Swiss Laundry ready to roll

Jean Anderson reports back from the official opening event of Swiss Laundry’s brand new facility just outside of Cambridge.

Family and heritage are at the heart of Swiss Laundry. It began life in Cambridge in 1904 and has remained at the same premises for 116 years. Until now.

The last two years have seen careful investment of around £6m in what they describe as “one of the most technically advanced, innovative and environmentally responsible commercial laundries in Europe”.

With their premises in central Cambridge sold, Swiss Laundry has fully relocated west of the city to Papworth to a 38,000 sqft purpose-built laundry that at its peak will have the capacity to process half a million items a week, double its previous capacity.

The company provides linen hire and laundry services to tourism, hospitality and university customers throughout the east of England. Part of the Swiss Camplings group, the combined turnover in 2019 was £13m. Turnover for the Cambridge operation jumped to £5m in 2019, up from £4.5m in 2018. The Turvill family, at the helm for 80 years, are confident that the investment they have made equips them for future growth.

The Turvill family outside the new Swiss Laundry premises. From left, Richard, Marina, Guy and Mark.

The new site, beside fields some 13 miles from the former premises, is very different to the old home of the business in Cherry Hinton. Mark Turvill, Swiss Laundry’s commercial director, said: “We’re really proud of our roots in Cambridge, and while we needed larger, more modern premises, we wanted to remain close to the city. “Some of our employees have worked for us for more than 30 years, so it was important to find a new home where we could take them with us, offering long-term, secure employment.”

The chairman, Guy Turvill, and directors Mark, James and Richard Turvill, along with their mother Marina, recently welcomed some 80 business partners and customers to Papworth for a behind the scenes tour of the laundry operation. The project has seen Swiss work with companies including Girbau, Christeyns, Laundryquip and Linen Connect plus build partners Michael Saul Electrical, CRS Gas Solutions and Fox Energy to realise its ambitions. Mark Turvill said: “Our priority was to upgrade and invest in the very latest technology, with the aim of minimising our impact on the environment. “We’ve made a significant investment in new machines, which will dramatically reduce our water usage per kilogram washed, and, increase the amount of water we’re able to recycle and re-use.

“While the design and installation of a new hot water system, replacing a traditional boiler, will minimise our environmental impact further. We’re now able to control and direct heat to specific parts of the laundry, rather than heating the entire site, meaning less energy is wasted.” The new system involved building a 200-tonne water tank to house 200,000 litres of water.

Contractor Mick Saul explained that the huge tank required a metre deep reinforced concrete platform to ensure it didn’t slip into the neighbouring field. “It was one of the biggest jobs!” His team of 10 was on site for most of the project to prepare, fit out and wire the building. Swiss invested in new kit, supplied by Girbau UK, including ten 50kg gas-fired dryers and two new continuous batch washers, one 16 stage and one 12 stage.

Water consumption is expected to reduce by 40 per cent, from eight litres per kg washed to five litres, in the new continuous batch tunnel washers supplied by Girbau.

There has also been investment in the latest technology to increase efficiency and reduce manual handling, thus improving life for the 47 production staff on each shift.A new gravity-powered sky-track automatically transports up to 200 bags via a rail system, around the roof of the laundry. The system transports each piece of linen from wash to final press, with up to 50kg of linen contained in each blue or white bag.

The adoption of cool-chemistry, from Christeyns, means a high quality finish is achieved when washing at cooler temperatures. The laundry chemicals manufacturer had already worked with Swiss Laundry on their sister Camplings site in Great Yarmouth and now has a contract to support both operations for most of the decade.

Christeyns won the original contract based on its innovative Cool ChemistryTM, that combines equipment and chemistry to deliver improved whiteness and increased disinfection whilst washing at lower temperatures. Christeyns’ director Dave Aveyard said: “We are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Swiss Laundry and the Turvill family and congratulate them on the opening of their new facility. “The equipment installed at both sites has helped position Swiss as one of the most energy efficient laundry companies in Europe.” I

n addition to the chemistry, Christeyns have provided the latest auto-dosing equipment, Christeyns Flux Multi and Flux Star, to provide dosing to the washer-extractors and tunnel washer with both units integrated and controlled by the management information system Laundry X-Pert. The advanced laundry management information software (MIS), helps manage and control the cost and efficiency of the laundry wash process from one central system which along with Laundry Dashboard, gives real-time insight into the productivity of both staff and processes, providing updates on current productivity against targets. High tech water and energy handling equipment installed by Christeyns, including the Heat X Energo heat exchanger, allow Swiss to run a zero steam laundry where both water and energy are recycled. This will dramatically reduce water usage per kilogram washed, and, increase the amount of water that can be re-used. The decision to ask Girbau UK to supply gas fired dryers and tunnel washers comes after their collaboration on the company’s project at Camplings Linen in Great Yarmouth in 2017.

