Comforta: 88 % less fibre dust to improve employee health and wellbeing

31 Oct 2019

Comforta Oy, based in Oulu Finland,provides textile services to hotels, restaurantsand hospitals. Founded in 2000, it takes enormous pride in the quality of its productsand considers textile handling to be a realart. The team enjoys the work and employeesare rarely absent. However, machines were slow and inefficient, cleaning costs were high and staff were regularly suffering from flu like symptoms because of the excess dust in the factory.

Fine fibres circulating

Comforta Oy operates in a giant 1,700 m² industrial factory, handling 10,000 kg of textiles every day. Textile handling creates huge amounts of dust. While unpacking different kind of fabrics, fine fibres and fluffs circulate in the air. They are so fine that you can hardly see them.

Such was the dust that it started moving into the ventilation ducts and the machinery,which started to negatively impact operational efficiency because the machines had to be stopped regularly to be cleaned, which in itself was a significant additional cost to the company. As well as economic and operational challenges, the bust also significantly impacted the working conditions, making work difficult for Comforta Oy’s dedicated workforce.

Both production manager Marja Rajala and the maintenance staff member Heikki Bolszak received feedback that the breathing air was poor, and the staff suffered from sneezing and coughing on a regular basis. There had to be a solution.

Radical improvement for working conditions

Zehnder Clean Air Solutions were installed in Comforta Oy's Koivuhaka site in 2013, and the results have been excellent. Since then, the clean air units have been installed across the Mäntsälä, Tampere and Jyväskylä sites.

When hearing about the success across Comforta's other sites, Comforta Oulu decided to install units of the CleanAir 6 and CleanAir 12 models in May 2015. Initially maintenance staff member Heikki Bolszak was sceptical about the devices. He commented: “I saw the huge amounts of dustand I doubted that a few gadgets could really make any difference.”

The air treatment system was installed into the production hall and the results were monitored over a three-month period and thereafter. Dust decreases by 88 % in just a year, the amount of dust in the Oulu factory decreased by 88 %, from 520 μg/m³ to 66 μg/m³.

Heikki Bolszak'ssuspicions were unfounded. “We have these tumble dryers that are fiveto six meters high. During the weekly and monthly cleaning I noticed that the amountof dust on top the ventilation ducts has massively reduced. When there is a reduced amount of dust in the air, our lives are much easier!” Production manager Marja Rajala values the staff well-being and work environment above anything else. The summer heat makes it really tiring to work, but last summer there was a big difference thanks to the air cleaning systems. She said: ”Effectiveness didn’t decrease and it was more comfortable to work as the air flow was better.”

And this is not her only observation, as the staff have also said that the air quality has improved, making it easier to breathe in the workplace and massively reducing the numberof staff suffering from coughs and colds. 


Customer-centered: The Zehnder service

Marja Rajala and Heikki Bolszak are very happy with the partnership with Zehnder. ”Zehnder is easy to co-operate with. The instructions are clear, and our opinions are taken into consideration. It’s great”, Rajala concluded. Bolszak added: ”Zehnder visits regularly which creates the impression that they truly care about the customer. I have avery positive image of their operation and would highly recommend it to any business suffering the same problems we were.”

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