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Keeping Pace With Alberta’s Oily Laundry

Every morning the workers of Good Fish Lake Development Limited Partnership (Good Fish Lake), a commercial laundry in the Canadian province of Alberta, drive three hours into the boreal forest surrounding the town of Fort McMurray to pick up oil workers’ sheets, towels and tar-drenched industrial coveralls. The soiled linens are packed into a semi-truck and transported back to Good Fish Lake, where the laundry is cleaned. Good Fish Lake, located on the White Fish Lake Reservation about 200 kilometers northeast of Edmonton, is among several commercial laundries to serve a ballooning oil industry in what is known as the oil sands of Alberta. This year, the oil sands are expected to produce 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, roughly equal to the production of Texas, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Oil production in Alberta has leaped 61 percent in just four years – creating a huge demand for workers, and subsequently, a method for cleaning their laundry.

Residing in temporary trailer housing in the wilderness of Alberta’s oil sands country, thousands of oil workers rely on Good Fish Lake to clean soiled coveralls, sheets and towels. On their own, workers launder personal items at small laundries located at their camps.

BOOSTING LAUNDRY PRODUCTION
To keep pace with the volume of laundry generated by workers in the oil sands, Good Fish Lake recently doubled in size and production, thanks to help from Coronet Equipment (Coronet). A laundry equipment distributorship in Edmonton, Alberta, Coronet outfitted Good Fish Lake’s new 17,000-square-foot facility with Continental soft-mount laundry equipment and a water-saving reuse system. The laundry also features three drycleaning machines, specifically in place to remove tar, gas and oil from coveralls.

“Good Fish Lake is under the gun all the time with production,” says Coronet Sales Manager Brad Rosin, who has served the commercial laundry for more than a decade. Each week, 10,000 to 15,000 pairs of coveralls are retrieved from the bush and returned to oil workers at Fort McMurray. Similarly, the laundry washes, finishes and folds tons of sheets. Altogether, Good Fish Lake processes 300,000 pounds of laundry per week – all in the name of oil and gas.

EQUIPMENT MIX
To get the job done, the laundry relies on advanced cleaning equipment, including: one 250-, four 90-, and two 130-pound capacity Continental Washer-Extractors; two 175- and four 125-pound capacity Continental Drying Tumblers with Energenics lint filtration; a single roll, 32-inch Continental Flatwork Ironer with a Braun folder and stacker; and three 135- and one 165-pound capacity Multimatic drycleaning machines. The facility also relies on a Cissell laundry press, utility press and Suzie Form Finisher.

During the busy month of June, 6,000 men live on-site at the oil sands, according George Halfe, CEO at Good Fish Lake. With so much volume, Good Fish Lake’s laundry equipment must be capable of handling 42,000 pounds per day of the area’s dirtiest laundry.

EQUIPMENT WORKS IN CONCERT
Upon delivery to Good Fish Lake, laundry is sorted and properly cleaned. Subsequently, industrial coveralls head to drycleaning machines, while towels, sheets and blankets hit the Continental washer-extractors. “We can’t get the tar off the coveralls unless they are drycleaned,” says Halfe. “When the coveralls are really muddy, we dryclean them first and then run them through the Continental washers.”

“It works,” says Halfe. “We have the right equipment and use the right methods to get these garments cleaned. It’s important to use hot water and steam, a good water softener and the right temperature and amount of soap. Each of these factors plays into our ability to get the laundry clean.”

During the expansion, Good Fish Lake worked to achieve three goals: saving water, maximizing laundry production and decreasing labor. Advanced equipment and a bit of ingenuity combined to achieve success.

WATER RECLAMATION
Since Good Fish Lake doesn’t have sewer access, any wastewater gathers in settling ponds on property. As a result, reducing water waste and usage was critical. That’s why Coronet designed the facility’s washers to function with a water reclamation system – cutting water usage and waste by 40 percent. The system reuses rinse water as wash water, saving Good Fish Lake thousands of gallons annually. “We recover the first three rinses of the last wash cycle,” says Rosin. “All the water flows into a center pit, where it is reused for the next rinse.”

The entire cleaning process must happen quickly in order to make certain that the laundry is ready to be sent back to workers the next day. It’s predicted that Alberta’s oil sands will continue to increase production in coming years. Good Fish Lake – thanks to recent improvements and equipment – is designed to be able to accommodate any related bump in laundry volume. Already, the laundry has increased production 50 percent, according to Rosin.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Lapauw Acquired By Private Investor

BELGIUM — Lapauw and its affiliate Lapauw France have been acquired by Mr. Philippe D’heygere for an undisclosed amount. The Belgian based manufacturer of industrial laundry equipment officially announced that it has recently sold its rights to Mr. Philippe D’heygere, a successful international entrepreneur with special interests in global expansion.

“I have worked with the Lapauw family for 46 years. Following my first meeting with the new owner, I feel very confident that this agreement will provide the experience and resources needed to expand into new markets and bolster support to our existing distributors and customers,” said Andre Henrard, Export Manager for the countries outside Europe. The current management will remain active and no personnel change is expected.

In a joint statement to their distributors, the Lapauw family announced “Mr. D’heygere has international expertise and will reinforce the position of the Lapauw Group as a successful worldwide leader of premier laundry equipment.”