Peter Rankin, managing director of Girbau UK said: “It was a pleasure for Girbau UK to be invited again to support Swiss Laundry, in the design and installation of their second purpose built commercial laundry. “After two years in development, it was great to see the unveiling and to hear that it has doubled its throughput and is one of the most technically advanced, innovative and environmentally responsible commercial laundries in Europe. Girbau continues to develop their technologies and grow alongside their customers in the UK and worldwide.

“Our congratulations to everyone at Swiss! 2019 was an incredibly exciting year, not just in this partnership with the Turvill family and their investment in Swiss Laundry; we’ve seen substantial growth overall in our industrial customer base. “Having acquired several industrial contracts for government projects with HMP and the NHS in the latter part of 2019, we have elevated our position in this market, and we look forward to expanding the UK team further during 2020.”

Among the guests at the launch was Barbara Cooke of BC Softwear who supplies towelling and robes to Swiss. She said she found the operation “Very impressive. I love all the eco-side with the choice of chemicals, the water supply and the temperature reduction.” At its peak, the Papworth laundry will have a capacity for washing, drying and pressing up to 500,000 individual pieces of linen, including bed sheets, towels and napkins, every week. They currently shrink wrap linens for delivery but aim to use the lowest impact wrapping possible and are looking at alternatives. Swiss decided against installing dry cleaning facilities at the new site but will still offer a service, outsourcing the work locally.

Mark Turvill adds; “We’re now fully operational at our larger, more efficient laundry and have never been in a better place to service new contracts and meet growing demand from our existing customers as we start the new year. The last word goes to his mother Marina, the former company chairman who worked in the business through the seventies and eighties, said: “Since my late husband Keith first acquired shares in Swiss Laundry in the 1930s to today, Swiss Laundry has been successful because the business has always been nurtured, with all family members and our much-valued staff giving it their total commitment.

“I’m extremely proud of the world-class facility we see at Papworth today. It’s a real mark of achievement, and a symbol of all the hard work and dedication put into the business, over the years.”

Craig Saunt, production and engineering director, who has been with the company for over 12 years, managed the refit project.

Jean Anderson reports back from the official opening event of Swiss Laundry’s brand new facility just outside of Cambridge.

Family and heritage are at the heart of Swiss Laundry. It began life in Cambridge in 1904 and has remained at the same premises for 116 years. Until now.

The last two years have seen careful investment of around £6m in what they describe as “one of the most technically advanced, innovative and environmentally responsible commercial laundries in Europe”.

With their premises in central Cambridge sold, Swiss Laundry has fully relocated west of the city to Papworth to a 38,000 sqft purpose-built laundry that at its peak will have the capacity to process half a million items a week, double its previous capacity.

The company provides linen hire and laundry services to tourism, hospitality and university customers throughout the east of England. Part of the Swiss Camplings group, the combined turnover in 2019 was £13m. Turnover for the Cambridge operation jumped to £5m in 2019, up from £4.5m in 2018. The Turvill family, at the helm for 80 years, are confident that the investment they have made equips them for future growth.

The Turvill family outside the new Swiss Laundry premises. From left, Richard, Marina, Guy and Mark.

The new site, beside fields some 13 miles from the former premises, is very different to the old home of the business in Cherry Hinton. Mark Turvill, Swiss Laundry’s commercial director, said: “We’re really proud of our roots in Cambridge, and while we needed larger, more modern premises, we wanted to remain close to the city. “Some of our employees have worked for us for more than 30 years, so it was important to find a new home where we could take them with us, offering long-term, secure employment.”

The chairman, Guy Turvill, and directors Mark, James and Richard Turvill, along with their mother Marina, recently welcomed some 80 business partners and customers to Papworth for a behind the scenes tour of the laundry operation. The project has seen Swiss work with companies including Girbau, Christeyns, Laundryquip and Linen Connect plus build partners Michael Saul Electrical, CRS Gas Solutions and Fox Energy to realise its ambitions. Mark Turvill said: “Our priority was to upgrade and invest in the very latest technology, with the aim of minimising our impact on the environment. “We’ve made a significant investment in new machines, which will dramatically reduce our water usage per kilogram washed, and, increase the amount of water we’re able to recycle and re-use.

“While the design and installation of a new hot water system, replacing a traditional boiler, will minimise our environmental impact further. We’re now able to control and direct heat to specific parts of the laundry, rather than heating the entire site, meaning less energy is wasted.” The new system involved building a 200-tonne water tank to house 200,000 litres of water.

