Oltro il Pulito: laundry visit report 06 Jun 2018

Laundry & Cleaning Today would like to thank Textile Service Magazine and TRSA for use of the article.

oltro il pulito kannegiesser laundry italy lavanova
Loading station for overhead transfer to the automatic feeding and folding ironer lines.

The Lavanova Laundry is located in an industrial zone on the edge of the small town of Romana D’Ezzelino, which is some 54 miles north of Venice in Italy. It was near here that Franco Gheno began his laundry business in 1969. From the beginning of commercial laundry operations, the sales efforts concentrated on the supply of high quality laundry services to the hotel and restaurant businesses of the local area in the districts around the Provinces of Vicenza, Treviso and Venice. However, after steady and profitable progress in 2010 Franco Gheno became seriously ill and the management of the business was taken up by his son Stefano who, with his wife Daniela, now direct the Lavanova business. 

Stefano Gheno had begun working in the laundry at the age of 17 and, at the time of his father’s illness, he was 23 years old and had acquired a good working knowledge of Lavanova operations. More importantly he had learnt from his father the vital importance of keeping close attention on the financial affairs of the business and, in particular, on the need to maintain acceptable profit margins on all services supplied by the company. 

From the beginning, the Lavanova Laundry always stressed the importance of quality in its processed work and stressed this commitment by using only the highest quality products made in Italy using finely woven Egyptian ‘long-life’ cotton. This focus on quality, in every area which affects the Lavanova customer, gives the business a definite commercial advantage when dealing with their existing and potential customers. The standard of their processed sheets and towels is backed up by Lavanova’s conformation with certificates of quality, earned and awarded over several years by producing quality laundry work in strict adherence to the latest EN and UNI Standards, including: EN ISO 9001/2009 and EN ISO 14065/1009 RABC. Making strong claims to very effective bio contamination risk control and the freedom from other carcinogenic hazards arising from laundry processes, gives Stefano and Daniela Gheno a very strong quality statement which is on every piece of Lavanova publicity from letterheads to the Lavanova delivery trucks: Oltro il Pulito – in English: Beyond Clean. 

This 5,000 square metre (48,000 sq ft) plant is flooded with natural light and the two tunnel washers, eight dryers and four ironer lines and the extensive conveyor system for processed work, do not in any way make the available space seem crowded and functionally difficult. Indeed, the storage section for incoming new laundry stock of the various sizes and specifications of textile goods are very probably the most efficient and well organised new stock departments we have seen in any laundry in Europe. 

On the day of our visit we were shown around the laundry by Daniela Gheno. Alessandro Rolli, the managing director of Kannegiesser Italia, the designers and commissioners of the new tunnel washing system and the automatic linen feeding and ironing line system in the laundry, was also on hand to explain how the design of the new systems were defined and executed. Gheno explained how the business was managed to produce profit and how volume increases alone were never a key component of the discussions with potential new customers: “The focus at all times is delivering the highest quality processed work to the customer.” Rolli explained the Lavanova approach to investment in advanced machinery in: “The business has always closely researched the market in modern laundry machinery and this was the case when the first automated machinery was installed over 30 years ago from Milnor for the continuous tunnel washing (CTW) systems and the dryers, and the ironing and folding machinery from other local Italian suppliers. 

“When the time for replacing one of the Milnor tunnels arose, we were asked to produce a system which not only replicated the performance of the old machines, but also that we could show Lavanova that the Kannegiesser solution actually improved the washing performance with a better quality finish, together with improved hygiene values which are all delivered by the unique benefits of the Kannegiesser tunnel washing rinsing system using standing bath rinsing technology.” 

The standing bath rinsing method is made possible by the design features of the Kannegiesser PowerTrans tunnel architecture which, by the introduction of straight-walled tunnel compartments and the ability to locate the rinse stages of the washing process to any pre-selected compar tments, means that the rinsing is actuated for each batch as it passes through the chosen compartments. As the batches of linen are separated in the prewash and in the main wash stages, the industry standard Counterflow method of rinsing is not required anywhere in the entire tunnel. This very significant feature, common to all Kannegiesser CTW machines, means that there is no waste space caused by the enforced separation of batches by leaving empty compartments between different types of linen batches. In addition, the absence of empty compartments as a result of standing bath rinse technology gives much enhanced throughput from the entire wash cycle and better and more thorough and economic detergent and soil removal from the waste water to drain.

oltro il pulito kannegiesser laundry italy lavanova factory
Linen waiting to go through the feeding and folding lines for automatic processing of mixed sizes of linen.

Rolli is an enthusiastic promoter of all the technical advances in wash technology which are standard features of the Kannegiesser PowerTrans tunnel washers and particularly, about the Standing Bath Rinse system and how its availability, built-in, as standard, in all Kannegiesser PowerTrans tunnel washers, creates a very positive opportunity when replacement of multi-stage tunnel washers arises. He uses a simple analogy to describe the standing bath rinse feature which is, he says, “as being like several, free-standing, independent, washer-extractors linked together to perform the washing sequence and at the same time having reduced water usage, reduced chemical waste to drain and a better pre-conditioned second use of the rinse water, recycled for use in the first stage prewash of the tunnel.” 

Other efficiency-enhancing features are installed across the Lavanova laundry which add to the over-riding impression that nothing has been left to chance in the permanent quest for seamless continuous processing of high quality work for all the Lavanova customers. All finished batches are packed and automatically labelled as they pass from the ironer lines and ultimately from the conveyors through automatic barcode scanners where they pass into pre-determined storage and delivery route locations. 

Our visit to the Lavanova Laundry was an exceptionally pleasant experience, presenting, as it did, a very fine example of how important it is to apply constant effort to meet and exceed the customer’s expectations with regard to the quality of delivered work. 

The Lavanova business is also a true family enterprise and the integrity and dedication of the Gheno team is reflected in every aspect of the Romana D’Ezzelino plant. The layout is exemplary and the unique examples of deep processing insight which are seen in the Gheno-designed, automat ic storage system designed and installed for clean, processed-batches by the Lavanova in-house team, is a prime example of the ingenuity in solution-solving which this business personifies. 

Mechanical ingenuity and processing efficiency of high quality work as seen here in Romana D’Ezzelino in the Lavanova plant is an impressive demonstration of the Gheno family’s commitment to their business. Significantly and in quiet but effective endorsement of the impressions which we absorbed on our visit, we learned that more than 90 per cent of the Lavanova staff members have been with the company for more than 15 years. 

The Lavanova business really is: Oltro Il Pulito.

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