NLG conference report

The NLG end of year gathering took place at the Doubletree Hilton in Leeds in December.

With sponsorship from Vision Support Services, Ecolab and JENSEN, looking after your linen was key to the presentations.

Kicking off the presentations was Ian Stubbs from JENSEN who spoke of how customers are looking for consistent quality, ease of operation and maintenance, lower energy consumption, and standardisation of spare parts. Stubbs went on to describe in detail the new product ranges from JENSEN, that offer these options.

The first product up for scrutiny was JENSEN ‘KliQ’ feeder, this machine has a new transfer beam without suction fans so easier to keep clean. It also has a new type of suction box and a new servo clamp system, the machine can easily be accessed and Stubbs stated all the fans are inverter driven, meaning precise control of each type of textile, regardless of weight for example light or heavy duvets.

Stubbs went on to describe how the new transfer beam operates, transferring the linen from the feeding clamp to the holding bar by variable air blast, reducing the likelihood of dropped linen within the machine.

He continued with details of the ‘EXFG’ and ‘EXF’ ironing equipment, in either steam or gas, depending on the set up, they come with two types of burners 540kW and 750kW for larger items. The ‘F’ in the product name refers to the flexible chest made from a thicker 8mm steel inner plate with a 0.5mm increase to 2mm stainless outer casing.

‘Katana’, another model in the JENSEN range, a compact folder with up to five inline stackers situated beneath the equipment with side access cross fold conveyor using a direct drive inverter-controlled motor. With this compact design, ironer lines can be positioned closer together to optimise laundry space. The equipment has variable air pressure control and ‘J’ knife for precision. With ‘J’ knife technology this allows reduced air pressure consumption. The Katana has a machine cycle time of around two seconds allowing a theoretical 1800 pcs/hr from one lane. Hinged doors on the equipment allows for ease of access for maintenance issues.

‘Jenscan’, technology developed by passing light through the linen to identify imperfections such as holes, tears and discolouration reducing the need for rewash.

Finally, Stubbs spoke of the ‘ALPHA by JENSEN’ range, high quality value for money equipment. The simplest range from the JENSEN portfolio are standalone with fewer options and with standard configuration. These machines are ideal for customers who require dependable equipment that gets the job done.

Delegates asked, “why should we purchase any of these pieces of kit from JENSEN”? Stubbs replied, simplicity of operation, standardisation of spare parts, and complete ease of maintenance as there are no brushes on outlet conveyor, the fans are located at the rear of the machines have inspection houses built in and ducting is all on quick disconnects, these are the key attributes of the equipment. He continued to say that around 90 per cent of problems incurred with equipment is down to cleanliness and general maintenance of the machinery.

Henk Zimmerman from Ecolab used a steam free laundry in Oslo operating for just over three years as an example for his presentation. Saving water and energy consumption by heat recovery was the focus of his pitch. Using the Ecolab products ‘EOP Plus’, or heat exchangers as we commonly know them, with the integration of the ‘Aqua Energy System’ and the ‘Aquavent’.

Zimmerman described how Ecolab looked at the wastewater produced by the washers, in the example this came out at 40 degrees, by using the heat exchanger the heat was transferred from the wastewater to the fresh water as they passed through the exchanger. For best efficiency Ecolab devised a control buffer system (Aqua Energy) with integrated level sensors and continuous temperature control, using the system (EOP Plus) the flow rate and pH of the wastewater could also be monitored.

Zimmerman continued, the ironers were another area of focus, by looking at the steam emitted from the ironers Ecolab addressed the issue of how to store the energy from the steam. Aquavent, a system that can recover the moist exhaust air from the ironer, collects this in a holding tank and separate the wax from the water. The separated water is stored until it is then recycled to the washer equipment, when required. Zimmerman claims the system could potentially save £15,000 in energy usage, and with the cost of the equipment between £50,000-£100,000 depending on the size of plant, payback could be in as little as four to seven years. “So, what would be the minimum size plant this investment would require, maybe 100 tonnes/week?” Zimmerman was asked. In his reply, he said there were many factors to consider, but 100 tonnes/ week could offer good payback.

