Enabling diversity in the workplace14 December 2017
A German laundry that targets people with disabilities for employment has called on Jensen technology to provide a safe environment for its diverse workforce
Grenzland laundry in Ahaus, Germany, is a very special type of laundry. Its target is to employ persons suffering from severe disabilities, in particular those affected by combinations of conditions, which calls for increased attention to safety in the workplace.
“We employ a workforce that makes mandatory social security contributions and around 40% of our employees are affected by severe disabilities. A part of our workforce has been categorised as requiring particularly high levels of support. For this reason, we provide qualified contacts for social support,” facility manager Martin Kock explains.
The laundry employs a total of 90 employees spanning 10 different nationalities including displaced persons from Iraq and Afghanistan, and processes almost nine metric tonnes of laundry for hospitals, retirement facilities and social enterprises as well as hotels and other commercial customers.
Grenzland laundry is not only committed to integration: modernisation has also triggered investment in technical systems. “Our tasks continued to grow, our customer base was becoming significantly stronger. We aim for a balanced mix of our workforce, both with and without disabilities, to secure productivity and long-term employment, perform well on the market, and also to create improved support and integration options. This is another way to intensify mutual support in the workplace,” says Ditmar Junk, technical manager.
Matthias Schrader, sales manager at Jensen and the company’s contact for Grenzland laundry, lent his support from the outset, recognising how Jensen technology could prepare the company for a successful future working with Junk and textiles laundry specialist Martraud Leeners to ensure the most appropriate equipment was installed.
Beyond the horizon
“I am impressed by Jenfold Butterfly Fox MF folder’s flexibility, we can now fold even more laundry items that would have previously not been processed by the finisher. This is enormously helpful for our employees,” Leeners reports. “We can also be proud of our production boost to around 10 metric tonnes per day.”
From the washroom section, the garments are transported into a tunnel finisher via Jensen’s Metricon automated conveyor system, customised to individual customer requirements. A system for buffer accumulation of garments ensures synchronisation between the various workstations. The computer control system can be designed to control all movement and handles the sorting of garments by delivery route, account, customer, size, locker bank, and wearer.
According to Schrader, the Jenform Omega Pro tunnel finisher solution considerably decreases the processing time. “The drying zone and the air circulation system have been noise-insulated, and thermal insulation minimises the heat loss. Air from the drying zones and outlet is recirculated into the inlet. Incoming garments are then dried up in the inlet zone using recirculated hot air and exhaust air is reduced to a minimum. Once finished, the garments are folded and stacked in the Jenfold Butterfly Fox folder. This versatile, highly reliable system is capable of processing up to 1,000 garments an hour.”
Ensuring maximum safety
Work-related injuries have significant impacts on the balance sheet so safety is paramount. “We consider the well-being of the people that use the laundry, as well as the safety of employees handling it,” says Schrader. “When Jensen Group machines leave the plant they have completed a comprehensive risk assessment and evaluation processes that take into account anything that could pose a danger. This work has been accurately documented and saved in the technical dossier of each machine type.”
Integrating people and processes
“However, safety is also important during machine delivery and commissioning. Thanks to parallel production, we were able to maintain operation throughout the entire commissioning phase to fully prevent downtime. Our customer was thrilled,” says Schrader.
“People not only aim to earn money, they also expect a pleasant, safe place of work. This increases productivity, especially within the context of persons with disabilities. Jensen is convinced that machine safety must go beyond statutory regulations and the company simultaneously works with an eye to the future to solve the issue of safety solutions and achieve levels of overall sustainability for each laundry.”