BRADENTON, Fla. – The customers of Laundry Plus, an industrial laundry for area resorts and hotels, were used to the laundry’s customized 24-hour turnaround service.
The laundry was locally known for going above and beyond for its clients such as providing ironed tablecloths on hangers covered with colored plastic bags. The different colored bags indicated to banquet staff the size tablecloths. Fulfilling special requests such as this were common for Laundry Plus, according to Rick Rone, the laundry’s owner.
However, because of an increase in demand the laundry hit a production threshold – thwarting customer growth and jeopardizing customer service. “During our peak season, we were operating at capacity,” says Rone. “We couldn’t take on any more customers. We knew we needed to make a change.”
With space considerations in mind, Rone knew he needed new equipment to raise productivity. After careful consideration Rone decided to add a Girbau Industrial TBS-50 12-module Continuous Batch Washer that processes 3,300 pounds of laundry per hour. “We went with the tunnel washer to cut utilities, support our green initiative and get substantially increased productivity,” says Rone.
Within a small, 50 x 25 foot area, Rone installed the TBS-50, along with a Girbau Industrial SPR-50 Water Extraction Press; five 250- pound capacity ST-100 Dryers; and a conveyor and shuttle system. The new Girbau Industrial laundry system – controlled from a central operator station – is reserved for the laundry’s hospitality and healthcare laundry items.
Laundry Plus kept its conventional wash line, now used for food and beverage items, which consists of new 90 and 55 pound capacity high speed Continental Girbau E-Series Washer-Extractors, two 700-, one 480- and one 130-pound capacity Washex washers, and two 310- and three 110-pound capacity American Dryer dryers. The ironing line includes, a Chicago three-roll, 32- inch Powerhouse Ironer and a threeroll Steam Iron, a Chicago King Edge Spreader/Feeder and two Chicago Skyline four-lane folders. The folding line includes, two Air Chicago smallpiece folders and one Braun smallpiece folder. The conventional line handles loads smaller than 110- pounds. “It doesn’t make sense to put small loads into the TBS-50 Batch Washer, Rone maintains.
The new wash line that includes the Girbau Industrial TBS-50 Batch Washer, SPR-50 Press and ST-100 Dryers has improved productivity using less labor. “Now we are running an eight or nine hour day to accomplish what we used to do in a 16 hour day,” says Rone. “We used to need four to five people per shift to load and unload the machines manually, now only one person is needed per shift on the new wash line because virtually everything is automated.” That person uses the touch-screen controls to call up customer numbers and individual programs designed for washing customers’ unique linens.
Currently the new wash line generates up to 3,960 pounds of laundry per hour – and customized service is still available. Rone attributes this to his ability to program the tunnel system according to customer needs. Some hotels served, for example, inventory heavy, thick terry towels and higher thread-count sheets. Others inventory thinner towels and lower thread-count sheets. Each requires different washer programming which the Continuous Batch Washer makes possible. Also programmed from the central control screen are the SPR-50 Press, the five new ST-100 Dryers, and the conveyor system.
In addition to retaining customer satisfaction with personalized service, Rone is pleased with a decrease in water usage due to the new installation. Water usage has dropped from 3.5 gallons to 0.8 gallons of water per laundry pound, he says. The TBS-50 Batch Washer is designed to reuse rinse water at specific points in the wash process. Since less water is used, less water is heated and that cuts natural gas costs, as well. “All the water that comes out of the press is reclaimed and used for pre-wash,” says Rone.
Rone’s new laundry machinery has opened the doors for new customers and 15,000-30,000 additional pounds of linens per day. But more important to him is the ability to meet those customers’ special requests and maintain a laundry known to treat each and every customer individually.
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