A Range from 500 to 4 Million Transponders
Tagitron has integrated close to 60 RFID-based solutions in laundries since 2010. One project, for example, includes 500 RFID tagged horse blankets for a laundry. For a major project in the healthcare sector, tagitron has already delivered several million transponders both directly and indirectly. The range of projects is immense.
Tagitron operates a Competence and Application Center in Salzkotten. Every laundry can optimize its own processes there with RFID technology by way of testing. The test findings are incorporated in detail into the proof of concept, so that each project is individually tailored to the situation of the respective laundry.
Jan Wendisch, Managing Director, Head of TextileID & Healthcare/Rescue Services, tagitron GmbH in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global.
Tagitron was founded in 1992 in Salzkotten and has been focusing on RFID technology ever since. The company has 31 employees at the Salzkotten site. In an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Jan Wendisch, Managing Director of Tagitron, explains how the automation of logistical processes and the willingness to digitalize generate significant optimizations in laundries.
Objectives: Reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction.
From experience, the mechanical engineer reports that a fast ROI often makes the decision for RFID integration easier. However, Jan Wendisch sees compelling, sustainable advantages in the growing satisfaction of a laundry's customers. More convenience, less loss of laundry, reliable deliveries, and streamlined and fast process overal. The secret: Allocating items of laundry clearly and automatically!
What benefits do laundries gain by using UHF RFID technology?
The reduction of losses and a fast return on investment are the most common goals of a laundry. However, if a laundry company considers RFID integration as more sustainable, the solution scores especially through the massive reduction of deliveries and human error in counting and allocating laundry items by hand. Furthermore, the stock of laundry is always accurate thanks to 'real-time inventory'.
The laundry knows its own inventory and thus also the stock of laundry in the hotel, so that every upcoming delivery can be planned in advance. In this way, transport can be managed cost-efficiently. RFID technology guarantees demand- oriented and reliable delivery to customers. Both parties – the laundry and the hotel – benefit from the advantages of RFID technology.
You mentioned 'human error' in laundries. Is there really a data chaos in some laundries?
Incorrect laundry allocation occurs regularly and above all generates costs. In reality it looks like this: A hotel company is supplied with clean laundry. However, the laundry container is incorrectly filled with the laundry of another customer. This is noticed with a time delay. The laundry must be picked up with an additional tour.
Why are laundries not keen on RFID technology?
The core competence of laundries is washing, rather than the digitalization or management of logistics processes. However, customer demands have increased immensely and so have personnel or logistics costs. This applies to small laundries just as much as to large ones. Above all, it is the laundry's customers who demand data transparency.
What does Tagitron offer laundries that need to optimize their processes?
Our unique selling point is the RFID gate for incoming and outgoing goods. The 'Walk through Gate' enables counting and documentation of all ID numbers of all items of laundry at walking speed. Firstly, we can supply everything from consulting and software, to RFID hardware. Our offer: A complete RFID system for the entire laundry process. The textile UHF transponder contains a hard tag that is absolutely resistant to chemicals. In addition, we manufacture 100% 'Made in Germany'. All solutions are produced completely inhouse, in Salzkotten.
Do laundries shy away from patching laundry items?
Patching is entirely uncomplicated and takes only 10 seconds per laundry item. We can do the patching, but also offer the laundries patch machines for purchase and rent.
Complete RFID System for Laundries
The starting version of an RFID system enables the control of incoming and outgoing goods. To accomplish this, the laundry items must be patched and their ID number stored in the IT system. We offer a handheld with software connection for reading the laundry items. The total cost amounts to approximately 3,500 €. Since every laundry is unique, Tagitron enables the testing of RFID technology based on the individual processes in the 'Competence and Application Center' in Salzkotten.
A comprehensive solution is based on an automatic goods receipt via RFID gate software. Both the receipt of dirty laundry, as well as the dispatch of clean laundry, and the delivery to the customer are automatically stored in the IT system and transferred to advanced systems such as Tikos. An electronic delivery note can also be generated for the customer. Invoicing is also done automatically based on the delivery note.
The installation of a more complex RFID system can be a financial burden for laundries. The leasing model helps laundries to avoid tying up capital, or to spread the investment over 36 months as running costs with tax benefits. However, the laundry benefits from the advantages of the RFID solution from day one. The duration and scope of the services, as well as the hardware components can be tailored individually. Currently, in addition to the hardware, the transponders can also be offered in a leasing model.
Labor-Intensive Laundry Service
The shortage of employees poses great challenges, especially for laundries. Counting, sorting and allocating laundry items by hand does not require professional knowledge, but it does require concentration and prudence. Mix-ups are not uncommon. Automated processes on the other hand, run without manual work and thus, without errors. In a matter of seconds, the laundry container with 500 napkins, which passes through the RFID gate, is listed in the system as a goods receipt.
Each napkin is 'present' with its own ID. The system knows at any given time how many laundry products of which type are in the warehouse. This automatic control provides planning reliability, reduces operating costs, and also lowers the laundry's dependence on personnel.
Improving Data Protection and Hygiene with RFID
Without RFID, it is not possible to track how long a textile has already been in the warehouse or a supply cabinet at the individual item level. If fresh laundry is continuously stacked on top of old stock, this can have a negative effect on the hygiene of the textiles. With RFID, it is possible to prove which part has spent how long at which place in the laundry cycle. The optimization of compliance with hygiene guidelines is also supported directly in the laundry. The bulk collection and subsequent (pre-)sorting on the unclean side after delivery of dirty laundry can be carried out partially or fully automatically, depending on the implementation.
Manual collection and sorting can be omitted. The use of RFID also contributes to compliance with strict data protection regulations. For example, if RFID tags replace labels with names in plain text on residents' clothing, all personalized textiles for the laundry and logistics service provider are anonymized as long as there is no direct access to the laundry management system.
Solutions by Tagitron
IPRO Visible Laundry Label
The labels are available in different dimensions with a wide variety of ICs and guarantee reading ranges of at least five meters even after 250 wash cycles. In the latest version – as part of the thermo stabilized Visible Laundry Generation – the tags retain their performance even at 80°C. The most compact design of the hard tags starts at a diameter of six millimeters and a thickness of 0.5 millimeters.
RFID Gate Software Solution
Software-based mapping of all RFIDrelated laundry work steps via the 'RFID Gate' middleware. The middleware acts as an interface between RFID capture points and the RFIDsupported laundry and textile service processes. Performance data is collected, condensed, visualized, and managed or transferred.
Hot Patch Equipment
Patching at high temperatures is a fast, safe, and cost-effective method of permanent textile labeling. At temperatures between 205 and 210°C, textile UHF/HF RFID transponders are ironed onto laundry items within ten seconds. Patching guarantees a permanent connection that can withstand 100 or more washing and ironing processes.
Black Hole UHF-RFID Laundry Gate
Up to 1,500 items of laundry on a trolley are securely captured when pushed through the gate. The special, protected antenna structure guarantees the identification of each individual laundry transponder virtually when 'passing through', without the need for a closed chamber. The flow of goods does not have to be interrupted.
Depending on the process requirements, Tagitron provides application specific container transponders. The frequency – HF or UHF – and the inscription can be chosen as required, for example with a barcode. The registration of the trolley stock is thus also ensured when using different Auto ID technologies.
Black Hole UHF RFID Laundry Tunnel
The RF-shielded UHF RFID reader tunnel is ideally suited for integration into existing conveyor systems in a laundry. At a constant throughput speed, the complete detection of textile stacks with up to 100 individual parts in the tunnel is guaranteed. If required, it is also possible to implement an HF RFID tunnel with comparable capturing performance.