Grip on your production process
Kitting provides Less2Care with overview in building vacuum sealing machines
Although the provisioning of care homes is often well organised, on the flip side there is sometimes still room for improvement, especially where hygiene processes are concerned. With that in mind, Jop van Haaren, director and owner of Less2Care from Raalte, set out to work ten years ago. The result? The VacuSan: an automated solution for the safe vacuum sealing and disposal of used incontinence materials. The electronic parts of the operating system are delivered as a kit – a customer-specific package – by itsme. “As a customer you don’t need to worry about it anymore.”
Listening carefully to users and looking at internal processes in order to design a unique solution that will open up a new market is what Jop, as an entrepreneur, gets excited about. And with that same drive he developed the VacuSan that improves hygiene in care homes and takes away that typical nursing home smell. The machine is activated by a simple foot movement.
The sensor ensures a contact-free, and therefore more hygienic, operation. The air is sucked out of the bag automatically, eliminating the smell and the risk of contamination. Within a few minutes a bag of incontinence material is left that due to the vacuuming is twice as compact and safely sealed, ready to be disposed of. A professional odour filter stops nasty smells and a validated bacterial filter does the same with viruses and bacteria. In this way, the VacuSan contributes directly to a reduction in waste and to more hygiene and work comfort for healthcare workers and also creates a more pleasant living environment for the residents.
Everything on site with a single operation
By optimising a very specific part of the hygiene process in care homes, Less2Care has built a unique machine. And that can be seen in the growth that doubles every year. Today, that figure is 525 a year in Europe. A move to a larger facility is already planned. “Precisely because we are growing, it is important to collaborate with technical partners like itsme. They share their thoughts with us. For me, for example, getting a grip on my own processes is very important”, says Jop.
He is referring to the kitting process they set up together for his company. Where formerly he would purchase the various parts of the operating system from different suppliers, he now orders everything from itsme in one go – as a kit. Such a customer-specific package contains all the components. For every component, from PLC and power supply to cables and adapter, itsme has determined in advance which brand is best suited to the application.
In his capacity as account manager at itsme, Bas Veneman is a regular visitor to Less2Care. He explains that a kit consists of different brands, like Schneider Electric, Eaton, Phoenix Contact and Leuze. “Such a kit gets its own article number in our system, so that with a single logistical operation, Jop gets everything he needs for twelve operating systems. That provides Jop with the overview and grip that he is looking for. Less2Care wants to be supplied quickly. Currently, we can deliver four orders, so four times twelve kits, from stock. We keep a close eye on the weekly order quantities, so that we can adjust our stock quickly and adequately. But always in consultation with Jop.”
“For me, getting a grip on my own processes is very important”
Within a day, Jop has everything he needs to start building. “If I purchase the components myself, I have to build up a relationship with all the individual companies and keep everything in stock myself. That is risky and costs a lot of time and energy. The current working method enables us to be flexible in our production and act quickly towards our end customers. That is where the added value lies for us. And the components in a kit have already been unpacked, which saves handling and waste from packaging. An ideal situation!”
Bas adds: “Less2Care doesn’t need to take into account minimum order quantities. We purchase all the materials and divide the quantities. Suppose there are twelve cable clips in a kit and a box contains fifty. In that case, we hold the rest in stock.”
Growing together is thinking together
Jop can turn to itsme for technical advice as well. For instance, the VacuSan is operated by means of a sensor, but which brand and which type offers optimal performance for this specific application? “You obviously want the best solution for your machine, but I am not an expert in the field of sensors. So I asked itsme to help me with it. We finally opted for the Leuze brand. This reduced my costs, but more importantly, this sensor works better than the previous one.” Bas explains that at first, a laser sensor was used. The HT15/4X-M12 sensor by Leuze, however, has a wider detection range, which in turn yields a more efficient response. So it doesn’t really mater very much anymore where a caregiver places their foot. And furthermore, this sensor could be supplied as part of the kit.
“That itsme thinks along with my processes is added value for me”
Meanwhile, Less2Care produces a UL-certified version of the VacuSan so that also the North American market comes within reach. Says Jop enthusiastically: “My goal is to deliver around two thousand machines a year to nursing homes and hospitals worldwide. itsme fits in with our strategy to reach that goal, because they are able to support us in every stage of our growth.”
