Datamars celebrates its 30th anniversary

Datamars – The future of IT in Textile Services;

Foreseeing customers needs and exceeding his expectations!

Een interview met Riccardo Mazzolini, General Manager Textile Identification, Datamars

Datamars is one of the leading global suppliers of high performance unique-identification solutions, specializing in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. With 30 years of innovation and leadership in RFID, Datamars is a pioneer in electronic textile identification solutions for the industrial laundry process, developing important RFID-based patents & trademarks, inventing the LaundryChipTM in 1990, and offering today the most complete range of RFID identification solutions. Datamars is an ISO 9001 certified company and represents one of the few fully-integrated players in the RFID industry. The in-house product development and manufacturing, according to specific customer requirements, is the core capability and differentiating factor.

  1. Can you describe your vision on automation in the textile care sector? Can you give your vision on RFID applications in professional laundries?

Nowadays, the full and fast control of the industrial process has become a critical prerequisite for competitiveness and efficiency in the laundry market. For an industrial laundry, it is crucial to have a cost structure that streamlines the operations’ focus on value-adding activities. In fact, automation plays a very important role in this framework by letting industrial laundries increase their productivity per person, reduce manual labour, save costs and gain efficiency.

However, operations are just a part of this picture. Another important role for a laundry is its asset control. This means knowing at any given moment how many textiles are in circulation, where they are exactly, how many units are processed per day, how long they last and why. RFID technology properly helps industrial laundries answer these questions by significantly improving their textile identification and sorting processes.

Since a tag contains a unique ID number corresponding to a precise description of the related textile, RFID enables laundries to track the location and progress of a textile anywhere in its industrial process, with amazing advantages and savings. RFID has been used in the laundry market for over 25 years for tracking garments, flatware, mats and mops. More recently, with the introduction of UHF RFID technology, laundries can control bulk flatware textiles during their entire lifecycle and plan their purchases carefully, saving significantly on costs. Thanks to the automated process of tracing textiles (bulk identification and sorting of textiles at laundry entry and exit stage), RFID technology can, in fact, improve efficiency, reduce losses and increase profitability in the industrial process. 

  1. Can you give a broad view of the use of chips? Where are they deployed, why are they deployed and what is the perspective?

The LaundryChipTM was invented by Datamars in 1990 and it was the first RFID transponder specifically designed for the industrial laundry sector to withstand the harsh environments of washing, drying and ironing without being detected and without damaging the textile, well-suited to, but not limited to, flat linen and garment tracking, process automation, product authentication and asset management applications.

RFID chips nowadays are in use in all sectors of industrial laundry from billionaire hygiene service groups serving the healthcare sector across all continents down to small family owned companies selected by high end boutique hotels for their capability of delivering tailor made services. The rationale which stand behind their decision of implementing RFID is always the same and this is the need of making better use of their resources having full visibility of how their assets are being managed.

The future of RFID in laundry is to make chips and reading systems almost invisible to the user to ensure that traceability becomes just a matter of how to better use the data made available by the technology. So, no more questioning about technology limitations but just new opportunities to take advantage out of it. 

  1. What are the latest innovations from Datamars?

Datamars in 2017 launched a new disruptive transponder generation: the new UHF LaundryChipTM 401, that in a very small size (thickness halved and width reduced by 33% vs the previous generation 301), encompasses the best mechanical and electrical performances ever.

Furthermore, after the OEKO-TEX® certification (that guarantees the absence of harmful substances at levels that can be dangerous to the human body), Datamars also achieved in 2017 the Magnetic Resonance (MR) conditional label for its UHF LaundryChip™ family.

Datamars this year improved its cabin reading speed: the new UHF cabinets take on average just 3.5 seconds to read a trolley containing 1’000 items.

Finally, Datamars in the last two years has designed the Standalone, a licensed laundry-specific software layer that runs on the Impinj Speedway® Revolution readers, to take full advantage of Impinj readers in a laundry environment. Standalone enables laundry managers to quickly deploy the RFID system, having a plug & play solution. 

  1. What does the Textile Service chain look like in 10 years?

Textile Service like any other business in the service sector is being dramatically redesigned by IOT. In 10 years I see Textile Service providers becoming the hub for datacentric platform delivering value added services to their customers. These services ranging from more traditional laundry duties at enterprise level up to customized domestic servicing. All this being powered by the deployment of Industry 4.0 connecting the Textile Service provider facility with all its customer in a common safe data exchange environment. In this scenario quality of the service provided will be measured by the ability of foreseeing customer needs and exceeding his expectations.