For 30 years, THERMOTEX has been offering machinery, supplies, and services for the labeling, logistics, repair, and finishing of textiles.
Whether in hospitals, hotels, garment industry, or food production, whenever textiles - be it doctor's coats, bed covers, work pants, or aprons - need to be marked for the laundry cycle, we are in the game. The main players: barcodes, transponders, and emblems.
It all began as a two-person operation on August 15, 1988: Wolfgang Nagel senior and his son Dietmar sat at the kitchen table in Ortenberg and had the brilliant idea to revolutionize the laundry industry - in a figurative sense. They both agreed that there was plenty of room for improvement in terms of labeling, logistics, organization, and order. Employees in laundry facilities at that time knew what they were talking about: they mainly dealt with searching and sorting laundry items. And the question "Where is my laundry?" made their hearts beat faster... It was not easy to trace where the laundry had disappeared to. So, it was time to revolutionize this industry. They aimed not only to distribute top-notch products for textile labeling or repair but also to manufacture their own machinery and develop their own technologies. They got additional support from Dietmar Nagel's brother-in-law, Helmut Czichon.
Initially, work was carried out in a modest workshop in Elgersweier. Both development and production, as well as storage, found their place there. With great commitment, persistence, a wealth of industry experience, technical expertise, and an inventive spirit, THERMOTEX quickly evolved into a renowned company in the textile labeling market. Not only did the number of employees grow rapidly, but the customer base also expanded enormously - first in East Germany, followed closely by Europe. This raised the expectations for THERMOTEX. More space was needed to accommodate individual solutions. It was not just about products but also about optimizing complete production processes. The relocation to Schutterwald was imminent. In 1993, the move took place, transitioning from the small workshop to an industrial and administrative building with its own development department. From then on, THERMOTEX offered everything under one roof: transforming from a product manufacturer into a leading system provider over the years.
Nowadays, the family-owned company employs 150 employees, in addition to 40 employees at suppliers, and offers apprenticeship programs. They serve 8,000 customers in nearly 65 countries, including places as far as New Zealand and Japan, catering to their diverse needs from an extensive product range comprising a whopping 110,000 items. Over the course of 30 years, the company's revenue has steadily increased. The key to THERMOTEX's continuous success lies in their commitment to providing top-notch products, satisfying their customers, and always striving to stay one step ahead of the competition.
On August 15, 2018, THERMOTEX celebrated its 30th anniversary. Both managing directors, Czichon and Nagel, are rightfully proud of their team and the company's achievements. "30 years for us represent 30 years of success with well-trained, technically competent employees," says Czichon. The family business operates as a cohesive team, both in the past and today. Together, they work on comprehensive solutions for processes, benefiting from each other's expertise and keeping an eye on the future. "This way, we stay at the forefront of technology and continue to evolve," adds Nagel. The focus is on "The Next Generation," where employees are encouraged to progress and have the opportunity to contribute their own ideas, implement them, and continue to develop themselves. They are provided with regular training opportunities because the aspect of consolidated employee competence is essential for a good system provider.
THERMOTEX's customers receive the best possible, customized advice tailored to their specific needs. In case of questions regarding product processing or technical issues, the company offers support and assistance through an in-house hotline. Moreover, THERMOTEX provides individual on-site consultations in the respective sales regions through a large field sales team operating both domestically and internationally. Their customers include laundries, nursing homes, hospitals, manufacturers of workwear, as well as garment producers and fire departments, among others.
The main actors in the optimal textile labeling and laundry logistics are barcodes, transponders, and emblems. They form the basis of complex laundry cycles and hold all the information about the textiles. When a resident in a nursing home sends their favorite shirt to the laundry, for example, a barcode label can ensure that it returns to the same resident at the end of the washing process and not to someone else on a different floor. To securely attach the label to the textile, our patch machines come into play. Using precisely coordinated parameters of printing, time, and temperature, the specially manufactured high-quality labels can be applied to the textiles. Various thermal transfer printers are also available for individual labeling.
Once the barcode label is attached to the textile, it is scanned in the laundry using a reading device by an employee. Through software, all the data of each textile is stored and managed. This enables easy tracking of the location of the textile and facilitates its retrieval if it gets lost. These labels are also available as name tags, which can be used, for example, to mark each shirt in an automotive workshop. Remarkably, approximately 1.2 billion labels are produced annually from THERMOTEX labeling tapes. The production of labeling tapes has been a core business of the company since its inception.
To avoid incorrect quantities due to human errors during sorting or scanning, more and more reliance is placed on so-called transponders. These are small, wash-resistant, coated chips that are attached to textiles and can be read from a greater distance without direct line of sight, even through laundry bags. For textile logistics, transponders are one of the latest developments, providing significant work simplification and higher productivity.
Ever wondered who applies logos to napkins or bed linens in restaurants or hotels? Or where the prints on our T-shirts come from? Again, we have our hands in the process. Emblems are one of the emerging product groups. We not only manufacture the emblems in our in-house graphic department and with our partner O&H, but we also offer a service called "lohnpatchen": On request, the emblems are applied to the textiles by the system provider. This way, the customer has no further work with the textiles as they are immediately ready to use.
THERMOTEX continues to work on even more efficient machines and reliable, high-quality products, in line with the concept of Industry 4.0, emphasizing connectivity. With the acquisition of the second facility in Schutterwald in 2015, not only was more space created for development and production, but additional offices are also planned. There is still plenty of room for expansion there. The company aims to achieve its best results in 2018, 30 years after its inception, and intends to further expand internationally in terms of customer acquisition. Steady growth is to be maintained in all areas. For this purpose, THERMOTEX already has the third generation in the starting blocks, with Helmut Czichon's daughter, Julia, ready to take on new challenges.