Hygiene specialist in care homes
Less2Care delivers throughout Europe, partly through distributors in Scandinavia, Belgium, Poland and Germany. In Raalte ( the Netherlands) they operate their own sales office to serve their customers directly. The production of VacuSan, too, is located there. Sustainability is important – the machine lasts about fifteen years. In addition, the company is constantly thinking about eco-friendly alternatives. For example, the chamber of the VacuSan is made of recyclable aluminium and the frame is no longer ordered welded, but as a construction kit. The frame is assembled on site, using rivets, which saves energy and transport. The company has started the procedure to become ISO14001 certified.
Check out our other success stories:
Future-proof cooperation for electrificationRead moreIndulec installs medium-voltage cabinets for the electrification of industry and the community. Indulec recently started sourcing the required compact and solid distribution boards from Siemens, via Breemes. Working with Siemens was a learning process for the three parties in the first project, but it immediately yielded a “very nice” result. “The support provided by Breemes was top-notch. We will do more projects with Siemens in the future.”
VDL Weweler - opts for LeuzeRead moreTo ensure the quality of air suspension struts, VDL Weweler - a leading international manufacturer of air suspension systems for trailer construction - uses a shot peening machine in production, among other equipment. This treatment contributes to an increased product service life. When the machine in question was due for replacement, machine safety was also reviewed. Because of the long-standing cooperation, VDL Weweler again chose Leuze and itsme to purchase and supply the new safety light barriers. “Our slogan is ‘strength through cooperation’. So we always strive to create partnerships.”
wheyco takes an important step towards condition-based maintenancRead moreIn the food industry, productivity, reliability and availability are always high on the agenda. That includes wheyco, which processes whey into protein and permeate powder. The numerous motors for pumps, fans and agitators, among others, are equipped with soft starters to minimise mechanical stress on equipment. A new generation of softstarters was recently introduced with ABB’s PSTX and PSE series. itsme served as the vital link between ABB and wheyco.
Sparck - using air to remove air from boxesRead moreDrachten-based Sparck Technologies builds automated packaging machines that make customised boxes for online retailers. The company focuses on energy-intensive pneumatics at a number of points for its innovative, high-speed machines. This ensures maximum benefit for customers: less air in the box, less cardboard consumption, higher packaging capacity and less dependence on manpower. itsme supplies the Festo standard components for this and also ensures that Sparck-specific pneumatics products are made.
Stay up to date with the latest news:
DISCA awards ceremony 2023Read moreThis year, itsme once again reached the finals of the Dutch Industrial Suppliers & Customer Awards. On 24 November at Hoeve Merelveld, itsme fiercely defended last year's title. After an exciting battle, itsme narrowly came second behind Refitech Composites in the Best Parts & Process Supplier category.
3M - Cubitron3Read moreFor over 40 years, 3M™ Cubitron™ Performance abrasives have always delivered maximum productivity, but now the best have gotten even better! Meet 3M™ Cubitron™ 3 Performance abrasives - the next generation of great products. Our new product line uses breakthrough advancements in precisely shaped grit to deliver 3 times the life and cutting speed as ever before. Discover the difference of 3M™ Cubitron™ 3 Performance abrasives and experience improvements in every area of your workplace through productivity, worker safety and durability.
Rittal - Cable glands increase safety even in extreme conditionsRead moreThe importance of cable glands is sometimes underestimated. Wrongly so, because in many industries they contribute substantially to the proper functioning of operating equipment. The right cable gland protects any enclosure from quite threatening external influences such as dust and moisture. In extreme conditions such as arctic cold or tropical heat, it is the "heavy duty" cable glands made of nickel-plated brass or stainless steel that make the difference. Even bases, acids and chemicals hold them back. Glands provide safe passage of cables through panels to and from devices. They can insulate cabinets, provide grounding and strain relief, and protect against electromagnetic interference. There are also glands made specifically to withstand severe explosions or to provide sealing under water.
Festo - Proportional pressure control valve VPPIRead moreWith the VPPI proportional pressure control valve, all nominal sizes are controlled directly; without the need for pilot valves or pre-stages. Due to the pressure compensating element, the valve regulates dynamically and accurately; even at the larger nominal sizes. The powerful and low-friction voice coil makes the VPPI highly dynamic. The integrated position controller contributes to high stability.