Despite all the automation in today’s laundries, manual labour still is an important factor, as personnel takes up from 30 to 60% of the total cost of the laundry. Learn here how Lapauw implements ergonomics in machine design to enhance comfort, get the best out of your work force and ultimately increase productivity.

8700 days. This is, according to official statistics, the number of days lost to the Belgian laundry industry in the year 2014 due to injuries or sickness. Main “culprits”, as matter of speech, are ailments to the back and joints, caused by lifting heavy load and repetitive movements (the so called musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive strain injuries). Some studies even suggest that up to 35% of injuries in laundries can be attributed to these ailments.

But enough with the diagnostics, we are machine manufacturers, not Dr. House. And, more importantly, the science of ergonomics has given us tools to reduce the risk of some of these injuries. Take the lower back pains, for instance, very common among operators of washer-extractors who have to bend and stretch every time they load and unload a washer. So, what if we made the washer in such a way that the operator is les strained when he loads and unloads the machine?The Mediwave is the first washer that was designed according to that principle : The front and back covers are conceived in such a way that the operator stands closer to the drum. The large drum access (900 x 475 mm for the Mediwave 1100 / 595 x 474 mm for the Mediwave 800 & 600)  and ergonomic access height assure comfortable loading and unloading. And slanting the feed bands of the ironer or the clamps on the feeder, like on the Unix, eases the wrist joint and prevents carpal tunnel syndrome, a commonly known wrist injury.

But ergonomics is much more than just preventing injuries. International studies have shown that safer and more comfortable workplaces actually leave more motivated and engaged personnel. It also establishes a ‘safety first’ mentality throughout the company and its workforce. So, it’s safe to say that ergonomics actually helps to increase not only safety, but also productivity.

This is why we at Lapauw integrate ergonomics into the complete design of our new machines. The SIEMENS control panel that can already be found on the Hot Stream and Mediwave, and which equips now also the new IronMAX and IronPRO ironers, is intuitive and makes elaborate  use of easy to understand symbols. This facilitates machine handling and already has shown to reduce errors.

Another sore point is maintenance and accessibility, as this a common complaint among maintenance people and this directly affects the total cost of ownership. The IronMAX ironer is the first machine in the industry that takes this consideration into the overall design : Easy to remove access panels on strategic, maintenance sensitive locations enhance the work comfort for the maintenance crew.

Now that the high word is fallen, we at Lapauw do believe that ergonomics not only increases productivity but also reduces total cost of ownership of the machines.