He concluded, for smaller operations there are cheaper alternatives, but these can be less efficient.

Fraser Donaldson from Vision Support Services was back for his pre-Christmas slot at the NLG. Donaldson provided an insight into the business over the last year and with contracts in the bag for 2020 has his sights firmly set on 2021 and beyond. He continued; customer service is a key focus within the business offering unheard of credit terms up to 120 days in some cases.

He explained how Vision have grown in the last year from a global operation of 164 employees over six countries, to where they are now employing around 2,200 people resulting from their mergence with WestPoint Home, based in the United States. WestPoint Home has been a home fashion pioneer for over 200 years.

Donaldson went on to say how WestPoint Home had a totally different set up from Vision. At Vision there are no operational plants instead they have sourcing deals where they look for the best cotton, best yarns and best textiles, affording the business more flexibility, whereas WestPoint have arguably the largest factory situated in Bahrain producing over nine times more textiles than Vision can sell. From the merger, Vision now head the hospitality side of the business taking the turnover to around £120 million on a global scale.

He continued, since the merger Vision have had personnel changes and have really taken a good look at the way the company operates, even down to having a core range review, which meant disposing of the stock customers don’t want and stocking up on the products currently in demand by hotels and laundries.

According to Donaldson the aim for the coming year is a £10 million drive in top line revenue, they will achieve this by redefining the targets, tracking and having a good customer base starting from contracts and agreements already in place.

Finally, Donaldson took the opportunity to introduce Lee Francis the new key accounts director. Francis who came from workwear company Simon Jersey, having been there for 17 years and managing the hospitality sector for them.

Francis’s role in the company will be heading up the laundry division, looking at key accounts, the way the company operates with its customers and looking for ways to improve the service Vision offer their clients.

Stuart Boyd from the Laundry Technology Company took the usual afternoon shift with numerous comical references to Beatles song titles.

Boyd discussed topics including yellowing of the linen and the causes of this problem, water usage, weighing of the linen to ensure machines are not overloaded or even underloaded. Applying some common sense when it comes to rejecting linen. Rewash analysis, was another topic tackled, looking at why items are rewashed. Boyd concluded his presentation with an update on the member TP performance tables.

Day two started with David Stevens from the TSA providing an insight on the past, present and future of the association. Stevens spoke of a deal brokered between the TSA and the NLG related to turnover of the member businesses, he was keen to encourage group members to use the association as a benefit of being associate members.

Other topics covered by the TSA were the climate change seminar, PPE seminar, workwear seminars and boiler training amongst others. In tribute to Murray Simpson the association are renaming the TSMC management course after their former CEO.

Stevens encouraged NLG members to take a moment to look for the 14 good practice guides produced by the association; these can be found on the TSA website. Another document in production is the management guide for writing a health and safety document, all these and more are available from the TSA and are handy little guides for any small laundry business.

He continued on ways the TSA are looking to change the board by bringing in some independents to freshen up and become representatives for the industry. Currently, if a business has a turnover of over £25 million, automatically directors have a right to be part of the group.

Women in the industry is another area of interest for the Knowledge Network Open Day on 5 February, Rona Tait from TDS Commercial will be chairing the meetings. With the industry evolving, the TSA are looking at why women don’t feel comfortable amongst a heavily weighted male orientated sector.

Michael Hunt from Ecolab was the last speaker, looking at ways to test and remove size in linen including identifying staining. Two different types of size are produced, a natural modified starch and a synthetic starch. Size is a protection process that is applied to the yarn to improve the weave ability, this will enable the yarn to become stronger and more durable during production of the textile. Sizing improves absorption, friction, tension and elasticity during textile manufacture. However, size can cause problems for laundries, countless rewashes are required to remove completely. Hunt explains how you can test for size by using the Ecolab spotter kits, as by not knowing the type of starch in the weave can potentially make the problem worse. He continues, leaving the size in new linen can cause problems such as stain retention, yellowing of the textile and creasing. According to Hunt, Ecolab have developed a wash process that can combat both types of size in linen. He recommends, from his experience, using the Ecolab chemistry in washer-extractors rather than batch washers, although it can be used in both.

The session concluded with some testing using the Ecolab products on new and washed linen.

