in textiles quickly reaches 100 Euro, so even if we stick to our one shift-teams, it looks like an investment in the X-ray technology would quickly pay back,” Ian Filsell reasons.

His Belgium colleague draws the same conclusion, and he admits that Klaratex wasn’t looking in that direction coming to the fair in Frankfurt:

“We were not aware that X-ray sorting could be a smart solution to our issue. I think that the Inwatec machine is a different and mindblowing take on how the sorting can be done. I hope that I will soon be able to test the sorting functions with our garments and textiles,” Mathieu Decraene says.

Technology betters the well-being of the workforce

The Norwegian laundry company Solvask in Drammen have had an Inwatec mat rolling machine for four years and at the recent TexCare fair in Frankfurt, managing director Espen Aaby paid the Inwatec booth a visit to tell about his thoughts for investing in a newer model.

“For us, at Solvask it is all about working efficiency and the well-being of our employees, and in that regard, the old machine has been a great success. I think that both the mat roller and the cooperation with Inwatec works perfectly, why we are considering to a new setup in Drammen,” Espen Aaby told us.2012_Texcare_018

“We haven’t done any calculations, but I’m sure that we have had fewer days with sick leaves in the laundry. Now we also think about a new model because of an increase in efficiency, and then we are planning to make some adjustments to the placement to lower the workload even more for the employees,” says Espen Aaby.

The Norwegian laundry company had a hesitant beginning with the mat roller bought after TexCare in 2012, but things changed quickly, and now Espen Aaby has no problems if he wants to convince his employees of making an upgrade.

“It always takes some time to implement new technology, regardless of how well they work. When we bought our rolling machine, we had four weeks, during which none of the employees would touch it – they would rather roll with the hands, which they used to. Now there is a crisis if the mat roller goes briefly to a halt, and my employees have largely embraced it,” Espen Aaby tells with a wry smile.

Simple and efficient machines on the roll in Canada

Canadian Linen-2

When Inwatec in the summer of 2015 had its first mat rolling machine installed in a branch of the uniform rental and linen supply company Canadian Linen it happened because of a failure of existing material. Since then plenty has followed.

“We had an American model that broke and as the company had stopped we could not get the spare parts any longer,” says Corporate Mechanical Tech Andrew Taylor, who runs his part of the business from Halifax on the east coast of Canada.

He was not part of the team who saw the first Tornado in action, but after seeing a YouTube-video he had a boss and another co-worker from the United States go and see one in action, and when they liked what they saw, the decision was made:

“None of the other models we saw could handle the same, and then we ordered one from Inwatec. We have not been disappointed. Both that machine and the others have actually done better than we expected.”

Canadian Linen-1From zero to 6 in a year
Since then 3 Tornado and 3 Hurricane mat rollers have been shipped from Denmark to Canada and the stream could very well keep on going.

“When I saw it I just thought: Why did I not think of that. There are no belts to replace, the brushes do the work, and they don’t seem to wear out,” tells Andrew Taylor, who is pleased with the simplicity of the Inwatec mat rollers.

“I had a short introduction myself, and I was able to get one of the machines started up without help. It was super simple, and later we have had mat rollers installed in Regina and Calgary on our own.”

No need for spare parts yet
Inwatec only uses standard components and thus, would be repairable without having to wait for spare parts from Denmark, and Andrew Taylor knows that, but for Canadian Linen that wasn’t the main issue.

“I consider it a nice bonus but in fact, we bought the mat roller because of the functionality. And until now we haven’t had anything breaking down, but we know that we should be able to change broken parts.”

“I do not work in the production line, and I don’t see the machines in function on a daily basis, but I would most certainly hear from my branches if anything went wrong, and I very rarely do.”

Massive production without halt
The volume on the different laundries of Canadian Linen is varying from 1.500 mats a day into 7.000 mats a day, but no matter of the load, the Inwatec mat rollers have done their job until now, according to Andrew Taylor:
In fact, the company has plans of changing more of the old material with new models from Inwatec – both because of the efficiency but also to keep old mat rollers running as long as possible.

“In one of our branches, we have three old mat masters running, and I have been thinking of taking one out and use it as spare parts and replace it with an Inwatec-machine,” Andrew Taylor explains.


Facts about Canadian Linen

As a part of AmeriPrideCanadian Linen is one of the largest uniform rental and linen supply companies in North America with branches in both Canada and United States. From Fort McMurray in the north of Canada to in the south of Texas, US, and from Victoria in the west to Mount Pearl in the far east of Canada.

Sustainability is worth every penny

Nor Tekstils Ove Belsvik in front of an Inwatec machine

The future of the laundry industry is about sustainability and robots. The industry’s largest players focus increasingly on how to improve their processes; both to make sure that not more laundry is washed than necessary, and to use as little staff as possible.

