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Catering to Alberta's Booming Oil Sands Industry

New Laundry is processing 28,000 sheets per Week for oil workers

By Haley Jorgensen

CANADA -- Alberta’s booming oil sands industry is expected to produce 3 million barrels of oil per day by 2018, according to Alberta Energy. Catering to the industry’s unique laundry needs is Goodfish Laundry L.P., (Goodfish Laundry) in Edmonton, Alberta. The new laundry caters to workers of Alberta’s oil sands industry by processing their core linens – sheets, pillowcases, duvets, comforters and blankets.

Just months into operation, the laundry is turning a profit, according to Ron Friedrich, special projects manager for Goodfish Lake Business Corp. (GLBC). Yet, Friedrich maintains laundry efficiencies and processes will continue to improve as employees, management and technology further meld. “Our first two weeks, we processed 10,000 pieces of linen,” he said. “Now we are processing 46,000 in a two-week timeframe. Ultimately, with our equipment and quality employees, we should be able reach an output of 850 sheets per hour.”

Planning the Laundry as a Team

Key to the laundry’s early success was its careful development, which involved cooperation between GLBC and Coronet Equipment Ltd., a laundry equipment distributor in Edmonton. Moreover, careful thought went into the laundry’s equipment mix, layout and staff.

A special relationship exists between GLBC, Goodfish Laundry and Canada’s native Aboriginal peoples of the First Nations. GLBC and Goodfish Laundry are fully owned by the First Nations Whitefish Lake Band #128. Thus, the laundry made a special effort to hire urban First Nations Aboriginal peoples – natives who are living off the reserve in a city, in this case, Edmonton. Ultimately, Goodfish Laundry hired 10 employees; six are urban Aboriginal peoples. “We give them meaningful full-time work with full benefits,” said Friedrich. “We have the best employees of anyone. They push themselves and make it easy for management to look good.”

Nailing Down a Location

Combining experience and expertise, Terry Rosin, of Coronet Equipment, George Halfe, COO of Good Fish Lake Development Corp. (GFLDC), and Friedrich sought out a location and equipment. They chose a facility under construction. “It had the utilities we needed, such as high-pressure gas, larger drains and the greater volume of water that was necessary,” said Friedrich. “We were able to secure the lease before the floor was poured.”

They then relocated an existing Continental Girbau wash line, including three 90-, two 130- and two 255-pound capacity soft-mount washer-extractors, and three 170-pound Continental drying tumblers from another laundry owned by GFBC, located on the White Fish Lake Reservation in Alberta. The original laundry, Goodfish Lake Development L.P., which has served the gas and oil industry for years, now handles drycleaning exclusively, and in doing so, processes 15,000 pairs of oil-drenched coveralls each week.

The new Goodfish Laundry, in Edmonton, focuses strictly on wetcleaning oil workers’ core linens. The washers work in tandem with the laundry’s Articlean ozone system, which infuses ozone into the wash cycle, making it possible to clean using less chemicals and mostly cold water, according to Friedrich. The laundry also boasts a new, high-powered Girbau Industrial ironing line, including a DRF Spreader/Feeder, PC-120 two-roll, natural gas ironer, FL-Smart Folder and dual drop-plate stacker. Recently, Goodfish Laundry added a Girbau Industrial ST-1300 vacuum-assist dryer, as well.

Continental Soft-mount Wash Line

“We already had the wash line, which has been in operation for years. And, because they are soft-mount washers, it was simple to move and reinstall the equipment,” said Friedrich. “We need that flexibility because things can change in a matter of months. Plus when you lease, property owners don’t like it when you smash up their floors.” The high-speed extract also removes more water from each load, cutting dry time and improving productivity, according to Friedrich.

The addition of ozone into the wash also helps relax linen fibers so more water is removed during extract, added Friedrich. “Thanks to the combination of ozone and the high g-force extract, a batch of comforters that come out of our 255-pound capacity washers dry in 17 minutes using both 170-pound dryers. The average laundry washes for an hour per load. In two hours we get three turns on all of our washers, which is amazing,” said Friedrich. “We don’t need a lot of hot water, so we only store 400 gallons of it. Our wash quality is fantastic.”

