The finishing department is the most labour-intensive area of the laundry. The correct use of automation allows for more consistent, high quality output throughout the working day.

As the feeder performs the first step of the finishing process, it sets the standard for the whole line and the folder must therefore follow the feeder in terms of both speed and finish quality to ensure the right result at the end of the line. It is vitally important to specify the feeder correctly according to the customer’s requirements.

Kannegiesser of Germany believes that equipment manufacturers must be innovative in their approach and work closely with their customers.

The company, one of the leaders in equipment design and system integration, says that laundry service providers are handling an increasing variety of textiles so their requirements are constantly changing.

Data flow has to be optimised within the laundry to improve performance, while at the same time optimising machine performance and the technology available to drive the performance forward. Kannegiesser’s Smart laundry concept is designed to synchronise linen flow and production data throughout the laundry process to achieve the highest productivity.

Kannegiesser says that the different models of its feeding and folding technology offer customers an optimal solution. Visitors to its stand saw demonstrations of flatwork finishing, including towel processing, and garment processing, showing how material handling solutions can be integrated with the production line.

Kannegiesser’s universal EMV manual feeding machine can handle large, small and special items as well as table linen and is available in working widths between 2.7m and 4.2m. It has an inclined feeding table and optimised ergonomics for the reduction of handling times and therefore a constantly high feeding performance. According to Kannegiesser, noise level has never been lower and there is easy access for simple and quick maintenance and cleaning. Optional coloured LED light bars permit accurate and safe feeding of small items and a “Hotel & Restaurant” quality package is available.

Kannegiesser’s latest high-performance SKF folding and stacking machine is capable of handling up to 1,350 pieces an hour and is suitable for folding and stacking small-sized items, such as napkins, pillows and can even draw sheets at high speeds.  “The interaction between precise measuring and integrated automatic centring of the article achieves an excellent folding and stacking result. To reach the highest flexibility and capacity in the process, items can be folded and stacked, or just stacked, depending on the processing program,” says the company.

Kannegiesser describes its EMT/EMQ Synchro as the ideal feeding machine for efficient and high-quality processing of a wide product range. Both the EMT Synchro with three stations and the EMQ Synchro with four stations can process articles in one – and two-lane operation.

The Kannegiesser EasyFeed clamp is designed for fast feeding of linen. Any threading or time-consuming searching of the opening is no longer required. The feeding operator takes the laundry item and places it with a natural movement into the automatically closing clamps of the feeding station.

The EasyFeed clamp is standard on Kannegiesser’s latest Synchro feeding machines as well as its GZ-AV feeding stations.

Also on Kannegiesser’s Texcare stand was the Quantex quality control scanner, which detects stains on the front rear and side of articles and is equally effective for table linen, sheets and small pieces from napkins to pillowcases.

Jensen showcased highly sophisticated product designed for its one-stop-shop approach for integrated systems. Referring to the finishing section as “centrepiece of each and every laundry” it has evolved product to meet customer expectations adding that “fierce competition on prices call for greater flexibility and cost efficiency”.

“With the new developments for the finishing section, it is not a case of quality versus quantity, but rather quality plus quantity,” says Gerda Jenk, communications manager for the brand.

Jenfeed Express Plus, which the company is marketing as the world´s fastest sheet feeder using cornerless feeding stations, has been developed from handling single feeder sheets only to being able to handle king size sheets too. The introduction of a vacuum box to the Jenfeed Express has increased the size of products to be handled and enhanced feeding quality, allowing feeding of all sizes of sheets for the healthcare sector.

When combined with the Jensen Quality Unit – a free-standing Concorde delivery conveyor supplied with spreading brushes and vacuum to treat the edges – the Jenfeed Express Plus can also be used to increase PPOH in the hospitality sector thanks to the cornerless feeding principle, which doubles the feeding capacity per operator compared to conventional feeding into clamps. The Jenfeed Express Plus can be used in combination with the Jenfold Classic and Jenstack Max. Using the “Express” options allows it to process up to 1,800 healthcare single sheets per hour in one-lane operation with three operators only.

The Jensen Evolution Cube is a fully automatic separator and feeder of towels developed for the Jenfold Tematic Pro towel folder. The Evolution Cube achieves average production of up to 600 towels per hour, allowing fully automatic separation, feeding, folding and sorting of different sizes of towels in combination with the Jenfold Tematic Pro, which can also be operated manually. The “AutoSelect” program allows the machine to automatically select the folding program according to the size of the towel and can handle 1,200 towels of mixed sizes an hour.

