Collaboration between Elis and JENSEN results in new product developments
ENSEN launched its new ergonomic sorting platform at the Texcare International show in Frankfurt, in 2016. As it maximizes the laundry sorting volume, this ergonomic solution boosts the productivity in the sorting area. It also reduces work-related fatigue and increases operator performance. The first customer to immediately see the benefits of this new design was the largest French textile rental group in Europe and Latin America, Elis. Since then, the new ergonomic sorting platform has been installed in many laundries around the world.
From initial idea to joint product development
The JENSEN engineers were in the process of developing a new sorting station when Elis launched a call for tenders for a new factory in the Paris region. The bid document described the expected good practices and ergonomics of each workstation, including the sorting area of soiled linen. JENSEN's R&D engineers realized that their new sorting design, developed in collaboration with a European Work Environment Authority, was very close to the requirements specified by the French laundry rental group, and did not hesitate to make the necessary adaptations to meet 100% of the Elis demands in terms of body posture and body/arm angle. The foundation for this new development was JENSEN's Multi-Sort platform, ideal for laundries handling a wide range of hotel and hospital laundry categories. The Multi-Sort is perfect sorting solution for applications with more than 10 categories, which can also easily be adapted to a customer’s preference of sorting belt configuration, including a carousel type belt arrangement.
In practice - at Elis, in Aix-les-Bains
The first ergonomic Multi-Sort was installed in Elis' new laundry in Nanterre, near Paris, and laid the foundation for a new series product. When Elis started planning a new turnkey laundry in Aix-les-Bains, the ergonomic sorting platform was one of the requirements. Located in the Savoy Alps, between Geneva and Grenoble, this spa town offers wonderful hotels in all price ranges for tourists looking for relaxation and well-being in a beautiful landscape. The Elis Aix-les-Bains laundry processes linen for both the hotel and hospital sectors in two six-day shifts. The volume varies according to the season, with a range from 60 to 150 tonnes per week.
Improve production with seemingly continous sorting
Futurail sorting bins have the option to be designed with intermediate double doors. Once a specific, designated weight has been reached within the main bin chute, these double doors will close, separating the main bin chute from an upper chamber. This upper chamber allows for the operators to continue sorting with minimal down time. These doors are designed to hold a specific capacity until the bin underneath has been released of the main load. Under normal operation without double doors, the operator would have to stop sorting until the main chute is fully released. With the optional double doors added to the sorting bin, the operator can continue sorting immediately, which improves production numbers on the sorting platform.
Total control for total performance
Rail Explorer, a complete material handling software created by JENSEN, is controlling all conveyors including shuttles in the washroom area down to the Vikings prior to the feeders. Rail Explorer has many functions, which can range from allowing the bins to be re-calibrated without any operator input to giving a total laundry overview from one centralized location. Individual machines can be monitored as well. For a laundry of any size, Rail Explorer is the perfect software that improves the laundry logistics.
Small details with a great effect
Improving the body posture is one aspect of increasing the ergonomy, but there are more factors that make life easier and better for the operators. Foam covers on the platform protect the operators in front of the bins. Any touch points are softened and more comfortable as opposed to standard stainless steel valances. Also, the conveyor belt has additional fins, which stop the linen from traveling further along the belt. This allows the operators to have quick access to unsorted linen.
What does Elis say?
During our visit, we had a chat with two ladies that worked on the sorting platform, both were full of praise and confirmed how comfortable their working place really was.
Thomas Sautjeau, production manager at Elis Aix-les-Bains, is very satisfied with the design of the sorting platform: “Working with the new sorting platform is less physical than with other sorting platforms. Also, the screens help to improve the sorting accuracy. For us, it is a perfect solution”.
The start-up of the new laundry – with JENSEN equipment in all sections - was a huge task for Thomas Sautjeau and his team in Aix-les-Bains: “Opening a laundry of this size is a big thing. JENSEN's technical support was always there to support us in this phase", concludes Thomas Sautjeau.