“Besides the obvious fact that we can save a number of employees that do hard work, there is the environmental component. The textiles are significantly more durable when we reduce the number of error washes. The production of cotton has a large economic impact, therefore it is essential that we can use the clothes until they are worn out instead of replacing 80 kg because of an overlooked pen in a pocket,” says Ove Belsvik, director of Norway’s dominant laundry player, Nor Tekstil.

To reduce the wastage, Nor Tekstil has invested in an X-ray machine from the Danish company Inwatec. After a successful test period, Nor Tekstil made the decision to further invest in the technology.

“Inwatecs X-ray machine solves a problem that the big companies of the laundry industry can’t handle on their own, and this problem is that you cannot avoid that people make mistakes. A large part of savings of the X-ray machines stems from the fact that we don’t have to buy new fabrics to the same extent as we had to do before. On our machine in Drammen, which has been running for six months now, the system has been working smoothly, and that’s why we are buying the second machine now,” says Ove Belsvik.

Ove Belsviks observations are supported by his German colleague Florian Hünke von Podewils from CWS Boco.  At his company, it has been noted that qualified staff is relatively hard to find. Moreover, these employees are expensive and, lastly, there is always the challenge that people over time cannot avoid making mistakes in sorting when the speed increases and the work is conducted in multiple shifts.

“The problem with the small garment lines emerges in the sorting, where a lot of the information is necessarily stored in the brains of those people that sort the clothes. It may be that there are 10 different blue T-shirts, but maybe there are five different kinds of material, because the shirts stem from different customers, and so it is important that the staff is trained to sort in the right way,” says Florian Hünke von Podewils, who contacted Inwatec for this reason; to develop a machine that both scans and sorts the laundry.

Less laundry – higher revenue

At Nor Tekstil, Ove Belsviks is easily reminded of the extent of possible errors that can appear at a laundry, and if he should be in doubt, he can get tangible proof of the value of the sorting system every time he is in Drammen.

“We can see in the boxes under the machine that the detection rate of the X-ray machine is high and although, of course, some things still slip through sometimes this happens on a completely different level than before. This certainty makes a big financial difference for us because when a washing is being destroyed by a pen or something, it’s not just the 70-80 kg of clothes that have to be replaced. It also costs a lot of money in the administration, labeling and so on,” states Ove Belsvik.

In Germany, CWS Boco also expects a quick return on investment:

“With the sorting machine you get a relatively easy integrable product. The X-ray and sorting machines serve for quality assurance in the processes, therefore the system is foolproof. The machines are not over engineered, they do not use too much floor space, and they are not particularly expensive to run. There are many good value creating reasons to invest in the X-ray sorting,” states Florian Hünke von Podewils.




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Smart machines improve CWS Boco’s business

The German laundry group CWS Boco visited Inwatec in Odense, Denmark, in order to find out how the company can improve their processes and make them more effective.

The software is just as important as the rest of the machines when a laundry has to work in an optimal way across different garment lines. This is the opinion of Florian Hünke von Podewils who is a manager of the German laundry group CWS Boco. For this reason, he appreciates the cooperation with Inwatec even though the company is only one of CWS Boco’s smaller suppliers.

“Aside from the machines there is another reason why Inwatec is a really exciting company to work with, which is the software implemented in the machines. Data and data transport are two of the most important matters that modern companies have to have under control. Inwatec’s solutions works in combination with all the other equipment that is on the market, which makes it extremely easy to connect them to our other systems,” says Florian Hünke von Podewils. He adds:

“Inwatec does not only focus on their own machines. They make their machines extra smart because they think about how these can work in combination with other devices when they are set up. At Inwatec, they are not just engineers, they are much more than that.”

Moving quickly from thought to action

CWS Boco operate their business in 18 European countries plus China and the 8.000-employee company has inherently the industry’s biggest players among their suppliers. Nevertheless, Florian Hünke von Podewils is convinced that there is still room for smaller suppliers. This applies, in particular, if the efficiency of the company’s 45 laundries can be improved.

“From our perspective, Inwatec is clearly a business partner instead of just being a regular supplier. They have chosen to focus on niche products, such as mat rollers. These products might not be interesting enough for the major suppliers because they are not expensive enough but they are still important machines for us. This is the reason why Inwatec is doing good and wise business,” states Florian Hünke von Podewils.

“It is a good idea to take a look at those solutions that can make the existing lines smarter and faster. This is what we need. Inwatec is a company that can react quicker to demands from outside because of its relatively small size.”

The future lies in smarter sorting

According to Florian Hünke von Podewils, the improvement of laundry machines is mandatory for the industry in order to still generate profit, which is becoming harder and harder.

