The highest hygiene standards for demanding guests: The Zentralwäscherei Chur central laundry is the first in Switzerland to install a Senking MediLine
From infirmary and institutional laundry to VIPs
Until the mid-1970s, around twenty hospitals, care homes and correctional facilities in Chur – the capital of the Swiss canton of Grisons – were handling their own laundry. In response to the growing cost pressures in the public sector, however, cantonal politicians began to pave the way for a central laundry, and in 1976, the Chur central laundry came into being as the "Spital- und Anstaltswäscherei", a service for infirmary and institutional laundry. The 50 employees still handle all of the laundry for these original members, with the addition of new customers from the catering industry. To guarantee stability in the long term, it was vital to appeal to yet more sectors. Textiles from the healthcare sector still account for around 60% of sales, while 30% of the laundry is supplied to the hotel and catering industries and a small proportion is made up of various industrial companies. The area covered by its services extends from Chur, through Central Grisons, all the way to the St. Gallen Rhine Valley in the south. Hotels are now also leaning towards outsourcing their workload, whether in full or in part, including their large items: The trend is seeing a significant move away from in-house laundry services in favour of a textile service provider.
Claudio Hauser has been managing the Chur central laundry since 2007. He confirms this trend and is familiar with the specific challenges that are involved in a change of this nature:
"Anyone who has ever run a laundry service will certainly be familiar with the technical capabilities of the machinery. Even so, a highly automated industrial laundry like the Chur central laundry has features that have never been seen before. In the first few weeks after outsourcing, we talk to our customers regularly and invite them to come and visit our laundry service along with their team."
Fit for the future
For the Chur central laundry, the highest standards of hygiene have always been paramount. It is expected that a hygiene certificate will soon be mandatory in Switzerland, although it is not yet known when this requirement will come into force. The Chur central laundry wanted to design its laundry service with the future in mind and therefore already meets the highest hygiene requirements. As purchasing a new tunnel washer was next on the agenda, the management decided on a Senking MediLine:
"We were always very happy with our first Senking Universal SL that was commissioned in 2007 – it worked perfectly! Understandably, we were keen to maintain such a smooth operation and so we decided on a second Senking tunnel washer."
This parallelism creates a great feeling of synergy for the operating and maintenance personnel. The Chur central laundry was convinced from the outset that the Senking MediLine was the right choice.
Senking MediLine – the best solution for the highest hygiene requirements
JENSEN has developed the Senking MediLine tunnel washer in line with the increasing hygiene requirements that have come about in recent years. The current prevalence of dangerous viruses is resulting in the hygienic requirements and legal regulations found in most areas of life becoming increasingly stringent, particularly in the field of hospital supply products. The Senking MediLine is a systematic development of the patented SL method that was launched with great success in 2002, in which neither the tunnel washer nor the drainage press has a recovery tank. Furthermore, the Senking MediLine has particular technological features that make it truly unique when it comes to handling hospital textiles in accordance with the Medical Devices Act (MPG). This Act stipulates that the same regulations apply to reusable surgical materials that have been processed in a tunnel washer as for the preparation of surgical instruments. The MPG falls under the Medical Device Directive, which is valid across Europe.
Perfect harmony between the well-known and the new
As the Senking MediLine is based on the patented SL principle, it also uses the same well-known bath change process with standing baths in the pre-wash and clear washing zone. This is the prerequisite for achieving a high level of flexibility while at the same time keeping operating costs as low as possible. Just like the UNIVERSAL SL, the water recovery rate is higher than in other tunnel washers with buffer tanks thanks to targeted, compartment-specific wash liquor recovery in the pre-wash and clear washing zones. The direct water recovery results in a significant reduction in heat losses, which frequently arise as a result of using a buffer tank. All water/liquor flows and volumes are recorded and controlled with the greatest precision by inductive water meters. The highly effective mechanical action is ensured by various parameters that can be adjusted freely for each washing program – for example, the bath level, drum rotation speed and pivot angle – along with the eccentric, washboard-shaped Archimedean helix and high ribs. The MediLine carries out thermal disinfection of the entire machine with the option to then completely empty the system before extended standstills. The Senking MediLine therefore offers special program routines that thermally disinfect the pre-wash and clear washing zones as well as the rinsing zone and the finishing compartment at the touch of a button once the last batch has been loaded, so that the entire machine can then be emptied completely. Furthermore, not only is the water required for the pre-wash dispensed with the greatest precision from the recovered wash liquor using inductive measuring technology, but the programmed temperature is also monitored by a special transponder system.
If the liquor temperature for the pre-wash is higher than the limit that has been set, an automatic safety routine is promptly activated so that cold, fresh water is used instead of the overly warm wash liquor. This effectively prevents any coagulation of protein (such as blood) on the laundry. Specially constructed overflow containers guarantee a simple cleaning process and optima lint removal, which is particularly important in the case of hospital laundry. To prevent vapours and heat losses from escaping during the machine's thermal disinfection process, the feed hopper is fitted with an automatic stainless-steel closing sliding door. This sliding door can also be activated for laundry types that are washed at higher temperatures according to the program in use.
Equipped for the future
To date, the Senking MediLine is the first and only tunnel washer to be certified in accordance with Class 2a of the Medical Devices Act. The certification was carried out by one of the leading test laboratories for hygiene, which is accredited to provide hygiene certification for tunnel washers.
"The Senking MediLine also fulfils all operational requirements with regard to productivity and efficiency", confirms Peter Zeier, Head of JENSEN SSC Switzerland.
In supplying the Chur central laundry with the Senking MediLine, JENSEN has really lived up to its promise of "sustainable laundry automation". And it doesn't stop there: the Chur central laundry is also happy to rely on JENSEN technology when it comes to extraction and finishing.
Claudio Hauser is thoroughly satisfied with the decision to make JENSEN the preferred technology supplier:
"In Switzerland, the Chur central laundry is the forerunner in terms of its high safety standards for hygiene in the laundry supply industry. We also offer this competitive advantage to our customers in the luxury hotel industry, who host guests from all over the world. Even germs and viruses have become globetrotters these days, turning hotel beds into sources of infection in no time at all. With the Senking MediLine, we are able to guarantee that all WEF visitors, the many vacationers in Davos, and all other customers in the Chur region can rely on immaculate, hygienic laundry at all times."