Processing a large variety of garments requires a high degree of automation. We find out how Jensen relies on modularity and ergonomics in this area, offering a dream team to process workwear

 Step 1: Robotics removing the dirty work

The automated soil sorting, thanks to the help of robots, minimises the need for human interaction when it comes to quality control and surveillance. THOR, Inwatec’s robot separator, first picks up the garments from the conveyor belt and further transports them to ODIN, the X-ray scanner. Here, unwanted objects, mostly hidden in the pockets, are detected, and the associated article is rejected by the system. Due to the automation of this process, only few interactions by operators are needed to empty the pockets of the discarded garments. By doing this, ODIN also helps to create a more efficient and also a safer working environment by reducing the possibility of stab injuries and infections to zero.

At the same time, the articles can be registered by an RFID-chip reader, therefore determining the sorting process through the system. Through the interplay of AI and visual sorting, the system can also analyze huge amounts of data. When it comes to unmarked pieces, sorting automatically due to visual criteria is now possible even without RFID tags.

The advantages of automatic soil sort are obvious: Operators are less exposed to potentially harmful or even infectious objects that were forgotten in pockets. The same goes for the laundry equipment that can easily be damaged by sharp objects. Not to mention all those items have value to their owners. It might seem like a big step to move from manual to automatic soil sort – but the benefits speak for themselves. Finding skilled employees has become a cumbersome task, which even further highlights the importance of automation. Laundry managers will also be relieved to know that a soil sort system from Inwatec is fast to install and easy to maintain: The system requires the same maintenance and cleaning as any other machine in the laundry. The machines can do what machines can do, and laundries won’t need any special software knowledge to keep it up and running.

Step 2: Washroom

Laundries processing workwear run garments in different colors and different types of textiles in the tunnel washer and want to keep water consumption low even if there are frequent color changes. When it comes to heavily soiled linen like uniforms or industrial workwear, the Jensen UniQ with its large drum volume is your perfect partner. The Jensen UniQ tunnel washers are suited to high mechanical action thanks to the unique drum design. The Archimedian helix offers a highly stable construction and removes the soil with its washboard shape. Extra wash beaters provide even more mechanical action: Perfect for workwear.

Jensen QuickSoak offers a very efficient and precise soaking effect: a very straightforward extra shower for the linen in the first compartment for maximum soaking and drenching. This is particularly important for garments that tend to float, e.g. clothes that are made of polyester or similar materials.

As first manufacturer Jensen provided high pressure cleaning nozzles on double drums to remove residues of colored and oily workwear before white articles are driven through the machine. This very safe process prevents grey wash, prolongs the garment lifetime, and increases the comfort for the wearer. Laundries processing workwear often process garments in different colors. In order to keep the water consumption low during frequent color changes, EcoTanks with large volumes are recommended for separate water recovery by color. Warm water will be reused for the main wash, whereas colder water will be reused for the pre-wash and rinse process.

The complete batch separation in the pre-wash and main wash areas plus FlexRinse in the rinse zone is key for best washing results: This principle with separate compartments was invented by Jensen and launched on the market. With the FlexRinse technology developed by Jensen and an EcoTank system, a Jensen UniQ tunnel washer can be specified to combine high productivity with maximum flexibility and highest recovery of water and energy. EcoTanks with large volume buffers positioned next to the tunnel washer are fully integrated into the washing system. They are easy to clean, and the cleaning process can also be automated. Separate water recovery by color saves a lot of money and resources in the washing process of garments.

Step 3: Transportation and sorting in the ­finishing area

The Metricon transportation and sorting system ensures a perfect flow of washed garments between the individual work stations on the one hand, and more space on the other, because the entire free space under the ceiling can be used. Metricon regulates all movements of the garments and controls their sorting according to delivery tour, account, customer, and wearer. The new JOS, JENSEN Operating System, equips Metricon with new features, a new look with intuitive operation and with new flexibility: Extensions and upgrades to existing systems are quick and easy. Metricon is the ideal solution for small and large garment laundries – with one software platform, one hardware system and one code.

MetriQ is the most ergonomic and productive loading stations. Its unique buttons-to-the-front feature enables the efficient loading of garments with openings on the back side. All garments are loaded from the same side of the stations, no matter garment type. This facilitates for a mixed production without any time losses when moving to the opposite side, particularly for uniforms, scrubs and patient gowns.

The built-in hanger collapse and hanger turner are efficiency boosters and the ideal ergonomic loading height can be set for each operator and this reduces health related costs.

The new design of MetriQ loading stations is thrifty on space: Five MetriQ stations occupy the same space as four conventional loading stations, that’s a 20% smaller footprint compared to conventional systems

Step 4: Finishing and transfer to the packaging area

The energy-saving tunnel finisher Omega Pro considerably increases the processing time in the tunnel compared to other systems thanks to the unique S-shape at the inlet and outlet zones. The temperature of the garments is thereby slowly and gently raised in the inlet zone before being dried. After drying, the garments are slowly cooled down to ambient temperature in the outlet zone, ensuring a pro-fashional finishing of all garments, at low energy costs.

The Fox folder meets all requirements to perfectly fold heavy garments, microfiber textiles, overalls and bib overalls: it folds, sorts, and stacks the complete garment range at a high speed, also in mixed operation. The folded garments are now expedited to the packaging area, and here, the last mile in laundry operation shows up: With Jenway conveyors, the quality of the finished goods is maintained all the way to the dispatch area. Laundries can optimize the flow of the stacked linen, and achieve a short ROI of this modular system: The operators previously moving the stacks manually can now focus on more important tasks. The track-and-trace functionality of Jenway and the automatic data transfer secure an accurate stock control.

With robotics, high-tech machines and the associated automation, garment laundries can improve on hygiene and occupational safety and increase their productivity. ­