Girbau strives to give maximum added value to its clients’ projects, always with an overall view; and through transversal solutions that ensure the highest standards of profitability and efficiency, while at the same time taking sustainability into account.

In this spirit, Girbau, the world leader in total solutions for professional laundry aimed at the industrial, commercial and vended sectors, took on the project that culminated in the opening of the new NetSal laundry on the popular tourist destination, Isla de Sal, on the Portuguese archipelago of Cape Verde off west Africa.

Thanks to its collaboration with Girbau, this laundry, which has been in operation since 2011, now has newly-built facilities and is fully equipped with Girbau machinery with a very high level of automation, work flows designed to speed up processes, low energy and water consumption and a high degree of sustainability, so combining three of Girbau's leading values: profitability, efficiency and sustainability.

Personalised design and constant advice

Right from the start Girbau worked hand in hand with the NetSal laundry to design a 100% personalised facility and offer comprehensive advice throughout every phase, in order to offer the best possible response to all the client’s needs. This was a project with highly complex features, which moreover was affected by Covid-19, posing an additional challenge as the whole process had to be carried out at the height of the pandemic. Also, as there are limited resources on the island to fall back on in the event of any problems, the dependable reliability of Girbau machinery was and is essential to provide the client with a satisfactory service.

“This project posed a challenge to us because of its complexity and the impact of Covid-19, which had a direct effect during the manufacturing phase. This took place in 2020, when we had to make an extra effort to ensure we met the dates agreed. It also called for very close, complex cooperation between all sides involved: Girbau, NetSal, the builder, the carriers, manufacturers and so on. I would stress the very good communication and the teamwork we did with NetSal," says Xavier Castellano, Girbau project manager.

"NetSal (providing laundry services for hotels, resorts and restaurants as well as some domestic work) has 10 years of history behind it and we have had Girbau machinery from the start — it has always given us very good results. This gave us the confidence to embark on a revolutionary project that involved changing several processes with both staff and suppliers," says Damia Pujol, general manager of the group and head of the NetSal laundry.

Girbau had to approach the project and the installation in such a way as to adapt to the client's needs in terms of space, and moreover without affecting its regular work. '10 do this, a structure was designed to locate the dryers over the batch washer, one of the existing dryers was included in the new washing system and a complex system of discharge belts was created to carry linen from the dryers to another building 100% automatically. Furthermore, the whole process was automated, from loading the dirty linen onto the belt to discharging clean linen in the ironing area, at which point no operator needs to intervene any more.

Three pillars: efficiency, profitability and sustainability

The improvements to both machinery and premises were the key to the new installation: new, modern, highly efficient and sustainable; and to improve working conditions. To this end the Girbau TBS50 batch washing system was installed, with all the equipment required for continuous washing, including an ICP4+ loading belt, an SPR50 press, a CE+ lifting conveyor, a CD+ distribution belt, three ST2700 dryers and a set of loading belts; as well as all the advantages of synchronisation, programming and management that come from working with a single supplier. Moreover, the TBS50 batch washer features a built-in water recirculation and recycling system which means the water can be used up to three times, cutting water and energy consumption.

Girbau also installed a full flatwork ironing system made up of a DRBS feeder, a PC120 ironer and two folders, models FR+ and FRB, to enhance final ironing quality and working conditions. The DRBS automatic front feeder makes it possible to feed in different types and sizes of linen on I or 2 lanes automatically, and up to 4 with manual feeding, and has ergonomically-designed loading stations that adjust to the height of each employee to ensure maximum productivity with minimum effort. Items are placed rapidly on the input belt with a margin of error of less than mm. The pulling power of the suction box and the different quality systems ensure an impeccable feed. In addition, every component in the feeder has been individually tested.

Once the components have been approved and used to construct the feeder, it has to undergo rigorous laboratory testing, so that reliability is a distinctive feature of these machines.

For unparalleled final quality, Girbau also installed an FTTopfold towel folder which is synonymous with reliability and high productivity and which, depending on the size of items and the type of folding, can process up to 1200 items per hour.

“We decided to go ahead with this project to cope with increasing tourism on the Isla de Sal and to boost the quality of our industrial laundry processes. There had not been any batch washers in Cape Verde before and we realised that this was a technology that would enable us not only to increase our washing capacity but also to boost the efficiency of the facility by reducing specific water and electricity consumption. In addition, the automation of some washing, drying and ironing processes finally convinced us, and the fact is the result has exceeded our expectations in a highly satisfactory way," says Damia Pujol.