Girbau’s Industrial division demonstrated efficiency and ergonomics in industrial laundries. Alongside several new products designed to achieve maximum efficiency in ironing (the PB ironer and Optifeed system), visitors were able to see the large production capacity of the DRB3+ feeder, which was set up with three working stations together with the FRB flat linen folder.

Girbau says that the launch of the FRB folder at Texcare was a great success, with two machines already sold.

The FRB works with one, two and four folding lanes and is ideal for bed and table linen as well as small items. It can make two primary folds (as standard) and one optional one, or else two or three cross folds (an option only when working with a single lane).

The FRB’s front movable table makes it easy to work with large items while the anti-static bar and the use of ionised air reduce the static charge. The built-in small item receiver for use with four lanes can optionally be supplemented with an item counter with a digital screen.

Girbau Industrial’s DRB3+ Automatic Front Feeder is a recent addition to the DR Feeder Series. It automatically feeds linen of different types and sizes into a corresponding ironer. The DRB3+ Feeder allows for automatic feeding of large dimension items from two or three spreader feeding stations, as well as manual feeding – with or without vacuum assistance – from one to four lanes.

The DRB3+, which offers configurations for two or three operators, features spreading belts and a vacuum box and table to ensure quality automated feeding. When configured with an optional suction table and dual-transfer servers, the DRB processes 790-1,000 items per hour from two or three stations.

Articles are positioned quickly on the feeding conveyor, while the drawing power of the suction box and other systems work together to deliver flawless feeding. Optional crease-removing brushes smooth fabrics and further enhance feeding quality.

Equipped for ease of use, the DRB Control features a colour touch-screen display that simplifies programming and automatically synchronizes the feeder, ironer and folder. The menu screens, arranged according to function, make it simple for users to program feeding specifications for a variety of laundry items.

As part of its high speed ironing solution, Lapauw demonstrated its Unix four station feeder in single and double lane, together with the restyled Unifold folder.

With two, three or four feeding stations, the Unix offers efficiency and high quality, from 500 items per hour up to 1,600 items per hour.

The Unix three- and four-station feeders also come in two versions: single lane and 1-2 lanes and in any possible working width, up to four metres.

The Unix has servo-controlled spreading clamps and a system to keep pieces from slipping during transfer onto the feeder’s exit belts. Unix features two clamps: one in front and one on top of the transfer unit, so ensuring that even the heaviest items stay fixed onto the unit. The Unix can handle items with a weight of up to 4.5kg.

At the end of the line the Unifold can provide three air-blast primary folds but all three cross-folds are knife folds. Two pinch rollers automatically adapt the first cross fold opening to the thickness of the linen. Pneumatic cylinders support the pinch rollers, which provides optimal counter pressure for the rollers to close just enough so that the linen does not shift or drop.

The Unifold features Automatic Lane Coupling for small piece primary folding and Automatic Fold Selection as standard. This allows operators to process a wide variety of items without the need for frequent program changes or even sorting before the ironing process.

Lapauw said that the combination of the feeder and folder sparked a lot of interest, especially for the quality of the feeding and the folding of the machines and the diversity of the different types of linen that can be handled by the machines.

The Totofolder range is complementary to Lapauw’s own feeders and folders and is sold under a joint brand. At Texcare, Totofolder demonstrated its Sonic-ED4 feeding machine on the Lapauw stand.

With its commitment to WashPerformance efficiency at this year’s Texcare International, Stahl introduced visitors to the full spectrum of its heavy-duty laundry machines.

Alongside the Master heavy-duty flatwork ironers, the company demonstrated a range of feeding or folding solutions to enable buyers to evaluate what suits them best from achieving a balanced production rate.

The Stahl Starfold is a high performance folder that can handle large pieces or operate in up to four lanes for small pieces. Depending on its design, Starfold can provide up to three vertical folds and three horizontal folds. The Starfold was combined on the Texcare stand with Stahl’s Servant feeding machine.

The Servant automatic feeder features vacuum technology and a clamping device for swifter laundry feed into the flatwork ironer.

The Stahl Kombifold can process up to 1,800 towels/hour and can also handle other types such as work coats, T-shirts and underwear.