Computer Software Architects’ LinenMasterNet Production Management and Business Intelligence tools are designed to help laundry operators do business their way, the company says. A comprehensive list of features enables one to manage production requirements by route, delivery or cart. Built-in customizable dashboards are updated automatically, providing the correct information to the right people at the right time, the company says.
LinenMasterNet provides for focused production planning. Cart building can be customized by customer order, maximization of space available for packing and transportation, or production floor workflow. Requirements can be used to calculate standard labor hours by work center and task.
Built-in quality control, laundry-defined business rules remove the burden of manual audits in the delivery process, the company says. Production floor shipping systems enforce weight checking, comparing actual net weights with expected weights based on items shipped and standard item weights.
The laundry management team can view real-time requirement boards to make informed decisions throughout the day, Computer Software Architects says. The team can monitor soil-to-clean ratios; track containers, garments and other uniquely identified assets; and ensure delivery accuracy each step of the way.
Laundry financial performance can be measured by importing labor metrics along with utility usage to provide profitability by customer estimates.
The keystone to LinenMasterNet’s Business Intelligence system is “Dashboard Gadgets” that provide the means for the creation of business rules to allow for real-time management by exception, the company says. Every gadget can be set to send off alerts for any production metric that is out of desired operating standards. Dashboards are customizable; programming skills are not required.
Gardner Machinery Corp.’s Piece Count Light Frame is a tool for quickly counting small items such as wipers or cleaning rags, the company says.
The frames, which can be built in various sizes to accommodate a customer’s needs, count items as they are thrown through the opening. The counter will count up to 99,999 items with ultra-rapid response time and is reset by pushing a button.
It may also be programmed to register weight instead of pieces, and can be mounted remotely at a location convenient for the operator.
A frame may be mounted horizontally or vertically on a tabletop or along a sorting conveyor.
With the Gardner Sort Weigh Chute, items are manually sorted into weigh chutes, which are constructed of stainless steel with pneumatically operated doors on heavy-duty hinges for long life.
Each Sort Weigh Chute control operates a pair of chutes, uses two load cells to determine the weight of goods being sorted into the chutes, and signals when each chute is full. Vacuum Fluorescent Displays indicate which item(s) should be loaded into the chutes.
Some advantages of a chute system over a sort-to-rail system are: it offers the ability to sort goods in areas with low-ceiling constraints; it allows a large number of classifications to be sorted, weighed or counted in a relatively small footprint; and it is easier to monitor, Gardner Machinery Corp. says.
TexTrax® 4.0 is the latest Linen Management & Route Accounting Software release from Fike & Fike. It has been redeveloped utilizing the latest technologies and state-of-the-art tools, achieving increased performance and improving user friendliness, the company says.
TexTrax® 4.0 is 100% web-based and may be easily implemented at any site that has Internet access. Optionally, it may also be installed on a hospital’s internal servers and run as an intranet application.
The software has many new features, such as utilization of RFID, smart phones and tablet PCs; soiled-jobs tracking; multilanguage versions for PDAs (hand-held data collection); new cart-weighing process that interfaces with scales; and web-based remote entry allowing clients to directly enter orders or cancellations and perform inquiries.
TexTrax® 4.0 utilizes short, function-specific online tutorials explaining how to operate certain functions, making it easier to train new staff and clients and reducing training costs, Fike & Fike says.
The software utilizes state-of-the-art hand-held data collection and bar coding for daily deliveries, exchange carts, top-off, special orders, bulk deliveries and web-based remote orders, as well as comprehensive reports such as usage, shortages, par analysis, departmental ranking, inventory, graphing and more.
Softrol’s PulseNet Production System, or PPS, automatically and accurately monitors throughput in the various operations in a textile rental facility, the company says. Operators use employee-specific ID cards to log in to particular tasks at PPS workstations installed in their cost centers. Data is recorded by operator, product and equipment.
The system can be applied to finishing machinery, soil- and clean-sorting systems, wash-aisle management, and even manual tasks, such as truck loading/unloading or hand-folding.
For tasks with defined standards, PPS provides real-time feedback to operators directly at their workstations, to motivate them to maintain standards (or alert them if improvement is necessary) while they work. Adjustments can be made immediately, which Softrol says is a significant advantage over traditional methods that provide feedback when it is too late, either with production totals at the end of the day or during historic performance reviews.
The information is also available to supervisors and management via large-screen LCD Message Centers in the facility or via the web-based reporting system.
Reports are available for current or historic data, providing information on production volume, performance efficiency, maintenance or downtime, and “idle” time (the time that operators are not recognized as being logged into productive tasks).
In addition to monitoring production, PPS has a utility module that can track items such as water, gas or chemical usage; wastewater output; and temperatures from plant systems. PPS installations can deliver short-term payback, in as little as one year with 5-10% improvements in labor costs, Softrol claims.
Wesvic Systems presents the PieceCounter, a real-time production management and feedback system to let pressers, finishers, loaders and other front-line workers know how they are performing compared to company goals.
The LCD screen provides the worker with feedback regarding the current pounds-per-operator-hour (PPH) goal, PPH rate, and efficiency. The screen continually updates, and all performance data is automatically uploaded over a traditional computer network to a hosted database.
The PieceCounter helps reduce production labor costs 10-20% by improving productivity, Wesvic says. It works on a variety of equipment, including tunnel finishers, flatwork ironers and folders.
The company says many laundries and cleaners have experienced a six-month ROI with the PieceCounter while simultaneously finding that the system makes it easier for them to manage front-line workers.
Increasing profitability begins by improving efficiency, and this requires data that’s accurate and easy to access. Chicago Dryer Co. (Chicago®) says its ChiLinc (Chicago’s Laundry Information Network Connection) has always provided a complete picture of what is happening now in the flatwork-finishing department.