“There are basically two ways to build up a laundry if it has to be economically viable. Either you can automate as much as possible with sorting machines, folding robots and such, or you can take the more manual approach, which means to compress the laundry as much as possible. In the ladder case, you have to get hold of small machines, no conveyor belts or something like that. You will have clothes dryers where the clothes get folded directly next to the machine when they leave it,” says the CWS Boco manager before he states that also the compressed solution requires smart machines in order to avoid human error:

“The problem with the small garment lines emerges in the sorting, where a lot of information is necessarily stored in the brains of those people that sort the clothes. It may be that there are 10 different blue T-shirts but maybe there are also five different kinds of material because the shirts stem from different customers, therefore it is important that the staff is trained to sort it always in the right way. If we take the example of a very large laundry where the work is run in three shifts, you have the obvious risk that two talented people work in two shifts, and in the third shift, you have someone who is unfortunate enough to ruin everything.”

Inwatec increases the efficiency of Norway’s leading laundries

Nor Tekstil is Norway’s dominant player in the laundry industry. The company serve a significant share of Norwegian hotels hospitals and nursing homes, as well as a large number of customers in the offshore industry and other firms in the industrial sector.

The company is constantly evolving to maintain its market leader position. Inwatec came into play as a part of this process. What started as a small relationship has become an important collaboration over time.

“We started with some mat rolling some years ago when Mads Andresen convinced me that it was a good idea and profitable solution. At Nor Tekstil we believe that the machines should have a payback time of less than three years to be a good solution for us. In fact, it was already the case after less than two years, so he was right and we purchased some more of them,” says the director of development, Ove Belsvik, who is also co-owner of Nor Tekstil.

Ove Belsvik has just visited Inwatec at Hvidkærvej in Odense to inspect the latest purchase: An X-ray machine to be installed at Nor Tekstil’s high-tech laundry in Trondheim for reducing the cost for replacing garments. He already knows that the machine will be a success because Nor Tekstil already has a similar machine in operation.

“Inwatecs X-ray machine solves a problem that the big companies of the laundry industry can’t handle on their own, and this problem is that you cannot avoid people making mistakes. A large part of savings of the X-ray machines is because we don’t have to buy new fabrics to the same extent as we had to do before. On our machine in Drammen, which has been running for six months now, the system has worked quite smoothly, and that’s why we buy machine number two now,” says Ove Belsvik and elaborates:

“We can see in the boxes under the machine that the detection rate of the X-ray machine is high and although, of course, some things still slip through sometimes this happens on a completely different level than before. This security makes a big financial difference for us, because when a washing is being destroyed by a pen or something, it’s not just the 70-80 kg clothes to be replaced. It also costs a lot of money in the administration, labeling and so on.”

Huge development potential

Nor Tekstil operates 16 laundries throughout most of Norway and Ove Belsvik expects that the collaboration between Inwatec and Nor Tekstil has great potential in the long term.

“We work together with some of the world’s largest laundry-manufacturers, and we are investing in the most advanced equipment on the market. Inwatec helps to close a large part of the gaps that are still in the processes. Put simply, they solve our problems, and from this perspective, Inwatec is a small but important partner,” says Ove Belsvik who focus on weeding out the physically demanding and manpower-intensive processes, because labor is in short supply in Norway.

“For me it’s important that I know Mads Andresen as well as I do. We have done many things together, and I know that when we have agreed on that a robot must pick 2,000 pieces of clothing per hour, it can do so when it’s delivered. I also know that Inwatec develops specifically for our needs and challenges, which makes it easier to invest in new machinery. It matters to our customers that we are willing to invest, so of course it means also something to us that Inwatec invests in our challenges,” says Ove Belsvik, who predicts that there will be a great development in the machinery of the laundry industry in the upcoming years.

“Our assessment is that there is going to happen a lot regarding the machines for washing processes in the next five years. The washing and drying of clothes is well under control, but there is room for much more automation in logistics and packaging.”

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Invitation to Inwatec Exhibition at Schäfer Matten in September

Come and join us at our exhibition to visit one of the most automated and modern industrial laundries with a cycle of one ton of mats per hour, to see our innovative machines in action and to talk face-to-face to our team about our products and your laundry. 

 

When: 24 – 26th September 2013, 10:00 to 15:00 

Where: Laundry Schäfer Matten GmbH & Co. KG, Industriestraße 22, 82194 Gröbenzell, Germany

Just write us an email mail@inwatec.dk

Inwatec upgrades Berendsen laundry

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Our Inwatec engineers and programmers updated Berendsen´s existing roll machines with a modern control system. With our new system Berendsen´s mat rolling process is improved as the mats are rolled more stable and the sorting is enhanced. Another benefit is the easy maintenance and handling of the system. Berendsen is very with this solution!