The NLG end of year gathering took place at the Doubletree Hilton in Leeds in December.

With sponsorship from Vision Support Services, Ecolab and JENSEN, looking after your linen was key to the presentations.

Kicking off the presentations was Ian Stubbs from JENSEN who spoke of how customers are looking for consistent quality, ease of operation and maintenance, lower energy consumption, and standardisation of spare parts. Stubbs went on to describe in detail the new product ranges from JENSEN, that offer these options.

The first product up for scrutiny was JENSEN ‘KliQ’ feeder, this machine has a new transfer beam without suction fans so easier to keep clean. It also has a new type of suction box and a new servo clamp system, the machine can easily be accessed and Stubbs stated all the fans are inverter driven, meaning precise control of each type of textile, regardless of weight for example light or heavy duvets.

Stubbs went on to describe how the new transfer beam operates, transferring the linen from the feeding clamp to the holding bar by variable air blast, reducing the likelihood of dropped linen within the machine.

He continued with details of the ‘EXFG’ and ‘EXF’ ironing equipment, in either steam or gas, depending on the set up, they come with two types of burners 540kW and 750kW for larger items. The ‘F’ in the product name refers to the flexible chest made from a thicker 8mm steel inner plate with a 0.5mm increase to 2mm stainless outer casing.

‘Katana’, another model in the JENSEN range, a compact folder with up to five inline stackers situated beneath the equipment with side access cross fold conveyor using a direct drive inverter-controlled motor. With this compact design, ironer lines can be positioned closer together to optimise laundry space. The equipment has variable air pressure control and ‘J’ knife for precision. With ‘J’ knife technology this allows reduced air pressure consumption. The Katana has a machine cycle time of around two seconds allowing a theoretical 1800 pcs/hr from one lane. Hinged doors on the equipment allows for ease of access for maintenance issues.

‘Jenscan’, technology developed by passing light through the linen to identify imperfections such as holes, tears and discolouration reducing the need for rewash.

Finally, Stubbs spoke of the ‘ALPHA by JENSEN’ range, high quality value for money equipment. The simplest range from the JENSEN portfolio are standalone with fewer options and with standard configuration. These machines are ideal for customers who require dependable equipment that gets the job done.

Delegates asked, “why should we purchase any of these pieces of kit from JENSEN”? Stubbs replied, simplicity of operation, standardisation of spare parts, and complete ease of maintenance as there are no brushes on outlet conveyor, the fans are located at the rear of the machines have inspection houses built in and ducting is all on quick disconnects, these are the key attributes of the equipment. He continued to say that around 90 per cent of problems incurred with equipment is down to cleanliness and general maintenance of the machinery.

Henk Zimmerman from Ecolab used a steam free laundry in Oslo operating for just over three years as an example for his presentation. Saving water and energy consumption by heat recovery was the focus of his pitch. Using the Ecolab products ‘EOP Plus’, or heat exchangers as we commonly know them, with the integration of the ‘Aqua Energy System’ and the ‘Aquavent’.

Zimmerman described how Ecolab looked at the wastewater produced by the washers, in the example this came out at 40 degrees, by using the heat exchanger the heat was transferred from the wastewater to the fresh water as they passed through the exchanger. For best efficiency Ecolab devised a control buffer system (Aqua Energy) with integrated level sensors and continuous temperature control, using the system (EOP Plus) the flow rate and pH of the wastewater could also be monitored.

Zimmerman continued, the ironers were another area of focus, by looking at the steam emitted from the ironers Ecolab addressed the issue of how to store the energy from the steam. Aquavent, a system that can recover the moist exhaust air from the ironer, collects this in a holding tank and separate the wax from the water. The separated water is stored until it is then recycled to the washer equipment, when required. Zimmerman claims the system could potentially save £15,000 in energy usage, and with the cost of the equipment between £50,000-£100,000 depending on the size of plant, payback could be in as little as four to seven years. “So, what would be the minimum size plant this investment would require, maybe 100 tonnes/week?” Zimmerman was asked. In his reply, he said there were many factors to consider, but 100 tonnes/ week could offer good payback.

He concluded, for smaller operations there are cheaper alternatives, but these can be less efficient.