Now, this data is even more useful because it can be shared using the DataFusion™ system, which specifies the same format for data no matter what equipment manufacturer it comes from.
Current and historical production data by item, line or account, as well as operator efficiency and individual machine-utilization factors, give managers the information needed to produce high-quality finished linen as cost-effectively as possible, Chicago® says.
Chicago®’s in-house design team has also created CHI•Touch, an advancement in finishing-equipment control technology. The operator interacts with the control via a large, rugged, full-color touch screen. A simple, intuitive interface offers a complete package of operating, management and engineering controls, diagnostics and production data, Chicago® says.
CHI•Touch improves upon the simplicity of the groundbreaking CHI Panel, the company adds, so laundry employees can easily access its many features to make working with the equipment more efficient than ever.
Traditional CHI features and functions such as automatic operation, self-testing, fault display and built-in diagnostics, are now incorporated into an even faster and easier-to-use control.
Washnet® is Braun’s laundry business support data management software solution that aids end-users in the strategic planning of their process environment.
The tool allows operators access to real-time performance information and metrics so that they can take a proactive role in facility management, Braun says. The system also allows Braun’s service and support center and client business managers to access this same performance information remotely.
Washnet® supports three laundry systems: conventional washrooms, batch tunnels and finishing equipment.
Features include data sharing (XML compatibility platform), corporate network linking, data query capabilities, customized screens, customized reports in real time, decision-support features, and performance-measurement capability (operators, equipment and overall plant performance).
If a laundry adds equipment, it can easily add it to Washnet® through a set-up icon, either remotely by Braun or the operator via a password, the company says.
All screens within Washnet® are displayed in a graphical layout vs. a spreadsheet and include efficiency icons with machine-utilization numbers for a fast visual snapshot of production status.
Although Washnet® features canned reports, Braun will help a client tailor reports for its specific data needs. Reports can easily be exported into Excel to allow for limitless analytical capabilities for end-users, the company says.
The software helps provide operators the framework from which performance can be measured, opportunities for improvement can be identified, and bottom-line savings can be realized, Braun says.
Phoenix Scale Co. offers its newest 7.1 version of the Laundry-Trak System, a software program designed for use in central laundries to track linen flowing in and out of the plant.
Laundry-Trak is designed for ease of use to help prevent mistakes during cart entry, the company says. The screens allow data entry without using a mouse, and there are bilingual screens (English and Spanish) available.
Laundry-Trak downloads the weight directly from digital scales, which eliminates the need to record the weights manually and helps prevent errors.
It records each shipment by weight and/or quantity and uses this information to produce shipping manifests, history reports, invoices, receiving reports, production reports and cart-tracking reports. There is cost savings through fewer cart losses, more accurate billing, increased professionalism, and more abundant management information, the company says.
Phoenix Scale Co. sells the software alone or with scale and computer hardware, and on-site training comes standard. Options are available to download data into Peachtree® or QuickBooks® accounting software for invoicing, and to use bar-coding equipment or radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips.
The Mildata Computer Management System from Milnor can be a vital component in any commercial laundry. Specifically designed to assist laundry managers, Mildata gathers and analyzes raw data from Milnor equipment, including washer-extractors, tunnel washers, extractors, dryers and material-handling systems.
Mildata benefits include:
The MilMetrix dashboard screen can be centrally located, so employees and management can monitor processing in real time. This screen compares benchmarks with production goals, and allows for the laundry to prevent or minimize machine downtime.
The Pacer Production Management & Training System from Leonard Automatics provides plant management with a simplified method of training new employees, increasing individual production, tracking data per employee, and customized reporting for data trending and analysis, the company says.
The Pacer system provides a range of functionality that Leonard Automatics believes is sure to meet an operator’s individual needs:
Colmac Industries’ AccuCounter equipment automates soiled-linen counting and sorting for linen service, uniform, and retail medical companies using a combination of hardware and software programs.
Software installed on a server monitors and records soil-counting activities while providing reports and data exporting to route accounting for invoicing and billing, the company says.
Belt-driven or manual-feed systems can be converted to a software-based system. A typical workstation allows operators to select and count soiled linens from customer accounts. Vacuum-controlled systems increase production and reduce operator fatigue, according to Colmac. Counted goods are automatically dumped onto a conveyor belt and transferred to wash slings or carts.
Light frames are a lower-cost alternative occupying less space in the soil room and are ideal for smaller laundry operators who desire to count, the company says.
Bulk classifier-type systems consist of one or more classifier bins, each dedicated to an item or wash classification. A combination system can be configured in many different ways to include both classifier bins dumping directly into a sling and standard vacuum bins that dump onto a conveyor belt.
All three soil-counting solutions are driven by a user-friendly, touch-screen operator interface reconfigured as the uniform and linen supply owners’ needs change, Colmac says.
Automation Dynamics’ Vac–Bullet Systems have set the standards for accurate and fast counting and sorting, the company says, claiming that it is the most widely used system in the industry.
The system’s ability to advance one-touch product handling of 60-70% of the total load directly into the sling, either sitting in a cart or hanging from rail, without the need of a belt conveyor and sweeper personnel, presents tremendous ROI and production capabilities, the company says.
The Bullet calculates the sling weight without including the soil weight. The remaining 30-40% of the product load is handled by Automation Dynamics’ new model 750 high-speed individual vacuum collectors, placed onto a belt conveyor and swapped into a sling cart alongside the conveyor.
Counting incoming soil and attaching this count to specific customers has always been a primary reason to purchase a vacuum sort/counting system, the company says. With the cost of cotton “in the stratosphere” and crude oil at more than $100 a barrel, real accountability of inventory is a must.
Counting offers these benefits: