How to increase reliability and delivery quality?

A daily challenge in laundries worldwide is the organization and synchronization of material and dataflow within the entire process chain. Especially while processing flat linen and dry linen, over the course of a day, there are numerous batches in the finishing department, which require further transportation and processing. Therefore, it is highly important that the crucial pieces of information regarding the batch (like customer, category and machine) are included in order to prevent a mix-up of different customers and batches. Thus, an excellent delivery quality can be ensured. The degree of automation varies widely, beginning from manual transportation in laundry trolleys with handwritten notes up to fully automated solutions with fresh laundry bagging systems and synchronized data flow.

A first step towards a higher security within the process is a batch information terminal with ticket printer. During the formation of batches on the clean side, for instance at the sorting conveyor or the discharge point of full dryers, a ticket for each batch is printed containing the information about customer and category (e.g. terry, large items of bed linen, table linen etc.) and last but not least an associated barcode. Subsequently, the ticket is attached to the laundry trolley. The core element of the SmartLaundry, the SmartLaundry database, is able to assign a specific processing program for each combination of customer, category and processing machine.

The ticket is read in at feeding machines respectively drywork folding machines. The machines then automatically select the assigned processing program using the connection to the SmartLaundry database. There, the customer and category specific pieces of information regarding the program are stored. Hence, the operators can concentrate on their actual task, which is feeding laundry, and mistakes in the feeding process (like mixing up batches or customers) are preserved.

In ironer lines with separating and feeding systems, the ticket is already read in during loading. The customer and category information is then transferred to the feeding machine. Adjacent, the feeding machine requests the belonging program in the SmartLaundry database and the whole ironer system switches its program accordingly: With the correct programs for input and folding machine and the appropriate ironing speed and temperature.

The automatic program changeover in laundries with a higher degree of automation is based on the identical principle, i.e. an automatic laundry feeding machine with a bag container system and an automatic discharge of the finished batches.

Behind the ironer or drywork folding machine, the stacks can be transported by a Vectura stack transport system to a central sorting, storage and receiving point. Here, as well, information is passed on about which customer a stack belongs to, which article is in the stack and which is the quantity of the article.

The automatic program changeover is an important element for more security in the synchronization of laundry and information. It reduces the changeover times at the machines to a minimum. Not only for laundries with a high degree of automation. But especially as device for laundries with more conventional logistics in the clean department, such as laundry trolleys, the automated program changeover presents a decisive step to more process security and delivery quality, when connected with SmartLaundry.