Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Garment Labeling Made Easy!

Garment Labeling - Technology Changes

If you are the owner or manager of a Long Term Care Facility you know how much time is spent by your staff washing, drying and sorting the residents personal clothing. Many facilities find this process time consuming and a definite added labour expense. Even in this day and age where technology has provided cost savings in many other areas of Care facility management the basic problem of proper clothing identification is still problematic. Housekeeping and Laundry staff are burdened by the ever increasing number of personal clothing items that need to be labeled. Many facilities are still using antiquated methods to label personal clothing.

Old Technology

1. Q-tape (iron on fabric tape) usually purchased by the roll and is general manually marked with an indelible marker with the residents name and room number, cut from the roll and then heat pressed onto the clothing with an iron or commercial heat press. This method has been used in the industry for more than 50 years and by today's standard is considered non-cost effective for the following reasons;
      • Increases Labour costs to manual mark, cut and apply and re-apply.
      • Q-Tape is not designed for extensive commercial laundering
      • Labels are rough and can irritate sensitive skin
      • Marker ink fades quickly and becomes unreadable
      • Labels detach from clothing after multiple laundering
      • Lost or Missing Personal Clothing.
2. Indelible Laundry Pens are another old method of marking personal clothing. This method usually results in the resident's disapproval as sometimes the marker ink transfers onto the clothing before, during or after laundering. Family members are generally disappointed finding their loved ones clothing marked in such an unprofessional manner. To recap the reason for NOT using this method are as follows;
      • Damage to resident clothing from ink transfer.
      • Unprofessional appearance
      • High labour costs for manually marking items
      • Names can be smeared and be unreadable.
      • Family members and resident complaints.

3. Dot Matrix Labeling Systems became popular in the late 1970's and have persisted in the laundry industry until today. The system utilizes die-cut perforated fabric labels (usually 5/8"W x 2.5"'L) set in tractor feed rolls. The labels are coated on one side with a high temperature heat activated glue and the labels themselves are made of a heavy nylon fabric that can become brittle and rigid through successive laundering. This rigidity can cause chaffing and skin irritation when worn against sensitive skin. The Dot Matrix printers require special indelible ink ribbons that need to be replaced often. The ink printing quality of these printers is low and the printing can be difficult to read even after just a few launderings. The high temperatures (usually 390-425 deg. F) and extended heat press time (10-13 seconds) can cause problems both for staff safety, efficiency and the possibility of heat damaging resident clothing. In order to use this system you will require a large and expensive dot matrix printer and a full Windows based computer system to run the software to print the labels. The foot print of this system is quite large and with restricted space in most Care facility laundries this can present a problem. Here is the recap for this system;

      • Utilizes out-of-date technology.
      • Replacement parts are hard to find.
      • Expensive to purchase.
      • Poor Print quality and fades in Laundry.
      • Requires a desktop computer to operate.
      • Large foot print in the laundry area.
      • Software is not included in the system.

Garment Labeling Made Easy! - New Technology

4. All-in-One Garment Label Systems were developed in the last 10 years to provide a cost effective, professional clothing labeling solution for Laundries, Care Facilities, Hotels, Camps, and other commercial operations requiring garment identification. The system was designed to reduce labour costs, improve label print quality, durability and efficiency. The All-in-One printer concept incorporates all the necessary components for printing high quality labels in one small hand held or desktop unit. The printer uses a convenient cartridge system with a soft, hypo-allergenic nylon tape and includes an indelible resin ink ribbon (for crystal clear printing) that is incorporated into the cartridge. The cartridges are small and convenient and are designed for commercial use. The fabric tape is coated with a low-temperature-melt super-adhesive that works in conjunction with a commercial heat press to provide a maximum bond that will withstand up to 500 commercial laundry cycles. The hand-held version of the All-in-One Label System has a self contained QWERTY keyboard and will print and automatically cut garment labels, tube labels, adhesive pressure labels and more. If you require bar codes, names or graphics this printer has it all.

      • Inexpensive to purchase - under $300
      • All-in-One Design with built-in Keyboard
      • No messy ink ribbons.
      • Crystal clear text and bar codes.
      • Portable; works on A/C or Batteries.
      • Easy drop in Tape Cartridge with 26 feet of Tape.
      • Built-in automatic cutter.
      • 99 memory locations.
      • Lowest cost per label in the industry

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