After laundry is pre-sorted by customer, it moves either to a dryer or the ironing line, depending on linen type. Flat sheets move directly to the ironing line from the washer, where they are automatically fed, ironed, folded and stacked. Meanwhile, other items are conditioned in the dryer for a short time, such as fitted sheets, comforters and duvets.

“All of our production speed is based on the DRF Feeder,” said Friedrich. Three attendants feed flat sheets into the DRF; it takes four attendants to feed fitted sheets. “It’s like having six sets of hands and goes so fast,” he said. The vacuum table on the DRF allows us to process so many different items efficiently, including blankets and pillowcases.”

The DRF, converts to handle large-, medium- and small-piece linens, automatically straightens and feeds more than 1,200 large-sized items per hour into any height flatwork ironer. Working in tandem with the DRF is the laundry’s new Girbau Industrial two-roll, natural gas PC-120 ironer with a 130-inch finishing width. It allows the laundry to iron wet linens straight from the washer. As linens pass through the ironer, ironing speed and temperature are automatically adjusted to fit fabric type and moisture content. The laundry’s FL-SMART Folder folds the items while utilizing network communication with the DRF and PC-120. Finally, items are stacked and packaged for pick-up or delivery.

“This is only our third month using the ironing line and we are learning stuff every day,” said Friedrich. “We used to process fitted sheets at 49-feet-per-minute and now we are up to 101-feet-per-minute. We are still on a learning curve but gaining efficiencies every day.”

Currently, Good Fish Laundry runs an eight-hour day and is operational five days per week, with one hour of overtime. “Volumes have really jumped,” said Friedrich. “Our first day we did six skids piled with linens. Now we just flip through skid after skid.”

Ensuring Quality Linens

Quality is important even for the oil workers who reside in provided housing in Alberta’s wilderness. That temporary housing used to provide the basics. Now, in an attempt to draw more workers to the bush, the industry provides nice accommodations, according to Friedrich. “Worker camps have come a long way,” he said, “with many resembling five-star hotels, complete with high-quality bed linens and duvets.”

Catering to worker needs is the lifeblood of Goodfish Laundry. Equally critical, according to Friedrich, is that the laundry deliver top-notch quality to its customers – the oil workers. “I never expected customers to knock on our door,” added Friedrich. “But they appreciate the quality of the linens and that we get them done on time.”

Life Cycle Study Shows Reusable Textiles' Green Edge Over Disposables

LIFE CYCLE STUDY SHOWS REUSABLE TEXTILES’ GREEN EDGE OVER DISPOSABLES ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Research that proves how reusable shop towels, foodservice napkins and healthcare isolation gowns are more sustainable than their disposable counterparts was presented at a TRSA seminar at the Clean Show in New Orleans.

Findings of life cycle assessments of these products indicated that from “cradle to grave,” these reusable items demonstrated superior environmental and human health performance. They scored better in a majority of documented scenarios: best- and worst-cases for resource conservation and pollution control across all phases of the lives of these reusables vs. their disposable counterparts, from raw material extraction through production, use and end-of-life.

Conducted by Exponent Inc., Menlo Park, CA, the research found that the reusables in all three product categories had a lesser impact on global warming than disposables and also performed better in head-to-head comparisons involving acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, fossil fuel depletion and smog creation. Such across-the-board superiority was evident in the analysis of isolation gowns.

For napkins and shop towels, reusables’ median performance was greener in most such match-ups. Randall Wentsel, PhD, the Exponent senior managing scientist who performed the research, said the results for napkins varied because “the range in paper-making impacts is large and reusables’ washing impacts are relevant – especially for heavier products.” Thus, bulkier goods, both paper and cloth, can have significant environmental impacts, but reusables’ effects decrease when washings per napkin rise.

