Opportunities abound for garment rental operators who keep abreast of current garment fabric technology and provide their customers with fabrics designed to meet precise needs.

Where there are several requirements such as high visibility, fire retardency and weatherproof properties there are now fabrics available to meet these demands said Tom Black of Carrington Career and Workwear.

He explained how leading UK producers of workwear fabrics were exploiting their technology lead in performance fabrics to enable rental operators to sell on performance and to price accordingly.

Some performance fabrics need specialised cleansing which opens the door for the true professional. Tom’s presentation to the TSA Scottish Area meeting was the start of a weekend of hospitality interspersed with thought provoking and professional presentations.

The Scottish Area extends well beyond its borders as the guest list showed. This pro-active theme was taken up by Nigel Armstrong, the TSA President, who stressed the importance of the Association attached to identifying the needs of its market and expanding the range of services offered to its members.

Dramatic reductions in water and energy usage were foretold by Tom Blackhall of Dunlop Design Engineering, based in County Armagh. These were backed up by detailed drawings of the recycling schemes already installed and working. Tom impressed delegates with his practical knowledge of laundering (from his time with Polymark) so that the systems he described actually fitted in with laundry limitations, with proper control of pre-wash and wetting out temperatures for example.


Effective use of the internet will bring dramatic reductions in paper, telephone time and decision time for the launderer who seizes the opportunities now said Andy Symmonds of DiverseyLever. All the major suppliers of laundry equipment and chemicals now make available full details of the solutions they offer to production, quality and operating cost problems on the Internet.

With a little skill at manipulating the search engines, any launderer can assemble and print the information that is relevant to a particular problem and put together a minimum performance specification, confident that this can be met reliably and affordably. Andy stressed that the power of web technology lay in being able to isolate what is important and discarding the rest.

TSA’s package of services to its members is being overhauled and revitalised, said Murray Simpson the TSA chief executive. The immediate target is the single unit cleaner who is under-represented in TSA at present, but who is going to face major needs in the next two years with the almost inevitable requirement for drycleaner registration under the EU Volatile Organic Compound Directive coupled with transfer of enforcement responsibility for health and safety legislation to the local environmental health officer. Both pieces of legislation could sort out the cowboys.

David Stevens from the Paragon Laundry Group gave the final presentation. He emphasised the need for the industry to exploit the more demanding areas of the market and to encourage ever more rigorous requirements for food industry and health sector processing. Competitive low-pricing of work that is easy to wash is still the road to ruin for many, the real opportunities lie in identifying and meeting customer needs and the more unusual the better.

He gave disturbing examples of the steep fall in laundering and rental prices in real terms over the last twenty years and the continuing failure of the industry to approach the market in a systematic and professional manner. More people seem to attend this conference every year and it is easy to see why.