Partnerships are essential if you want to innovate and improve the industry you’re in. Of course, everything starts with an idea and drive: “We want to change something!” But nothing is developed in a vacuum. In this article we describe our experience of developing our innovative Smart Laundry Products together with our partners.
Outdated Circuit boards
Standard, the manufacturer’s software is written on printed circuit boards, which quickly become obsolete and require maintenance. Unfortunately, as a result, the laundry or linen service cannot make optimal use of its equipment. All the more reason for the sentiment at Vartex. We found that these printed circuit boards no longer fit the modern times we are living in.
The situation needed to be modernized. But how are we going to do that? Yes, we have to write software, but how do we get it on the machines? Quickly, we arrived at a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller).
Choosing the Right Partners
Now that we had established the hardware for our software, we needed to pick a manufacturer for the PLC. Based on good experiences with Schneider Electric, we made our choice rather quickly.
In the cleaning industry, more than 80 percent of the electrical components are made by Schneider. The products are easily and readily available at many local technical wholesalers; what’s more, you can rely on excellent quality. After speaking with them, Schneider gave us the feeling of authentic support for our vision and the desire for innovation. What else do you want?
Now, it was time to write and design the software. This process mainly revolved around three core principles: user-friendliness, efficiency and universality. In other words, the software must:
- Be quick and easy to operate. The operator must be able to see what the machine is doing at a single glance. And the PLC in combination with a display from Schneider is perfect for that!
- Operate on any machine. Simple. There must be ample compatibility so nobody’s excluded. On Girbau machines, for example, you can install Smart Control on 22 to 100 KG washers.
Thankfully, we could trust on an in-house team to engineer Smart Control and Laundry Intelligence. For our Dryer control, we collaborated with DBM Industrial. Together, we brought the first smart universal dryer control to life.
The fact that we have 100% influence over our products, guarantees a top-notch service. It makes it easier to implement feedback from our clients directly. In fact, we regularly update Smart Control and Laundry Intelligence. And of course, these updates are free.
As soon as the software is finished and tested, you need users. Elis, a global top 3 laundry chain, was there from the beginning. Their Hoogeveen branch was the first in the Netherlands with a complete line on Smart Control and Laundry Intelligence. Today, this branch is a full smart laundry. And more and more laundries are converting their standalone washers and dryers with Smart Control.
We are thankful for these laundries’ confidence in our Smart Laundry vision; we are very happy with their positive experience with our products.
An industry moves forward together. Good relationships are the key in making that happen. By listening to our clients and partners, we improve and optimize our products.
For instance, Laundry Intelligence started as a tool to track machine performance. It answered questions such as: How much water and electricity am I really using, how much does one batch cost? And it helped diagnose the most common errors and the system would notify you in case something went wrong.
Today, these core features are still there. But we’ve added a plethora of other tools since Laundry Intelligence’s inception. Now, our users view videos, track performance in real time, access manuals and order parts without leaving the platform. Laundry Intelligence has truly become the laundry manager’s one stop location and Smart Control has become the new standard for washer and dryer controls.
And we all did it together. So, again, we would like to express our gratitude to our clients and partners. The future is bright, and we just started. It’s still day one for the laundry industry.