Contractor Mick Saul explained that the huge tank required a metre deep reinforced concrete platform to ensure it didn’t slip into the neighbouring field. “It was one of the biggest jobs!” His team of 10 was on site for most of the project to prepare, fit out and wire the building. Swiss invested in new kit, supplied by Girbau UK, including ten 50kg gas-fired dryers and two new continuous batch washers, one 16 stage and one 12 stage.

Water consumption is expected to reduce by 40 per cent, from eight litres per kg washed to five litres, in the new continuous batch tunnel washers supplied by Girbau.

There has also been investment in the latest technology to increase efficiency and reduce manual handling, thus improving life for the 47 production staff on each shift.A new gravity-powered sky-track automatically transports up to 200 bags via a rail system, around the roof of the laundry. The system transports each piece of linen from wash to final press, with up to 50kg of linen contained in each blue or white bag.

The adoption of cool-chemistry, from Christeyns, means a high quality finish is achieved when washing at cooler temperatures. The laundry chemicals manufacturer had already worked with Swiss Laundry on their sister Camplings site in Great Yarmouth and now has a contract to support both operations for most of the decade.

Christeyns won the original contract based on its innovative Cool ChemistryTM, that combines equipment and chemistry to deliver improved whiteness and increased disinfection whilst washing at lower temperatures. Christeyns’ director Dave Aveyard said: “We are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Swiss Laundry and the Turvill family and congratulate them on the opening of their new facility. “The equipment installed at both sites has helped position Swiss as one of the most energy efficient laundry companies in Europe.” I

n addition to the chemistry, Christeyns have provided the latest auto-dosing equipment, Christeyns Flux Multi and Flux Star, to provide dosing to the washer-extractors and tunnel washer with both units integrated and controlled by the management information system Laundry X-Pert. The advanced laundry management information software (MIS), helps manage and control the cost and efficiency of the laundry wash process from one central system which along with Laundry Dashboard, gives real-time insight into the productivity of both staff and processes, providing updates on current productivity against targets. High tech water and energy handling equipment installed by Christeyns, including the Heat X Energo heat exchanger, allow Swiss to run a zero steam laundry where both water and energy are recycled. This will dramatically reduce water usage per kilogram washed, and, increase the amount of water that can be re-used. The decision to ask Girbau UK to supply gas fired dryers and tunnel washers comes after their collaboration on the company’s project at Camplings Linen in Great Yarmouth in 2017.

Peter Rankin, managing director of Girbau UK said: “It was a pleasure for Girbau UK to be invited again to support Swiss Laundry, in the design and installation of their second purpose built commercial laundry. “After two years in development, it was great to see the unveiling and to hear that it has doubled its throughput and is one of the most technically advanced, innovative and environmentally responsible commercial laundries in Europe. Girbau continues to develop their technologies and grow alongside their customers in the UK and worldwide.

“Our congratulations to everyone at Swiss! 2019 was an incredibly exciting year, not just in this partnership with the Turvill family and their investment in Swiss Laundry; we’ve seen substantial growth overall in our industrial customer base. “Having acquired several industrial contracts for government projects with HMP and the NHS in the latter part of 2019, we have elevated our position in this market, and we look forward to expanding the UK team further during 2020.”

Among the guests at the launch was Barbara Cooke of BC Softwear who supplies towelling and robes to Swiss. She said she found the operation “Very impressive. I love all the eco-side with the choice of chemicals, the water supply and the temperature reduction.” At its peak, the Papworth laundry will have a capacity for washing, drying and pressing up to 500,000 individual pieces of linen, including bed sheets, towels and napkins, every week. They currently shrink wrap linens for delivery but aim to use the lowest impact wrapping possible and are looking at alternatives. Swiss decided against installing dry cleaning facilities at the new site but will still offer a service, outsourcing the work locally.

Mark Turvill adds; “We’re now fully operational at our larger, more efficient laundry and have never been in a better place to service new contracts and meet growing demand from our existing customers as we start the new year. The last word goes to his mother Marina, the former company chairman who worked in the business through the seventies and eighties, said: “Since my late husband Keith first acquired shares in Swiss Laundry in the 1930s to today, Swiss Laundry has been successful because the business has always been nurtured, with all family members and our much-valued staff giving it their total commitment.

“I’m extremely proud of the world-class facility we see at Papworth today. It’s a real mark of achievement, and a symbol of all the hard work and dedication put into the business, over the years.”

Craig Saunt, production and engineering director, who has been with the company for over 12 years, managed the refit project.

Watch the new site build at Swiss Laundry

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