- Created on Wednesday, 03 January 2007 02:06
- Written by Peter Corr
There is widespread confusion today in in-house laundries about fundamentals of using ID labeling systems. Even those with long experience in housekeeping may forget some of the basics. The following is a refresher course on some of the most common questions and their answers.Q. We launder in-house but some of our facilities use a commercial laundry. Does it matter what type of labels we use?
A. Yes it does. If you use a commercial laundry, you will need an ID label with a stronger glue backing; if you are laundering in-house, you need a “low melt” label backing. Both are equally effective in their respective laundering environments. The low melt label is bonded at around 354F and is only suitable for an in-house laundry and should never be sent to a commercial laundry. The high temperatures of the commercial laundry will quickly detach it from a garment. The label with the commercial laundry strength glue on the other hand can be used in both the commercial and in-house laundry. Top heat should be set to 405F. If you have bottom heat, set that to 400F. If you have a digital machine, pressure should be at 60PSI. If you have a manual heat seal machine, check the heat seal machine pressure. When you raise the handle of the top platen, you should feel some resistance pushing down. If you do not, adjust the pressure manually.
Q. Will the ink used to print a resident’s first and last name on ID labels fade?
A. The answer is no, it will not. In practice it does fade under certain conditions. Those who hand write their labels using a Sharpee marker or other store bought marker know this is true. The reason is because the ink in these markers is not a laundry ink. The ink in a real laundry pen will not fade because this ink is specially tested and formulated NOT to fade in the laundering environment. Also, you may observe that some printed labels appear lighter than others. This is not a result of laundering, it just means you need to change the ribbon on your printer. It has outlived its useful life.
Q. When I heat seal labels on garments, they come off after laundering.
A. There may be several reasons for this. You may have set the heat seal machine to the wrong temperature. There is another possible reason. You see the machine registering the correct temperature, but the temperature guage is off because the machine itself is not working properly. If you are checking temperature, also make sure pressure and dwell time follow the manufacturer-vendor specs. If everything checks out, there may be another possible reason – you have received a bad roll of labels. It does happen. Have your vendor replace the roll. Finally, another possible reason for labels detaching from garments is because the label is not sealed flush with a smooth surface on the garment. The top part of the label may be bonded on a surface that is raised slightly higher than the surface on which the bottom part of the label is bonded. An example is the uneven surface area where the collar of a shirt is stitched to the garment. This area should be avoided. Make sure the bonding surface is completely flat.
Q. Once I bond an ID label to a garment, can I remove it?
A. Yes. Apply the same temperature and dwell time on the sealed label and then use a putty knife to scoop off the label. Make sure this is done immediately after the heat seal machine times out. The surface of the label will be hot, so be careful. If you can’t manage to remove the label, you can bond a new label over the existing one.
Q. How long will the printer ink ribbon last?
A. Generally, an ink ribbon will print a roll of labels. You may find that you can use the ribbon for additional labels. You must make a “judgement” call when you think the print is too light and unacceptable. At that point, it is time to change the ribbon.
Q. When I print labels, the print head moves back and forward as if printing, but it doesn’t print anything. What do I do?
A. Think about it like this; two people are talking, they somehow miss-communicate and one says “time out” I didn’t understand you. Same thing with your computer and printer. The printer does not understand what the computer program wants it to do. A simple solution is to “reset” communications using the reset key on the ID label program. Also, turn off the printer and turn it back on. Now try printing again, and you will find that the printer will print labels.
Q. How can I get the most value from purchases of ID labels I make?
A. For starters, don’t discard any unused labels. Even if you cannot print on a label, set it aside so you can hand write on it for those time when you have only a few items of clothing to label. Before you begin printing labels, test out 2-3 to make sure the information if aligned properly on the label. If it is not aligned properly, you are wasting labels. Also. ensure labels are securely locked in the printer sprockets so they feed properly. If you find you have mistyped a word, and the printer is already printing 25 labels, stop the printer immediately by turning it off so you waste the fewest possible.
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Commercial Laundry Cited by OSHA
ELM GROVE, W. Va. — Uwanta Linen Supply, a commercial laundry, was recently cited for 21 health and safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The laundry faces $62,400 in penalties for the violations. Eighteen of the the 21 violations are considered serious by OSHA. The serious violations include failing to properly guard floor holes and failing to provide hepatitis B vaccines to workers who are potentially exposed to blood borne pathogens.