Leonard Laundry

Letter to the Editor – Another View on Flatwork Ironer Technology

By David Netusil, JENSEN USA, Inc.

When considering a modern day deep chest or old shallow chest ironer in today’s high production world, an old shallow chest flatwork ironer may no longer be a logical option. But one thing is for certain, this question has become one of the hottest topics in the industry.

As the need for high-production systems continues to increase, the world of the old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer (6 and 8 rolls, with or without an apron) is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Why?  In this article I will touch on the following points:

  • Running Speed – How Fast Can You Run
  • Production Per Square Foot of Ironing Space
  • Higher Feed Rates of Modern Day Spreader/Feeders
  • Ambient/Radiant Temperatures
  • Safety Aspect
  • Padding Cost



As our feeding technology grows, so does the need for faster running speeds.  Ironer speeds are determined and adjusted to match the production capabilities of the spreader/feeder.  Just 10-years ago, having a flatwork ironer running at a speed of 140 fpm was impressive.  This speed would be accomplished utilizing a modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironer.  An old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer would have, and still does, max out at around 130 fpm.  With Jensen’s expanded technology, that impressive running speed is now 160 to 170 fpm – and it keeps climbing.  In an installation in Scandinavia, we have a system running at 197 fpm.

With the 3-station cornerless feeding technology developed and introduced by JENSEN-GROUP in April of 2015 at The Clean Show, an operator can now easily feed more healthcare sheets per hour than an old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer can produce, therefore exceeding its usefulness.  Even our clip style spreader/feeders can out produce an old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer. If you want to increase your speed in the same square footage without having to pre-dry your goods to remove moisture, the answer is to utilize the technology offered by modern day Deep Chest flatworks ironers.  There is a full range of roll diameters and roll count to maximize your productivity requirements, easily allowing you to exceed 1,500 healthcare sheets per hour with 3 operators.


In terms of looking at the amount of linen you can produce per square foot of your plant, Modern day flatwork ironers step up to the challenge.  Here are a few examples of flatwork ironer footprint versus pounds per square foot produced.  As you will see, the modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironers can produce almost 50% more per square foot than the old Shallow Chest flatwork ironers.

Click on the chart below for an enlarged view:




With the introduction of the 3-station cornerless spreader/feeder by JENSEN-GROUP, the “production bar“ has been raised.  Just 5-years ago, the ultra-high production range of healthcare sheets was at 1,400 per hour with 3 operators, whereas now, that ultra-high range is in excess of 1,600 healthcare sheets per hour with 3 operators.  Regardless of how well an old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer is maintained, or even rebuilt, it is impossible for it to match the production capabilities of modern day Deep Chest ironers.  Their design just will not allow this to happen – you cannot get any more horsepower out of that engine.  So, if your goal is to maximize the productivity through your plant, modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironers are engineered to do just that.


Temperatures on the laundry production floor have always been an issue.  The biggest generator of heat is the flatwork ironer.  Old Shallow Chest flatwork ironers are not designed to minimize its radiant heat.  The rolls are open, the chests are not insulated, and the ambient temperature around this style flatwork ironer is exceptionally high.  JENSEN’s modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironers are designed with built-on insulated canopies to keep the heat inside and on the rolls, plus the chests have 4“ of insulation to keep the heat on the chest.  The reality is this equates greatly to a much lower radiant heat factor, and a much lower ambient temperature.  Whether your laundry is spot cooled or fully air conditioned, the end result is a cost savings to accomplish this task.  Cooler employees are happier and more productive.


Let’s face it, when the old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer was designed, operator safety was not a consideration.  Thankfully, that has changed and operator safety is now the number one concern for everyone.  OSHA takes great pride in finding those safety deficiencies and letting us know.  Our goal, as an equipment manufacturer, is to ensure that when our modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironers are properly installed and properly operated, it will give you the peace of mind that your employees are working in a safe environment.


The cost of padding an old Shallow Chest flatwork ironer comes at a higher cost than modern day Deep Chest flatwork ironers, especially when you toss in the cost to install an apron.  Research shows the annual field cost to pad an old Shallow Chest 8-roll Hypro is $8,253.00, versus the annual field cost to pad a 48” 2-roll Deep Chest flatwork ironer being $6,579.00.  This is $1,674.00 less per year to pad the modern day Deep Chest flatwork Ironer.  Over a modest 20-year life cycle of a flatwork ironer, the savings is $32,940.00, in today’s money.

About the Author:

David A. Netusil is the Manager-Sales Support and Marketing for JENSEN USA, Inc. in Panama City, Florida.  He has over 27-years experience in the industrial laundry industry.


Letters to the Editor published in The Laundry Ledger do not reflect opinions of the publication.  Feel free to send your letters to eda@laundryledger.com