Flexo Wash, founded by Henning Kongstad, has celebrated 30 years in business. This family-owned company currently employs 50 cleaning experts at its Denmark headquarters and produces cleaning machines for the print industry worldwide.
The story of Flexo Wash begins in 1989 with the invention of the first cleaning machine from a dishwasher. Kongstad, who started a label printing business in 1977, bought his first printing machine in 1978. It was this business that served as the impetus for inventing Flexo Wash almost ten years later. During that time, the equipment was washed by hand, which was acceptable with the inks used at the time. However, in the late ’80s, the business changed to water-based inks due to environmental concerns.
‘When the change came to water-based inks, my guys could spend all their time in between jobs cleaning the parts because it was so difficult to clean water-based inks,’ said Kongstad. ‘And I had a guy working for me who thought this could be done smarter, so he builds the first cleaning machine prototype from a regular dishwasher. Of course, it was not perfect, but we knew we had something here.’
The journey had begun, and the second prototype for a cleaning machine was built at the local blacksmith. Most importantly, it could handle the inks and the intense workload that comes with the repeated cleaning necessary at a label printer business.
Flexo Wash spent the next 30 years working and exhibiting the resilience it takes to bring the machines out into the world. Since then, the company has sold more than 5,000 machines in 70 countries. It is still a family-run business, with the founder’s sons at the helm.