Si-Betriebe is a private sector supplier of hospital linen services. It uses the latest management systems supplied by Kannegiesser for processing workwear and operating theatre garments efficiently and economically.

Situated at Minden, Germany, Si-Betriebe is a member of the Dektus group, specialising in the supply of hospital linen services. It handles around 40 tonnes of linen/day in two shifts.

The laundry is unique, due to the fact that there is hardly a cm2 of floor space which is not occupied by production machinery or a workstation.

The apparent congestion, however, does not detract from the overall high production rates which are achieved. Nowhere was this more in evidence than in the departments handling polyester-cotton workwear, one devoted to nurses’ dresses, men’s jackets and trousers, the other to surgical wear, gowns, trousers and jackets of laminated or conventional fabrics, patients’ theatre gowns, etc.

The two units are required to handle a diverse selection of garments to meet a variety of hospital needs and options.

Both use Kannegiesser tunnels and the latest F4A automatic folding machines.

Such is the diversity of the work that the laundry’s manager demands flexibility and versatility from all the high-tech machines installed, as well as from the management system.

Si-Betriebe offers two delivery services: one is on hangers for garment dispenser storage and the other is for folded garments for personal locker dispensing at the hospital.

The Multifeed, therefore, has been designed to enable operators to use two types of hanger. One is made from a heavy, stainless steel construction and is used internally. The garment is automatically removed from the hanger prior to feeding to the robotic FA4 folder and is then returned automatically to the Multifeed buffer storage rail.

The garments, dressed on conventional wire hangers, bypass the folder and are segregated by customer code to appropriate storage rails. The conventional hanger storage is filled by hand by the operator who appears to have an inexhaustible supply of new hangers.

With a continuous supply of garments and the ergonomic positioning of the hanger height, one operator I observed was achieving an output of 15% above the nominal target production rate and had this information recorded by the computer. This information can be recalled on the workstation by the operator.

The Kannegiesser garment finishing tunnel has a separate burner for each of the modules with the temperature controlled to ensure that at no stage are the garments overheated. The controlled airflow ensures a crease-free appearance and crisper-than-usual handle.

The automatic folding machines FA4 and Robotfold have been designed to handle a widely diverse range of garments and sizes. It can accommodate dresses, button-through uniforms, jackets, trousers and even bib and brace overalls and boiler suits. Two versions are available: the standard Robotfold can produce 600 folded garments/hour and the FA4 model, 950 garments/hour.

All Kannegiesser’s latest machinery is fitted with a management information system terminal.

It not only provides managers with vital production and operator/machine performance information, but also regulates the integral computer, which records all the fold options based upon the types and sizes of the garments. These are assessed automatically by sensors as the item is presented and the correct fold sequence is set in motion.

The result is an impeccably folded garment which can be directed to the integral wrapping unit to be hygienically wrapped and sealed, as is the case with all operating theatre work.

The entire fold operation, from presentation to the folded garment, is fully automatic. Kannegiesser has designed the units at Si-Betriebe to meet a diverse range of garment requirements.

The versatility of the Foldrobot is further illustrated by its use by a Japanese laundry, which required a machine to fold kimonos, the front edges of which were held in place by a sash.

Kannegiesser designed a hanger which would hold the front edges in place for steam tunnel finishing, but which could be automatically disrobed at the Foldrobot stage.

The Kannegiesser multifeeds, the two gas-heated 650 and 950 finishing tunnels and the two FA4 folders achieve a balanced production which results in maximum machine-operator utilisation throughout the entire shift period. It can produce in excess of 1600 finished and folded garments/hour.

Another important aspect of the management information system is that all operators can, through their own personally coded swipe cards, clock off from one workstation to take up duties at another simply by swiping the card at the new workplace.

From the moment an operator signs on, his or her performance records begin, with earnings, bonuses and overtime continually recorded.

This advanced system allows the manager to know where their staff are working, how well they are performing and what their true cost is.

With all this information available literally at the touch of a button on each workstation terminal or in the main office, decisions can be made more quickly and easily. Throughput times, production quality and standards can be set and adhered to, costs of labour or production can be cut or held in check.