Case Study - Berendsen Speeds Laundry Facility Output with Item Intelligence

July 10, 2015 Lea DeJarlais

Berendsen needed a solution that allowed for the bulk reading of contaminated linens, enabling them to better plan the manpower needed to finish each job. They also wanted a solution that would scale in the future to meet other project needs.

By choosing a RAIN RFID solution, Berendsen was able to achieve:

  • 99.9 percent asset visibility
  • The ability to track each individual linen
  • An increase in the number of linens processed per day

Challenge

Established in 1854, Berendsen is a European textile service business with 127 locations in 15 countries throughout Europe. Berendsen provides service solutions to lease, source, clean and maintain textiles used in various settings, including healthcare, washroom, hotel, restaurant, and cleanroom.

Since 1996, Berendsen has focused on providing services for the healthcare and industrial areas, becoming a leader in their field. Supplying hospitals, retirement homes and care facilities with linens represents a significant part of the daily business for one Berendsen facility in Germany. This facility receives tons of used linens each day. The contaminated linens, shipped in laundry bags and roll cages, are weighed rather than counted to protect workers from the risk of infection. Once the linens are washed, they are manually sorted, giving Berendsen insight into what they’ve received and how much manpower they will need to process the laundry.

Berendsen needed a solution that allowed for the bulk reading of contaminated linens, enabling them to better plan the manpower needed to finish each job. They also wanted a solution that would scale in the future to meet other project needs.  In the past, RAIN RFID solutions had been implemented in other Berendsen facilities to give better insights into laundry care.  As bulk reading was the number one priority of the new system, a RAIN RFID solution, powered by Impinj technology, was implemented to analyze the bulk shipments arriving at the facility.

How it Works

Berendsen partnered with IdentPro, a leading German asset tracking solution provider, to implement RAIN RFID gates at the receiving and shipping areas of the facility, as well as at the segregation line after the washing station. Each linen is tagged with a RAIN RFID tag, and each gate consists of an Impinj Speedway® Revolution reader connected to six Speedway® reader antenna hubs. As the bagged linens arrive at the facility, they pass through the RAIN RFID gate, which reads up to 400 tags at a time. The gates are shielded to help avoid false positive reads from nearby containers containing tagged linens. The RAIN RFID infrastructure is monitored and managed by IdentPro’s Control Unit identIQ; embedded RAIN RFID software filters and aggregates the data from the reads.

Benefits

Implementing a RAIN RFID solution has doubled the speed at which Berendsen processes linens, increasing the number of linens processed per day to 15,000 units. This increase in processing speed means Berendsen will see a return on their investment in less than 12 months.

With 99.9 percent asset visibility, Berendsen is now able to plan resources more cost effectively, especially labor, which represents the biggest cost. Because several million pieces of laundry circulate within the Berendsen group every day, tagging all pieces of laundry will require approximately three years time. Berendsen is planning to gradually expand RAIN RFID to their other locations.

Besides the counting aspect, Berendsen now has the ability to track each individual linen. This assures that each linen goes back to the same hospital it came from. Additionally, they can now store information directly on the RFID tag, including the type of linen and the cleaning requirements (cleaning steps, temperature, detergent), so the cleaning process can be automated based on the information stored on the tag, thus making industry 4.0 – the term for a smart factory where intelligent, connected machines make decentralized decisions - a reality.

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