INTERVIEW WITH IBAN TXILLIDA, Laundry Business Director at ONNERA LAUNDRY GROUP
Onnera GROUP is a group of companies which is dedicated to the research, development and manufacturing of the most advanced and efficient industrial laundry machinery on the current market.
Alongside its business director, Iban Txillida, we will analyse the current situation of the group and the market, how this has affected the ambitious expansion and remodelling project of its tumble dryer factory in Sant Julià de Vilatorta (Barcelona), and we will also discuss the values and outlook of the company for 2021.
This has been a tremendously challenging year for most industrial sectors and for society in general; how has the pandemic affected all of the projects you are working on?
I want to start by talking about our expansion and remodelling project of the factory in Sant Julià de Vilatorta. At Onnera Laundry Barcelona, we are finalising an ambitious expansion project of our plant, which will enable us to increase our capacity, be more efficient and flexible, and achieve a greater level of well-being for all of our employees, since this is one of our group’s most important values. That said, we are quite satisfied given that, despite the challenging year we are experiencing, we have successfully overcome it and this has enabled us to finish the works and move forward as planned, with the aim of having inaugurated the new facilities last month, in January.
What exactly does this new expansion and remodelling of your factory consist of?
This second expansion of almost 4,000 m² is going to enable us to have a modern warehouse with an optimised use of machinery, as well as expanding our manufacturing lines. Moreover, we will be able to have new rest and dining areas for our workers and customers. We have created a new space situated on the top floor, where there will be a terrace for customers and staff, along with different meeting rooms.
What other projects do you have in mind or underway for 2021?
As you will already know, at ONNERA, we are firmly committed to preserving the environment, social responsibility, as well as developing industrial laundry machines with high rates of energy efficiency, consumption of water, chemicals, etc. In this sense, we launched the ONNERA ECO project a while ago; a project which includes the recent attainment of the ISO 14001 environmental management certification, as well as a series of actions focussed on reducing the environmental impact of our processes and products in their use life, one of our company’s most important values.
Could you explain a little more about the actions related to sustainability and respect for the environment in relation to your machinery?
In recent years, we have managed to develop a series of washing machines and tumble dryers whose levels of water and energy consumption are significantly reduced. We have obtained several patents in this respect and taken part in research projects, fruit of which we have designed new tumble dryers with air recirculation and energy recovery, a new range of heat pump tumble dryers, an advanced system of water recovery tanks which enable us to save up to 70% of the water used in washing machines, etc.
Having explained the actions, we would like you to tell us more about all of the elements that make ONNERA’s machines the most efficient.
When we talk about our machinery, you have to understand that their specifications always seek efficiency in all of their aspects. The truth is that, in recent years, the developments in electronics have enabled us to make huge advances in all of the machines and our new generation of Touch controls are especially conceived and designed with this aim.
Given that your machinery has an abundance of technical excellence and energy efficiency, what new items are you presenting in 2021 in terms of developing new industrial laundry machines?
The reality is that we are accustomed to putting multiple new items on the market every year, we are an extremely dynamic company in this respect. This year, a new series of 35, 45, 100 and 120 kg washing machines stand out, which completes and renews our already extensive range of washing machinery. Additionally, we are introducing new 8, 10 and 14 kg tumble dryers as well as new models of drying towers of a higher capacity. In terms of ironing, we are also launching new models of wall ironers and calenders with folder. Finally, we have developed a new family of ozone cabinets, to be able to work on the disinfection and deodorisation of linen in laundries and dry cleaners. As you can see, this year we will introduce a large number of new solutions onto the market in terms of machines. But one of the points that is going to be truly revolutionary is our new IoT; this is going to enable all of our machines,-whether washing machines, tumble dryers or ironing machines- to be connected, managed and maintained remotely. This will radically change the concept that we have of the market today, in a very short space of time we will be talking a lot more often about servitisation, Big Data, preventive maintenance, etc. In our case, all of this is possible in our second generation of Touch controls that I mentioned earlier.
Primer has a special line of washing machines with sanitary barrier for hospital environments. I imagine that now, due to the current situation, they are in higher demand than ever.
What are the strengths of these machines designed to achieve a much greater degree of disinfection and safety?
Sadly, Covid 19 has been talked about a great deal over this last year. In many cases, the spread of this disease has originated in the laundries of hospitals or nursing homes. To prevent this spread, there are sanitary barrier washing machines that prevent dirty, and potentially contaminated, linen from coming into contact with already washed linen at any time. This is done by a physical barrier in the laundry itself and through the use of these machines that have two doors, one for loading the dirty linen and another to unload the clean linen. We have an extremely wide and highly efficient range of sanitary barrier washing machines that we manufacture at our French manufacturing plant close to Orleans. This year, in turn, we are expanding this family with two new barrier machines that will be very competitively priced so that this isn’t an obstacle for establishments to be able to have a hygienic and safe laundry.
Having answered all of these questions, we would like to wish you all the best for 2021, a year we hope will be the one in which we manage to beat the virus and restore our lives just like they were last spring. It’s been a pleasure!