Fraser Donaldson from Vision Support Services was back for his pre-Christmas slot at the NLG. Donaldson provided an insight into the business over the last year and with contracts in the bag for 2020 has his sights firmly set on 2021 and beyond. He continued; customer service is a key focus within the business offering unheard of credit terms up to 120 days in some cases.

He explained how Vision have grown in the last year from a global operation of 164 employees over six countries, to where they are now employing around 2,200 people resulting from their mergence with WestPoint Home, based in the United States. WestPoint Home has been a home fashion pioneer for over 200 years.

Donaldson went on to say how WestPoint Home had a totally different set up from Vision. At Vision there are no operational plants instead they have sourcing deals where they look for the best cotton, best yarns and best textiles, affording the business more flexibility, whereas WestPoint have arguably the largest factory situated in Bahrain producing over nine times more textiles than Vision can sell. From the merger, Vision now head the hospitality side of the business taking the turnover to around £120 million on a global scale.

He continued, since the merger Vision have had personnel changes and have really taken a good look at the way the company operates, even down to having a core range review, which meant disposing of the stock customers don’t want and stocking up on the products currently in demand by hotels and laundries.

According to Donaldson the aim for the coming year is a £10 million drive in top line revenue, they will achieve this by redefining the targets, tracking and having a good customer base starting from contracts and agreements already in place.

Finally, Donaldson took the opportunity to introduce Lee Francis the new key accounts director. Francis who came from workwear company Simon Jersey, having been there for 17 years and managing the hospitality sector for them.

Francis’s role in the company will be heading up the laundry division, looking at key accounts, the way the company operates with its customers and looking for ways to improve the service Vision offer their clients.

Stuart Boyd from the Laundry Technology Company took the usual afternoon shift with numerous comical references to Beatles song titles.

Boyd discussed topics including yellowing of the linen and the causes of this problem, water usage, weighing of the linen to ensure machines are not overloaded or even underloaded. Applying some common sense when it comes to rejecting linen. Rewash analysis, was another topic tackled, looking at why items are rewashed. Boyd concluded his presentation with an update on the member TP performance tables.

Day two started with David Stevens from the TSA providing an insight on the past, present and future of the association. Stevens spoke of a deal brokered between the TSA and the NLG related to turnover of the member businesses, he was keen to encourage group members to use the association as a benefit of being associate members.

Other topics covered by the TSA were the climate change seminar, PPE seminar, workwear seminars and boiler training amongst others. In tribute to Murray Simpson the association are renaming the TSMC management course after their former CEO.

Stevens encouraged NLG members to take a moment to look for the 14 good practice guides produced by the association; these can be found on the TSA website. Another document in production is the management guide for writing a health and safety document, all these and more are available from the TSA and are handy little guides for any small laundry business.

He continued on ways the TSA are looking to change the board by bringing in some independents to freshen up and become representatives for the industry. Currently, if a business has a turnover of over £25 million, automatically directors have a right to be part of the group.

Women in the industry is another area of interest for the Knowledge Network Open Day on 5 February, Rona Tait from TDS Commercial will be chairing the meetings. With the industry evolving, the TSA are looking at why women don’t feel comfortable amongst a heavily weighted male orientated sector.

Michael Hunt from Ecolab was the last speaker, looking at ways to test and remove size in linen including identifying staining. Two different types of size are produced, a natural modified starch and a synthetic starch. Size is a protection process that is applied to the yarn to improve the weave ability, this will enable the yarn to become stronger and more durable during production of the textile. Sizing improves absorption, friction, tension and elasticity during textile manufacture. However, size can cause problems for laundries, countless rewashes are required to remove completely. Hunt explains how you can test for size by using the Ecolab spotter kits, as by not knowing the type of starch in the weave can potentially make the problem worse. He continues, leaving the size in new linen can cause problems such as stain retention, yellowing of the textile and creasing. According to Hunt, Ecolab have developed a wash process that can combat both types of size in linen. He recommends, from his experience, using the Ecolab chemistry in washer-extractors rather than batch washers, although it can be used in both.

The session concluded with some testing using the Ecolab products on new and washed linen.

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