On shop towels, Wentsel noted that raw materials and manufacturing drove the scores. “The impact of polyester from disposables is considerably larger than cotton production” from reusables, he said, although the latter didn’t fare as well in eutrophication and to a lesser extent in acidification. Reusables compare better in scenarios involving heavyweight disposables and their associated landfilling burden.

Reusable isolation gowns are superior across-the-board largely due to the use of polypropylene in disposables; its impact is more significant than the environmental effects of making reusables with polyester and laundering them. “Nonwoven manufacturing further increases the difference,” Wentsel observed.

TRSA commissioned the Exponent study to provide a comprehensive profile of reusable textiles as the more sustainable choice for industrial, foodservice and healthcare businesses. Previous studies compared only the competing products’ solid-waste generation. Assessments of complete lifecycles meet “demand for greater transparency and traceability of sustainability performance across the supply chain,” he said, which businesses and government are increasingly demanding.

New Crothall Laundry

WAYNE, Penn -- Crothall Laundry Services announced the groundbreaking of a new, state-of-the-art 60,150 square-foot laundry facility on 5.39 acres at 2635 N. Airport Road, Manteca, CA, leased from CenterPoint Properties. The projected opening for the new facility will be Summer 2014, offering centralized laundry services for healthcare facilities to both northern and central California.

Strategically located within CenterPoint Intermodal Center (CIC)-Manteca, Crothall will enjoy the benefits of being strategically located near several key transportation hubs. The specialized laundry building will be LEED Certified and have the capacity to process over 55 million pounds of linen annually.

"Crothall chose to locate within CIC-Manteca due to flexibility in the design and construction of our build-to-suit laundry facility. However, we are excited for several reasons about this new location," said Crothall President Steve Carpenter. "In addition to being located centrally in the heart of California, a chance to be part of Manteca's great community is a wonderful opportunity."

This facility will be the second ground-up, high-tech, state-of-the-art centralized laundry that Crothall has built to house its innovative laundering processes. Its last project, also engineered by Ian Bigelow, was the 82,950 square-foot centralized laundry in Oak Creek, WI.

National Director of Sales Brian Dunn stated, "We are excited about being able to provide healthcare customers in the Northern and Central areas of California with laundry and linen service that is flexible, green, and has state-of-the-art efficiencies, lowering costs for healthcare providers."

LAUNDRY TEXTILE RENTAL EXPERT J.R. Ryan Launches New Company

SADDLE BROOK, NJ — Laundry industry operator and consultant J.R. Ryan has launched TBR Associates. Part of the Tingue family of companies, the new company helps linen, industrial and institutional laundries and manufacturing companies reduce operating costs, save energy, increase capacity, improve throughput and promote worker safety, among other improvements, while identifying and removing the systemic, often unseen waste that impedes growth and inhibits consistent profitability. Combining Ryan’s 30- year track record of operational expertise, senior level management, sales growth and consulting with the Tingue organization’s 110 years of accumulated wisdom, TBR Associates devises, develops and implements custom strategies based on proven principles including Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma for results that are both quantifiable on the bottom line and sustainable over the long term.

“As both a successful owner operator and as a consultant, J.R. offers a rare understanding of the challenges facing laundries today and has the knowledge, experience and professionalism to deliver real results,” says CEO David Tingue. “His ideas are sensible, insightful and logical, he’s careful to involve everyone on the team in the process and I know he’ll be quite an asset to anyone concerned about reducing costs or improving margins.” Ryan addresses strategic planning, process improvement, operations, sales and service management, supply chain management, human resources and equipment to impact every facet of an organization.

For more information, contact J.R. Ryan, TBR Associates., 535 N. Midland Ave., Saddle Brook, NJ 07662 USA; 201.796.5233; FAX: 201.796.5820; jryan@TBR

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Advance Discount Registration Opens for IHMRS 2011

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Advance registration is open for the 96th annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show® (IHMRS) being held November 12 – 15th at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. A discounted registration fee of $30 is available through October 7, 2011, with the rate increasing to $50 on October 8. The IHMRS present more than 700 hospitality industry suppliers and attract some 30,000 trade attendees The IHMRS website is located here.